21 Jun 2018 – 22 Jun 2018

The Concept of Species and its Normative Dimension

Venue: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum
Organized by Martin Hähnel, Roland Kipke (Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Georg Toepfer (ZfL)
Research project(s): The Shifting Borders of Biology

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.

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.

Fig. above: © SFIO CRACHO / Fotolia


21 June 2018

1.30–2.00 pm
Registration and Refreshments

2.00–2.15 pm
Markus Rothhaar (Eichstätt): Welcome and Opening Address

2.15–3.15 pm
Marc Ereshefsky (Calgary): Species and Human Nature

3.30–4.30 pm
Maria Kronfeldner (Budapest): From Evolution to the Lab. The Importance of Genealogy for the Species Concept between Science and Society

4.45–5.45 pm
Georg Toepfer (ZfL): Homo sapiens, Humans, Moral Agents – Three Concepts in Search of a Relation

6.00 -7.00 pm
Michael Thompson (Pittsburgh): Ethical Knowledge and Knowledge of One's Form

22 June 2018

9.00–10.00 am
John Basl (Boston): Are Species Boundaries Morally Significant?

10.15–11.15 am
Markus Rothaaar (Eichstätt): Species in Bioethics. Which Concept of Species is Relevant for Bioethics?

11.30–12.30 am
Martin Hähnel (Eichstätt): The Manifold Species of Normativity in Aristotelian Naturalism

1.30–2.30 pm
Dieter Birnbacher (Düsseldorf): A Defence of a weak Form of indirect Speciesism

2.45–3.45 pm
Marcus Düwell (Utrecht): What is it to be human? Practical Self-understanding and the Role of the Species

4.00–5.00 pm
Ralf Müller-Terpitz (Mannheim): The Role of Humanity and Species-membership in legal Thinking