Paper long abstract:
It has been long since that the 20th century German Philosophical Anthropologist Arnold Gehlen declared that humans do not merely "live a life" but must rather lead a life. Philosophical reflections on the "human structure" going back so far as Gottfried Herder in the late 18th century identified the underdevelopment, under-specialization and distinctive vulnerability of the human neonate as being critical for understanding the nature and basis of the human socio-cultural form of life. Recent developments in genetics, comparative genomics and the neurosciences provide an opportunity to critically revisit, re-evaluate and perhaps renew this tradition that has held that our biology and our socio-cultural forms of life clarify and implicate one another. Following a review of recent developments in the life sciences, including new findings associated with the highly publicized FOXP2 "language" gene, a perspective on human becoming will be sketched out in terms of an anthropology of "detachment and compensation".
Beyond the biological and the social: anthropology as the study of human becomings