Humanity in the universe: between embodied incommensurability and intentional infinitude

Alexei Nesteruk

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The paper discusses a perennial dichotomy of the human place in the universe related to its physical embodiment and, at the same time, to its epistemological infinitude. In different words, on the one hand humanity is physically incommensurable with the universe, on the other hand the whole universe is defined and articulated by man. It is claimed that modern cosmology is functioning in the conditions of the paradox of human subjectivity, which has been known since ancient Greek philosophy. The presence of this paradox explicates the essence of the human condition. Any attempt to represent the universe in the phenomenality of objects, that as devoid of the human insight, leads to the diminution of personhood and reduction of humanity to the artefacts of the physical and biological. However, even if cosmology advocates such a vision of the universe, personhood is not eliminated but is “present in absence”. Cosmology becomes an apophatic tool in explication of personhood as centre of disclosure and manifestation of the universe. Correspondingly cosmology exhibits itself as a characteristic middle between the natural and human sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1084
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Siberian Federal University - Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number 6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • embodiment
  • humanity
  • intentionality
  • life-world
  • microcosm
  • nature
  • paradox of subjectivity
  • personhood
  • space-time
  • universe


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