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How We Are Human

Magdalena Smieszek

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How We Are Human
How We Are Human

How We Are Human

Magdalena Smieszek

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About Us

How do we humans know ourselves? The question of what constitutes a human being, being human, humanness or humanity, in all its variations, is an enduring one in academic and public discourse, and particularly in its relation with human rights. The varied answers and perspectives can influence attitudes and social behavior. Taking on these questions with an interdisciplinary approach, the podcast series considers the various viewpoints and how the perspectives and knowledge about the human intersect with human rights objectives.

Latest Episodes

Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

Magdalena and Pin Lean Lau discuss the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI), its benefits and dangers, with implications on contemporary societies, legal systems, the labour market, ethics and human values. As a research and teaching fellow in a Hungarian state university, Pin Lean had designed and delivered a multi-disciplinary course on the subject. In the podcast, Pin Lean and Magdalena consider that if AI is becoming more and more human-like, what does that mean for our self-understanding and for human rights? As we have now entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Pin Lean hypothesizes that critical challenges posed by AI systems must be addressed through inclusive stakeholder engagement and flexible regulatory mechanisms in various industries. She cautions for the need to carefully reflect on notions of personhood and human dignity for AI systems, balanced against the underlying representation of values and behaviors that may threaten to erode human rights.Music: Nordlys by Lauge Baba Gnohm

32 MINAUG 29
Comments
Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

Genetic Interventions and Human Rights

Magdalena speaks withPin Lean Lau, whose research has been focused on pre-implantation genetic interventions, particularly regulatory models for biomedical technologies of this nature, whose development move at the pace of lightning speed. Pin Lean dispels myths about ‘designer babies’ with blue eyes and blond hair; and instead, asks us to think about the kind of equitable future we want to have access to: to be able to harness the benefits of technologies such as genome editing, but also to be able to ensure that our humanity, human rights and human nature are not compromised at the expense of individual hubris and greed. She suggests using a rights-based approach that is infused with a renewed and renegotiated understanding of human rights universality, shared common values, and a symbiosis of different regulatory designs that work to complement formal laws or legislation.Music:NordlysbyLauge Baba Gnohm

31 MINJUL 26
Comments
Genetic Interventions and Human Rights

Human Pain and Healing - Gabor Maté Interview

Dr. Gabor Maté, renowned expert, speaker, and author, in conversation with Magdalena Smieszek, reflects on human development and the interplay of biological, social, and psychological factors in a human being that he calls biopsychosocial. He talks about his childhood in Hungary between the Second World War, as a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, and the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 at which point he migrated with his family to Canada. The discussion covers a range of subjects, considering child development, genetics and the environment, multigenerational pain and trauma, identity formation, addiction, and the historical political conflicts around the world caught in a cycle of oppression and retribution. Gabor Maté considers different healing methods for the mind and body and calls for a sense of individual and collective responsibility.Music: Move Forward by Edoby Beats

46 MIN2018 DEC 7
Comments
Human Pain and Healing - Gabor Maté Interview

European Identity and the Other

Magdalena Smieszek speaks with Mate Tokic, Humanities Professor at CEU, joined by Azka Zia, Patricia Velicu and Julia Hasani, participants in the course on "The Other in European History and Politics".The discussion considers the formation of European identity and thinking critically about what it means to be European, how the process of inclusion and exclusion has challenged and continues to reshape what is and is not Europe. How does this ambivalence between unity and inclusion on the one hand, and exclusion and difference on the other play into the discourse of Europe in politics and society? In what ways do migration, human rights, religion, nationalism, citizenship and numerous other issues around identity politics affect Europe's self-definition? We reflect on the historical and contemporary manifestations surrounding the idea of Europe, its development through the encounter with what's been traditionally or newly considered the Other, as well as prospects for the future of Eu...

41 MIN2018 OCT 10
Comments
European Identity and the Other

What is a Human? What the Answers Mean for Human Rights

John Evans discusses his book What Is a Human? What the Answers Mean for Human Rights, the results of his empirical study across the United States. The research concerns long-standing academic debates about how the human is defined: whether primarily as a biological being determined by genetic makeup; whether defined by certain capacities that philosophers have outlined, such as rationality; what it means to be made in the image of God; and whether the promotion of these perspectives affects viewpoints on human rights issues such as genocide and torture. Are the critics correct that propagation of the biological and philosophical view of the human leads to less value for some humans, and thus for human rights?The results from respondents in the American context reveal nuance in how the perspectives interact. Moreover, a socially-conferred perspective is also included, one in which humans are recognized through social relations. This approach can be positive if it is fully inclusive,...

