A BBC article on the new species of homo UK | Magazine | Eton or the zoo? raises some excellent questions.
How would the new species be treated? If it is such a close relative, would we give these people the vote?
The discovery of homo floresiensis reiterates what anthropologists have been saying for a long while – that we are not unique as humans.
All living creatures may have a soul, but to what extent are we different? What is the character of humanity?
We are certainly a biological species. So is it that humans are conscious of their world? Many animals are clearly conscious and communicate their awareness. Maybe we have a higher order of self-awareness above this primary consciousness? Or maybe we are intentional beings. Again, many animals display what can be interpreted as intentional behavior.
How about this as a way to think of these questions –
The notion of species is too centered upon the characteristics of the individual biolgical organism.
Australopithecus Afarensis – reconstruction from Johanson and Edgar From Lucy to Language
What makes a species is also its ecology. And modern humans have a peculiarly cultural ecology (for at least 35 thousand years). This makes our identity and self awareness distributed phenomena – to be found outside the individual in cultural networks.
Don’t look for the soul inside the human being but outside.
An argument from my new book project.