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21. - 22. Juni 2018, Berlin

International Conference The Concept of Species and its Normative Dimension

im Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL), Schützenstraße 18, Berlin

The concept of species is not only important for biology but also for other areas of research. Above all, it seems to play a crucial role for our self-understanding as humans, insofar as we understand ourselves as members of the species Homo sapiens.Therefore, this biological classification is of practical relevance for ethical issues. Especially at the beginning of human life the questions under discussion whether or not embryos are human beings and what moral relevance the species membership of embryos has.

These questions concerning the meaning and relevance of the species membership become still more urgent with the growing possibilities of modern biotechnology to cross species boundaries.

The aim of the conference is to place this bioethical species argumentation in a larger philosophical context linking it with insights of ontology, philosophy of biology and also of legal theory: How can we understand the concept of species? What understanding of species stands behind the bioethical arguments that rely on species membership? Which understanding can and should be taken as a conceptional basis? What is the relation between being a human being and being a member of Homo sapiens? What is the role of humanity and/or species-membership in (bio-)ethical and legal thinking, and what should it be? How to deal ethically, if the species boundaries are crossed by creating human-animal hybrids?

These are some of the questions that are to be discussed at the interdisciplinary conference.

Program: Species and Human Nature
- Marc Ereshefsky (Calgary) From Evolution to the Lab: The Importance of Genealogy for the Species Concept between Science and Society
- Maria Kronfeldner (Budapest) Homo sapiens, Humans, Moral Agents
- Three Concepts in Search of a Relation
- Georg Toepfer (Berlin) Ethical Knowledge and Knowledge of One's Form
- Michael Thompson (Pittsburgh) Are Species Boundaries Morally Significant?
- John Basl (Boston) Species in Bioethics: Which Concept of Species is Relevant for Bioethics?
- Markus Rothaaar (Eichstätt) The Manifold Species of Normativity in Aristotelian Naturalism
- Martin Hähnel (Eichstätt) A Defence of a Weak Form of Direct Speciesism
- Dieter Birnbacher (Düsseldorf) What is it to be Human? Practical Self-understanding and the Role of the Species
- Marcus Düwell (Utrecht) The Role of Humanity and Species-membership in Legal Thinking
- Ralf Müller-Terpitz (Mannheim)

There will be plenty of time for discussion after each lecture. Everyone is warmly invited to attend. Registration requested until 6th June 2018: bianca-gerstner(at) 

The conference is part of the project "The Manipulated Embryo: Potentiality and Species Membership revisited", funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and located at the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. Organized by the Chair of Bioethics, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt More information: