SWIP Germany Conference

Human Nature: Perspectives from Ethics and Philosophy of Science/ Menschliche Natur: Wissenschaftstheoretische und Ethische Aspekte

Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
21st of July 2014

We are pleased to announce the second annual meeting of SWIP Germany e.V. (http://swip-philosophinnen.org/). The meeting will take place on the 21st of July at the Ruhr University Bochum. SWIP Germany is a registered charity and its meetings aim to advance and make visible contributions of women in German/ German-speaking philosophy. Our workshops and meetings also aim to foster the development of research networks and provide informal mentoring in an inclusive and trans-friendly environment.

Workshop Program:

Part I: Talks (open to all and aimed at a wider philosophical audience, in English and in German)

14:00 Maria Kronfeldner (Bielefeld, Germany)

Human nature – Quo Vadis? Eliminativist and Constructive Approaches to a Contested Concept in the Philosophy of Sciences

15:15 Coffee break

15:45 Mari Mikkola (Humboldt-University, Berlin) Introducing SWIP Germany

16:00 Felicitas Krämer (Eindhoven, the Netherlands)

Some Problems of the Genetic Enhancement of Emotions

17:15 Break

Part II: Mentoring (for women, in German)

17:45 With Buffet and Drinks (until approx. 20:00)

Attendance and buffet are free of charge. We can arrange reasonably priced child-care on campus. If you require child-care facilities, please register as soon as possible and no later than the registration deadline.

Paper Abstracts:

Maria Kronfeldner

In the 20th century, the concept of human nature has been severely criticized as too essentialist, from a scientific as well as from a political perspective. The talk introduces into the debate and will develop a pragmatic-pluralist perspective that includes a discussion of eliminativist and constructivist approaches. Eliminativist approaches suggest to get rid of the concept, given the scientific and social critique; constructivist approaches look for post-essentialist successor concepts. To find a common ground between these different approaches, the talk addresses which social and epistemic values (should) guide us when we deal with value-laden concepts such as human nature.

Felicitas Krämer

Is it morally acceptable to genetically enhance human emotions? Emotional enhancement means the improvement of emotions by technological means. Enhanced human beings will be by and large happier than unenhanced ones and have more feelings of empathy. Among the supporters of emotional enhancement are transhumanist authors such as Nick Bostrom. The talk discusses three main problems with the enhancement of emotions: the problem of emotional complexity, the problem of shifting standards and the problem of appropriateness. It is argued that the supporters of genetic emotional enhancement have not yet properly addressed these problems. They, accordingly, do not yet have a well grounded answer to the question of what sort of feelings human beings should have.

Deadline for registration is 24th of June. To register, please email Anna.Welpinghus[at]rub.de. For catering purposes, please indicate whether you will be attending the whole event or only a part of it (and which one). Please also indicate whether you require child-care.


Anna Welpinghus (Bochum)

Mari Mikkola (Humboldt-University, Berlin)

Pascale Ruder (Bochum)

Anne-Sophie Brüggen (Bochum)