In Latin literature, Appius Claudius Caecus uses this term in his Sententiæ, referring to the ability of man to control his destiny and what surrounds him: Homo faber suae quisque fortunae ("Every man is the artifex of his destiny").
In older anthropological discussions, Homo faber, as the "working man", is confronted with Homo ludens, the "playing man", who is concerned with amusements, humor, and leisure. It is also used in George Kubler's book, The Shape of Time as a reference to individuals who create works of art.
Henri Bergson also referred to the concept in Creative Evolution (1907), defining intelligence, in its original sense, as the "faculty to create artificial objects, in particular tools to make tools, and to indefinitely variate its makings."
Other contemporary era mentions
Homo faber is used by Pierre Schaeffer in the Traité des objects Musicaux as the man creator of music, which uses its brute experience, an instinctive practice in music creation; Concluding that the homo faber aways precedes the Homo sapiens in the process of creation.
Homo Faber was one of the five International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme areas of interaction, before it was replaced with "Human Ingenuity".
The concept of homo faber is referenced in Umberto Eco's "Open Work": he refutes its negative connotation and instead argues that homo faber is a manifestation of man's innate being in nature. Use of homo faber in this negative light is argued by Eco to represent the alienation from and objectification of nature.
"Homo Faber" is also the title of a short poem by Frank Bidart that is included in his collection Desire (1997).
Homo faber is often placed in juxtaposition to homo adorans, the worshiping man. In other words, under traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy, the ultimate purpose of humankind is to worship God, whereas, under (for example) Marxist or Capitalist ideology, the purpose of humankind was embedded in what he or she can make or produce.
- (Kubler 1962, p. 10)
- Kubler, George (1962). The shape of time : Remarks on the History of Things. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
- Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958. OCLC 933453416, ISBN 0226025926.
- Scheler, Max, Man's Place in Nature, New York: Noonday Press, 1961. OCLC 5262548, ISBN 0374502528.
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