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Postmodern philosophy tends towards the gradual annihilation of the category of “human nature”, „human essence” and its basic modes: reason, morality, freedom; human nature appears as one of the totalizations subjected to criticism. The paper briefly presents three view points on the status of the concept of “human essence” in the Enlightenment sense of the notion: it serves as a cognitive and value foundation, a reference point for analysis and social critique of the trends and phenomena in modern and postmodern society. Phenomena such as alienation, in all its various forms; consumerism; the breakdown of human ties in reality and their “reanimation” in the virtual sphere; magical thinking, fear, and aggression as dangerous “waste products” of these trends.
Keywords: human essence, reason, morality, freedom, alienation