2015 | Vol. 4 | 95-108
Article title

A human being after Auschwitz and Gulag or How to Interrogate about a Human Being

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The paper focuses on possibility and problematicity of modern interrogation about a human being. Problematicity emerges as a man is put in a situation called “after Auschwitz”, which is described with the categories of irreducibility (irreducibility of experience, means of self-determination). It is shown that the cultural form of representing such ultimate experience is testimony, which itself problematizes after Auschwitz. Precedents of such testimonies are described with examples of the works by Primo Levi and Varlam Shalamov. The author reveals the principal difference in the answers given by witnesses and the answers offered by interpreters such as contemporary philosophers. An attempt is made to substantiate that the modern experience of philosophizing about a human being – the modern anthropology – has to reject traditional efforts to determine a human being as “thing existent” or find some determinant essence. It is due to the situation “after Auschwitz” that questions all previous methods of human thinking. Moreover, a modern person increasingly chooses the so-called withdrawal scenario for a human being, rejection of actual social life in favour of imitating life and generating simulacrums, withdrawal to the virtual reality. The author takes a provocative example of Jean Baudrillard, who showed that the entire contemporary creative work of human beings is reduced to generating simulacrums – empty, meaningless signs. The latter becomes a popular trend obtaining a mass character. In response to this withdrawal trend the author proposes a different scenario: an anthropological alternative in the form of anthropological practices of self-determination and testimonies about such anthropological practices.
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