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The Idea of Humanity and the Challenge of Cultural Diversity

Who and what we are as humans have always been controversial questions. People differ not only about the is of humankind (what humans are and do in fact), but also about the ought of a humane humanity (how one should live as a human being). Answers to these questions have been sought by contrasting the human with the non-human (other animals), with the more than human (the divine), with the inhuman (negative human behaviors), with the superhuman (what humans will become), or with the transhuman (thinking machines). Today we have to discuss these questions in the light of at least five challenges: the biological challenge to human distinctiveness; the technological challenge that seeks to overcome the limitations of our biological nature by technical means; the anthropological challenge that there is no unity of humanity that has not emerged from a multitude of diversities; the cosmological challenge that we we are completely insignificant in the universe; and the theological challenge of arriving at a view of humanity by comparing humans to the divine. Against the backdrop of these challenges, I seek to explore the possibility of an idea of humanity that is sensitive to cultural differences and can adapt to different cultural contexts without prioritizing one’s own view against that of others


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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].