The first of a series of Philosophy Seminars, which have been organised by Michael Krausz, Adjunct Fellow at Linacre, will take place on Thursday 19th October.
Paul Snowden, “Philosophy and Transhumanism”
Abstract: There is a movement, primarily based in the States, called Transhumanism - a central idea of which is that we can escape death by transcending our imperfect human nature and becoming (roughly) computers. A nice introduction to this movement is Mark O'Connell's book To be a Machine. The question I wish to pursue is whether discussions in philosophy of our nature and identity - the topic that philosophers call the problem of personal identity - can ground a reflective but critical response to this movement. I shall argue that the answer is 'yes'.
Paul Snowdon was a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, between 1971 and 2001, when he was appointed Grote Professor of Mind and Logic at UCL. He retired in 2012. In 2014 he published Persons, Animals, Ourselves (OUP), and, in 2016, Animalism (OUP) -jointly edited with Stephan Blatti - a collection of essays debating our nature. He has published on philosophy of mind, including perception and action, and the history of modern philosophy.