How Human Will Posthumans Be?

Dates: October 25, 2014
Location: London, UK

It is common to imagine posthumans as humans made superhumanly intelligent or resilient by future advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science. Many argue that these enhanced people might live better lives; others fear that tinkering with our nature will undermine our sense of our own humanity. Whoever is right, it is generally assumed that our technological successor will be an upgraded or degraded version of us: Human 2.0.

However, the recent book Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human by David Roden argues that this enhancement debate projects a human face onto an empty screen. We actually do not know what will happen and, not being posthuman, cannot anticipate how posthumans will assess the world.

Posthuman Life develops a position called “speculative posthumanism,” which the author distinguishes from both:

  • “Critical Posthumanism” — which seeks to “deconstruct” the philosophical centrality of the human subject in epistemology, ethics and politics;
  • Transhumanism — which proposes the technical enhancement of humans and their capacities.

Posthuman Life argues that only a truly speculative posthumanism can support an ethics that meets the challenge of the transformative potential of technology.

This London Futurists event features the author of Posthuman Life who will address the question “How human will posthumans be?”.

About David Roden

Dr David Roden is a Lecturer in Philosophy at The Open University, UK, where he is a member of its Mind, Meaning and Rationality Research Group.

David earned his BA with Honors in Philosophy at the University of Bristol in 1982. He earned his Ph.D. with the thesis “The Metaphysics of the Deconstructive Text” at Cardiff University in 1999.

David blogs at enemyindustry - philosophy at the edge of the human. He tweets as @TuringCop.

About the book Posthuman life:

Table of contents:

Introduction: Churchland’s Centipede
1. Humanism,Transhumanism and Posthumanism
2. A Defence of Pre‐Critical Posthumanism
3. The Edge of the Human
4. Weird Tales: Anthropologically Unbounded Posthumanism
5. The Disconnection Thesis
6. Functional Autonomy and Assemblage Theory
7. New Substantivism: A Theory of Technology
8. The Ethics of Becoming Posthuman.

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Meeting Logistics:

2pm-4pm, Saturday 25th October 2014.

Venue: Room <to-be-announced>, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

Room TBA is on the TBA-th floor in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.

The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ.

Event hashtag:

#posthumanlife

Covering meeting costs:

A small fee (£5) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room costs. Please pay in advance, online.

This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 3 days before the meetup.

Alternatively, if there are still seats available, payment can be made in cash at the door on the day. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.)

Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge – please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend.