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Volume 18, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Australasian Continental Philosophy

Nathan Van Camp
Pages 171-189

Enhancing the Natal Condition: Hannah Arendt and the Question of Biotechnology

This paper turns to Hannah Arendt’s brief, poignant remarks about the advent of a biotechnological revolution as a starting point for a renewed reflection on her concept of natality. By expanding on Arendt's significant, but often overlooked, reference to the work of the German anthropologist Arnold Gehlen, it will be argued that that natality is a concept that subverts any rigid opposition between zoe and bios, biological birth and politico-linguistic birth. Consequently, it will be shown that Jürgen Habermas and Michael Sandel are mistaken to appeal to the concept of natality in their arguments against genetic enhancement.