Transhumanism, Nature, and the Ends of Science

Robert Frodeman

This June from Routledge

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Transhumanism is the philosophical stance whose goal is to increase our physical and mental abilities and lengthen our lifespan, perhaps to the point of infinity. Of course, all these goals, and especially immortality, have been passionately desired since the dawn of humanity. But now technology is venturing into territory previously reserved for myth and religion. Scientists and engineers increasingly turn toward a practical research program of directed evolution that Steve Fuller has called Humanity 2.0.


Transhumanism, Nature, and the Ends of Science offers an interdisciplinary account of the role of science and technology in contemporary culture, culminating in a social-political and philosophical critique of transhumanism. Its central claim is that it is past time to restrain the runaway ambitions of technoscientific knowledge.

The author probes the assumptions of leading transhumanist thinkers and reviews the arguments of prominent critics as he develops his own distinctive take on transhumanism. He frames these other discussions within a wider critique of the modern technoscientific impulse, which is seen as the hidden driver of any number of the social pathologies. Crucially, he offers his own naturalistic account of an alternative path for human flourishing, and discusses how philosophy needs to change in order to better contribute to pressing societal questions and to be made relevant to public policy.

The interdisciplinary orientation of Transhumanism, Nature, and the Ends of Science makes it relevant to scholars and students across a wide range of disciplines, including social and political philosophy, philosophy of technology, science and technology studies, environmental studies, and public policy.

Transhumanism Bibliography (by Ben Ross)


More, Max. The Transhumanist Reader, edited by Max More and Natasha Vita-More. Wiley-Blackwell. 2013.

Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near

Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines

Aubrey DeGrey, Articles on

Young, Simon. Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto. 2005.

Fuller, Steve. Preparing for Life in Humanity 2.0, 2013.

Fuller, Steve. Humanity 2.0. Macmillan. 2011.

Fuller, Steve and Lipinska, Veronika. The Proactionary Imperative. Macmillan. 2014.

Bostrom, Nick. Superintelligence. Oxford. 2014.

Bostrom, Nick and Savulescu, Julian. Human Enhancement.

Melinda Hall, The Bioethics of Enhancement: Transhumanism, Disability, and Biopolitics. Rowman and Littlefield. 2016.

Hughes, James. Citizen Cyborg. 2004.

Buchanan, Allen. Better than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves. 2011.

Nick Agar, Liberal Eugenics, 2004.

The Immortalists, Documentary (2014) (De Grey, et al.)

Transcendent Man, Doc, (Kurzweil, et al.)

The Future of Work and Death, Doc, (Fuller, et al.)



Bill McKibben, Enough, 2003.

Francis Fukuyama, Our Posthuman Future, 2003.

Langdon Winner, Autonomous Technology, 1974.

Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, 1954.

Bill Joy, Wired, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” 2008.

Leon Kass, The Ethics of Human Cloning. 1994.

Leon Kass, “The Wisdom of Repugnance”

Theodore Rozak, Where the Wasteland Ends. 1989.

Sandel, Michael J. The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering. 2009.

Kelly, Kevin. What Technology Wants, 2010.

Marcuse, Herbert. One-Dimensional Man, 1964.

Theodore Kaczynski, Anti-Tech Revolution, 2015.

Adbusters Magazine

Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman


Overview of Transhumanism/General Technology/Posthumanism

Arbesman, Samuel. Overcomplicated. Current Books. 2016.

Wiener, Norbert. The Human Use of Human Beings. 1950.

Palfrey and Gasser. Born Digital. 2008.

Harris, John. Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People, 2007.

Gregory Hansell, Transhumanism and Its Critics. 2011.

Neil Postman, Technopoly

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

P.W. Singer, Wired for War, 2009.

Adam Greenfield, Radical Technologies, 2017.

Ed Finn, What Algorithms Want, 2017

Katherine Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer. 2005.

Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto”

Benjamin Bratton. The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty. 2015.

Timothy Morton. Humankind: Solidarity with Non-human People, 2017.

Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. HarperCollins. 2017.

Peter-Paul Verbeek, Moralizing Technology, 2011

Hailes, N. Katherine. How We Beccame Posthuman. University of Chicago. 1999.

Allenby and Sarewitz, The Techno-Human Condition. MIT Press, 2011.

Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere


Desire, Drugs, Acceleration

Douglas Rushkoff, Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace, 1994

Kester Brewin, Getting High, 2016

Rinella, Michael A. Pharmakon: Plato, Drug Culture, and Identity in Ancient Athens, 2010.

Derrida, Jacques. “Plato’s Pharmacy,” In Dissemination, 1981.

Neel, Jasper. Plato, Derrida, and Writing, 2016.

Washington Post, “Can Marijuana Rescue Coal Country?” Retrieved 8/7/17

Opioid Nation: The Making of an Epidemic, documentary, 2017.

Warning: This Drug May Kill You, HBO documentary, 2017.

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri, Anti-Oedipus, 1972.

Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams, Inventing the Future, 2015.

Robin McKay, #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, 2014.

Nick Land, Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings, 2014

Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, 1954

Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Futurability: The age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility, 2017.


Philosophical Perspectives

Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. University of Chicago. 1958.

Arendt, The Origin of Totalitarianism, 1979.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. 1962.

Heidegger, Martin. “The Question Concerning Technology,” In Basic Writings, 1993.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Cambridge, 2006.

Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 1962.

Keith Pearson, Viroid Life: Nietzsche and the Transhuman Condition, 2016.

Plato, The Republic, Bloom

Plato, Symposium, Bernadete

Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, 1994

Saskia Sassen, Explusions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, 2014.


General Relevant History/Films/Literature

Hesiod, Theogony, Oxford, 1999.

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, or,: The Modern Prometheus

Doctorow, Cory. Walkaways. 2017.

Egan, Greg. Permutation City. 1994.

Gibson, William. Neuromancer. 1984.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. 1931.

Masamune, Shirow. The Ghost in the Shell.

Blade Runner, 1982.

Blade Runner 2049, 2017.

George Orwell, 1984.