CFP: Human Enhancement: toward a new kind of human being? Anthropological and ethical perspectives on biological and technical possibilities

Submission deadline: December 1, 2015

Conference date(s):
January 15, 2016 - January 16, 2016

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Forum Scientiarum, University of Tuebingen, University of Tuebingen
Tuebingen, Germany

Topic areas


Interdisciplinary postgraduate workshop

In co-operation with the Forum Scientiarum, University Tübingen

Human Enhancement: toward a new kind of human being?

Anthropological and ethical perspectives on biological and technical possibilities

January the 15th and 16th 2016 at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen

Applying for a talk

Places are available for talks (max. 30 min. + 15 min. discussion, in German or English) on empirical, anthropological and/or ethical aspects of human enhancement, preferably in connection with the challenges outlined below.       

We invite interested researchers (primary focus is at the doctoral level, but predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers are also welcome) to apply, by sending in an abstract (max. 500 words; including title, your name and address) until (incl.) December the 1st 2015 to:[email protected]. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out December the 15th the latest. Because of limited seating capacity, we ask those interested in attending only to register by December the 15th2015. For all speakers the costs of both the joint dinner on the evening of Friday January the 15th 2015, as well as accommodation will be covered by the organisation. Others are welcome to join for dinner at own expense: please inform us when registering.  


As a being of nature and culture ('Natur-Kulturwesen'), man has always been changing itself and its environment ('Umwelt') and constantly strives for the improvement of its skills and characteristics. As a consequence of the vast increase in biotechnological possibilities for direct intervention in the organism, classic forms of self-formation are now exceeded widely, posing new challenges for ethics and anthropology. Biotechnological interventions which are either already possible or at least anticipated, aim extensively at invasive potentiation of basic physical and psychological dispositions. These practices of human enhancement have understandably been the subject of heated professional, as well as public, debate, whereas the Austrian philosopher Konrad Paul Liessmann in this context states that “being human can only be designated as an open project.”

Based on the sites and scopes of these interventions, neuro-enhancements particularly evoke large uneasiness. All the more, as they seem to challenge our opinions on personal integrity and thereby the ways in which we conceive of ourselves in a particularly poignant way. The ethical recommendations meant to guide the praxis of human enhancement, have for a long time been based largely on legal, medical and social considerations. Mindful of moral pluralism and in order to meet the heavily disputed issues connected with human enhancement in all their complexities, it is necessary though, to take into consideration a broad scope of anthropological and moral-philosophical theories. Moreover, many of those who in their practical or scientific work are confronted with issues concerning human enhancement, wish for recommendations, marked not only by the conventions of our society, legal agreements or empirical results, but taking into account and explicating our moral convictions and our conceptions of human nature ('Menschenbilder') as well. The increasing control we have over human life, should therefore be taken as an opportunity to reconsider our basic moral convictions and their links to anthropological theory.   

With their far-reaching consequences for our self-understanding as persons and for what we, as such, consider to be important, invasive neuro-enhancement techniques can serve here as concrete examples, up for interdisciplinary reflection. They concretely confront us with the fundamental question, of how in the future we want to see ourselves as human beings. A question which extends further into discussions on such topics as personhood and autonomous, self-responsible action. 

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)