38 MIN2018 AUG 16
Comments
What is a Human? What the Answers Mean for Human Rights

The Study and Categories of Human

How do we humans study the human? Hosted by Magdalena Smieszek, this episode of the How We Are Human podcast presents a discussion with Maria Kronfeldner, Professor in the Philosophy Department at the Central European University, and three Master's students, Olesya Bondarenko, Noha Hendi, and Rachel Sanderoff, as part of the course entitled Topics in the Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences (ToPHSS).The discussion considers how concepts travel between scientific disciplines and philosophy in the study of the human. A focus is placed on the interaction between facts and values within the scientific findings as well as communication of the findings to the public. The outcome is that science and society influence each other, through communication of science and its connection with everyday language. Some examples are discussed, namely the study of rape and aggression within disciplines such as evolutionary psychology, and how the social and biological aspects of human behaviour ...

23 MIN2017 SEP 20
Comments
The Study and Categories of Human

The Biological and Social Human

Do we know ourselves better biologically or socially? Hosted by Magdalena Smieszek, this episode of the How We Are Human podcast is part 2 of the discussion with Maria Kronfeldner, Professor in the Philosophy Department at the Central European University, and three Master's students Olesya Bondarenko, Noha Hendi, and Rachel Sanderoff, as part of the course entitled Topics in the Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences (ToPHSS).The discussion continues to consider how humans understand themselves, the separation of cultures within the natural and social sciences, as well as the implications for knowledge and even politics. The conversation touches on how the theological understanding of the human connects with the human sciences. In discussing whether there can be a unified concept of the human, the agreement is that that there are different ways of connecting and unifying, and a continual contestation and negotiation is part of that process of agreeing on what we mean when it co...

19 MIN2017 SEP 19
Comments
The Biological and Social Human

The Question and Understanding of the Human

What is a human and what is humanity? Hosted by Magdalena Smieszek, this episode of the How We Are Human podcast is part 3 of the discussion with Maria Kronfeldner, Professor in the Philosophy Department at the Central European University, and three Master's students, Olesya Bondarenko, Noha Hendi, and Rachel Sanderoff, as part of the course entitled Topics in the Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences (ToPHSS).The discussion considers the different ways that the question about the human can be asked, how we can delineate between human properties, relations, and other aspects of the human. We consider how different societies approach the question of what is a human, humanity and human nature, whether from the religious or the scientific discourse. Finally, we reflect on whether the category of human as a historical construct will disappear, and what the subsequent constructs will mean for the relations between humans, humane treatment and human rights.The ToPHSS course was fund...

16 MIN2017 SEP 18
Comments
The Question and Understanding of the Human
the END

Latest Episodes

Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

Magdalena and Pin Lean Lau discuss the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI), its benefits and dangers, with implications on contemporary societies, legal systems, the labour market, ethics and human values. As a research and teaching fellow in a Hungarian state university, Pin Lean had designed and delivered a multi-disciplinary course on the subject. In the podcast, Pin Lean and Magdalena consider that if AI is becoming more and more human-like, what does that mean for our self-understanding and for human rights? As we have now entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Pin Lean hypothesizes that critical challenges posed by AI systems must be addressed through inclusive stakeholder engagement and flexible regulatory mechanisms in various industries. She cautions for the need to carefully reflect on notions of personhood and human dignity for AI systems, balanced against the underlying representation of values and behaviors that may threaten to erode human rights.Music: Nordlys by Lauge Baba Gnohm

32 MINAUG 29
Comments
Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

Genetic Interventions and Human Rights

Magdalena speaks withPin Lean Lau, whose research has been focused on pre-implantation genetic interventions, particularly regulatory models for biomedical technologies of this nature, whose development move at the pace of lightning speed. Pin Lean dispels myths about ‘designer babies’ with blue eyes and blond hair; and instead, asks us to think about the kind of equitable future we want to have access to: to be able to harness the benefits of technologies such as genome editing, but also to be able to ensure that our humanity, human rights and human nature are not compromised at the expense of individual hubris and greed. She suggests using a rights-based approach that is infused with a renewed and renegotiated understanding of human rights universality, shared common values, and a symbiosis of different regulatory designs that work to complement formal laws or legislation.Music:NordlysbyLauge Baba Gnohm

31 MINJUL 26
Comments
Genetic Interventions and Human Rights

Human Pain and Healing - Gabor Maté Interview

Dr. Gabor Maté, renowned expert, speaker, and author, in conversation with Magdalena Smieszek, reflects on human development and the interplay of biological, social, and psychological factors in a human being that he calls biopsychosocial. He talks about his childhood in Hungary between the Second World War, as a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, and the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 at which point he migrated with his family to Canada. The discussion covers a range of subjects, considering child development, genetics and the environment, multigenerational pain and trauma, identity formation, addiction, and the historical political conflicts around the world caught in a cycle of oppression and retribution. Gabor Maté considers different healing methods for the mind and body and calls for a sense of individual and collective responsibility.Music: Move Forward by Edoby Beats

