by Thomas Langan
edited by Antonio Calcagno
University of Missouri Press, 2009
eISBN: 978-0-8262-7193-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8262-1843-8
Library of Congress Classification BD450.L286 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 128

What is “human being”? In this book, Thomas Langan draws on a lifetime of study to offer a new understanding of this central question of our existence, turning to phenomenology and philosophical anthropology to help us better understand who we are as individuals and communities and what makes us act the way we do.
While recognizing the human being as an individual with a particular genetic makeup and history, Langan also probes the real essence of human being that philosophers have tended to ignore. He argues that human being is the result of the experiences of humans throughout time—an ontological reality that not only incorporates our collective memories, institutions, habits, ethical practices, and religious faiths but also unfolds in time with its own history to inform individuals in the present. He provides tools and descriptions for accessing this broader historical and present-day reality, investigating deeper structures of human being to show how those historical roots can be appropriated and made meaningful.

Building on Langan’s earlier works, Human Being is also readily accessible on its own. Langan shows how the larger issues discussed in those books, ranging from the Catholic tradition to high technology, relate to being human while he brings to light new philosophical insights and ideas.

Because human beings continue to evolve, informing our everyday understanding of the world, Langan shows how vital it is for us to think through the sense of human being and how great a challenge that is in today’s society. His work offers insight into human being that invites readers to think and live more deeply in their humanity—and to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world by reawakening perennial quests for love and the divine, and the very search for meaning itself.