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Daedalus: On Being Human

I’ve written here in the past about the National Humanities Center’s On the Human Forum–a site meant to foster discussion about what “the human” has or is coming to mean in the context of contemporary social and technoscientific developments. The topic of this summer’s issue of Daedalus is “On Being Human” and it is specifically framed as a “sampling of the scholarship inspired by the [National Humanities] Center’s effort” to examine “how advances in science are enlarging the terms through which human life is discussed, and continuing to disturb traditional understandings of what it means to be human,” (Introduction, p.5).

The contributions come from an impressive interdisciplinary group of scholars, and they include some thoughts on humanness from Charles Darwin–an excerpt from The Descent of Man, published here to commemorate the bicentennial of his birth.

These are all essays which have no abstracts, so I reproduce the TOC below. Unfortunately, access to all of these articles requires a subscription.

The changing face of human nature
Hilary Rose, Steven Rose

Humans: the party animal
Michael S. Gazzaniga

Natural & normative
Robert B. Pippin

Humans, aliens & autism
Ian Hacking

Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals–continued
Charles Darwin

Humans & humanists
Harriet Ritvo

How do we know what we are? The science of language & human self-understanding
Geoffrey Galt Harpham

Experimental moral psychology
Kwame Anthony Appiah


2 Responses to Daedalus: On Being Human

  1. For those without a subscription, Hacking gave a talk with the same title as his essay at the Roots of the Human symposium at Wisconsin last November.
    You can listen to it here.

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