Aarhus Universitets segl

Anders-Christian Jacobsen


Anders-Christian Jacobsen
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Leder af forskeruddannelsesnetværket "The History of Human Freedom and Dignity in Western Civilisation (ITN, Marie Curie)

The research project will trace the historical roots and transformations of the modern conception of the human being and the human values of dignity and freedom, especially in theological and philosophical traditions. In modern western societies, the ideal human being has the right to think, believe, and express itself freely without fearing retribution and to be treated as an autonomous and dignified individual. But such a conception is not shared by all – and never was. Its long history has been formed through a continuous battle between two theological and philosophical traditions going back to Origen of Alexandria and Augustine of Hippo, respectively. Origen saw humans as free, valuable, and dignified beings, while Augustine saw them as predestined, sinful, and bound to servitude. The project’s research will continuously circle around this battle between the opposing negative and positive views on humanity that we encounter in various contexts from antiquity to modern times. Thereby, the project will raise awareness of how ancient philosophical and religious tenets still shape political, moral, and anthropological categories and modes of thinking as well as principles of human conduct.



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