Home    Number 5, 2018

Anthropology without Ethnography: M. Scheler’s Philosophy of War and the Search for the “Nature of Man”

[Antropologiia bez etnografii: filosofiia voiny M. Shelera i poisk “prirody cheloveka”]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150001476-3

Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 25.03.2018

Accepted: 30.08.2018

About author(s)

Andrey S. Menshikov | http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1070-2551 | andreimenchikov@gmail.com| Ural Federal University (51 Lenina prospekt, Ekaterinburg, 620083, Russia)


philosophical anthropology, philosophy of war, Max Scheler, Metaphysics of WarZur Metaphysik des Krieges


The article analyzes the epistemic aspiration of philosophical anthropology as “anthropology without ethnography”. It is shown that beginning with the Kantian project of anthropology, its methodology contains inherent normative assumptions in a supposedly descriptive venture. Specifically, the question “what man is?” presupposes the question “what man should be?”. It is further argued that M. Scheler’s glorification of World War I at its outbreak does not result from baser motives or intellectual lapse in the face of propaganda, nor Scheler’s pacifism after the war is his way of coping with Germany’s defeat. These positions are grounded in his pre-war philosophy and ethical views; they are both consistent with his fundamental philosophical doctrine. This contradiction in Scheler’s judgement on war – from ardent support to enthusiastic rejection – can be better explained by the inadequacy of the methodology of “contemplation of man’s essence” and the search for man’s nature. In the last part, it is argued that in contrast with philosophical anthropology, according to K. Hastrup, ethnography creates shared space and shared understanding through its very practice.

Funding Information

This research was supported by the following institutions and grants:
Russian Science Foundation, https:// doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant 17-18-01165]


Menshikov, A.S. 2018. Antropologiia bez etnografii: filosofiia voiny M. Shelera i poisk “prirody cheloveka” [Anthropology without Ethnography: M. Scheler’s Philosophy of War and the Search for the “Nature of Man”]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 5: 43-58. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150001476-3

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