Anthropology of dependence: work and the constitution of the human being


  • María Pía Chirinos Pontificia Università della Santa Croce


Starting with he modern notion of homo faber in different authors, the article criticizes the economist definition of labor and the figure of animal laborans developed by Hannah Arendt and followed by Dominique Meda. Work here becomes understood without any anthropological dimension. Alternatively, the article offers a notion of work rooted in man, but one that is far from that of the modern humanists, because it starts with the anthropology of dependence, which according to Alasdair MacIntyre, reveals a non-autocratic man, one that is vulnerable and in need of treatment. At the same time, this condition demands all the range of corporeal activity – manual labor –, which is intrinsically human because it manifests reason and liberty. The work is here defined as Aristotelian poiesis, not as an isolated dimension but in connection with theoretical reason and with virtue. Work reveals a practical rationality. Among different works, those manual and also those domestic can restore to a technological society a more human face ; because of the care that characterizes them, they enrich interpersonal relations.



How to Cite

Chirinos, María Pía. “Anthropology of Dependence: Work and the Constitution of the Human Being”. Acta Philosophica 16, no. 2 (September 30, 2007): 195–212. Accessed May 26, 2024.




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