46 MIN2018 DEC 7
Comments
Human Pain and Healing - Gabor Maté Interview

European Identity and the Other

Magdalena Smieszek speaks with Mate Tokic, Humanities Professor at CEU, joined by Azka Zia, Patricia Velicu and Julia Hasani, participants in the course on "The Other in European History and Politics".The discussion considers the formation of European identity and thinking critically about what it means to be European, how the process of inclusion and exclusion has challenged and continues to reshape what is and is not Europe. How does this ambivalence between unity and inclusion on the one hand, and exclusion and difference on the other play into the discourse of Europe in politics and society? In what ways do migration, human rights, religion, nationalism, citizenship and numerous other issues around identity politics affect Europe's self-definition? We reflect on the historical and contemporary manifestations surrounding the idea of Europe, its development through the encounter with what's been traditionally or newly considered the Other, as well as prospects for the future of Eu...

41 MIN2018 OCT 10
Comments
European Identity and the Other

What is a Human? What the Answers Mean for Human Rights

John Evans discusses his book What Is a Human? What the Answers Mean for Human Rights, the results of his empirical study across the United States. The research concerns long-standing academic debates about how the human is defined: whether primarily as a biological being determined by genetic makeup; whether defined by certain capacities that philosophers have outlined, such as rationality; what it means to be made in the image of God; and whether the promotion of these perspectives affects viewpoints on human rights issues such as genocide and torture. Are the critics correct that propagation of the biological and philosophical view of the human leads to less value for some humans, and thus for human rights?The results from respondents in the American context reveal nuance in how the perspectives interact. Moreover, a socially-conferred perspective is also included, one in which humans are recognized through social relations. This approach can be positive if it is fully inclusive,...

38 MIN2018 AUG 16
Comments
What is a Human? What the Answers Mean for Human Rights

The Study and Categories of Human

How do we humans study the human? Hosted by Magdalena Smieszek, this episode of the How We Are Human podcast presents a discussion with Maria Kronfeldner, Professor in the Philosophy Department at the Central European University, and three Master's students, Olesya Bondarenko, Noha Hendi, and Rachel Sanderoff, as part of the course entitled Topics in the Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences (ToPHSS).The discussion considers how concepts travel between scientific disciplines and philosophy in the study of the human. A focus is placed on the interaction between facts and values within the scientific findings as well as communication of the findings to the public. The outcome is that science and society influence each other, through communication of science and its connection with everyday language. Some examples are discussed, namely the study of rape and aggression within disciplines such as evolutionary psychology, and how the social and biological aspects of human behaviour ...

23 MIN2017 SEP 20
Comments
The Study and Categories of Human

The Biological and Social Human

Do we know ourselves better biologically or socially? Hosted by Magdalena Smieszek, this episode of the How We Are Human podcast is part 2 of the discussion with Maria Kronfeldner, Professor in the Philosophy Department at the Central European University, and three Master's students Olesya Bondarenko, Noha Hendi, and Rachel Sanderoff, as part of the course entitled Topics in the Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences (ToPHSS).The discussion continues to consider how humans understand themselves, the separation of cultures within the natural and social sciences, as well as the implications for knowledge and even politics. The conversation touches on how the theological understanding of the human connects with the human sciences. In discussing whether there can be a unified concept of the human, the agreement is that that there are different ways of connecting and unifying, and a continual contestation and negotiation is part of that process of agreeing on what we mean when it co...

19 MIN2017 SEP 19
Comments
The Biological and Social Human

The Question and Understanding of the Human

What is a human and what is humanity? Hosted by Magdalena Smieszek, this episode of the How We Are Human podcast is part 3 of the discussion with Maria Kronfeldner, Professor in the Philosophy Department at the Central European University, and three Master's students, Olesya Bondarenko, Noha Hendi, and Rachel Sanderoff, as part of the course entitled Topics in the Philosophy of the Human and Social Sciences (ToPHSS).The discussion considers the different ways that the question about the human can be asked, how we can delineate between human properties, relations, and other aspects of the human. We consider how different societies approach the question of what is a human, humanity and human nature, whether from the religious or the scientific discourse. Finally, we reflect on whether the category of human as a historical construct will disappear, and what the subsequent constructs will mean for the relations between humans, humane treatment and human rights.The ToPHSS course was fund...

16 MIN2017 SEP 18
Comments
The Question and Understanding of the Human
the END
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