Gehlen, Arnold: Urmensch und Spätkultur
Philosophische Ergebnisse und Aussagen
As a philosophy of institutions, Arnold Gehlen's book Urmensch und Spätkultur, first published in 1956, is primarily a sociological basic work, its philosophical-anthropological category research based on cultural and social-anthropological material. To this day, this book remains one of the most inspiring sources for an analysis of institutions based on a sociological approach. No one has outlined the symbolic structure of stabilization by ritual realization resulting from the interaction of human beings more convincingly than Gehlen. Yet, he remains a conservative "institutionalist" at heart in the sense that he grants priority to institutional safeguards over all individual interests, favoring institutional relief over any institutionally generated pressure and thus creating a "Hobbsean" solution to the problem of order. Simultaneously, he developed an action-related and dynamic theory of the creation of the institutions which serve to ensure the indirect relationship that man is forced to establish with others and himself. In these "social regulations", Gehlen recognized the condensation of stabilizations unlikely at the outset and yet laboriously achieved in the process of civilization. The thus historically legitimated contributions these stabilizations made towards the permanent solidification of order structures Gehlen saw in dissolution since the Enlightenment, the great revolutions and at least since the 20th century.
"Niemand hat die symbolische Struktur der interaktiv sich ergebenden Stabilisierungen besser herausgearbeitet als Gehlen in seine handlungsbezogenen und eigendynamischen Theorie der Kreation des Institutionellen."
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