The Jaspers Case and the Paradox of the ‘Human’ Sciences

  • Federico Leoni


This chapter approaches the question of the possibility/impossibility of a ‘science of the soul’ and suggests that its impossibility coincides with its highest ‘possibility’. A series of objections is address to the idea of ‘comprehension’ that Dilthey and Jaspers adopted against positivistic psychology and philosophy—not so much to return to the positivistic viewpoint, as to promote the idea that only an ‘un-comprehensive’ science could be adequate to that object which is not an object: human singularity, maybe singularity itself. I use Nicholas of Cusa’s theology ‘against’ the Dilthey-Jaspers theory of comprehension to suggest that a whole landscape of ‘human’ sciences become human by becoming ‘in-human’, ‘un-comprehensive’, and at the same time becoming practical, concrete techniques: Blanchot’s literary critique, Lacan’s psychoanalysis, Mauss’ economics, and Bataille’s sociology.


Human/unhuman Comprehensible/incomprehensible Geisteswissenschaften/Naturwissenschaften Human sciences/natural sciences K. Jaspers W. Dilthey Nicholas of Cusa Cogito Genealogy Absolute Act 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federico Leoni
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VeronaVeronaItaly

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