•  188
    Martin Heidegger and Jacques Ellul propounded substantivist accounts of technology which rejected the received instrumentalist view of technology according to which only the ends to which technologies are applied can be evaluated. In opposition to instrumentalism, they claimed that modern technology involves a displacement of non-technological values or (in Heidegger’s case) other ways of relating to Being. The theory of technical autonomy that Jacques Ellul sets out in The Technological Society…Read more
  •  898
    On Reason and Spectral Machines: Robert Brandom and Bounded Posthumanism
    In Rosi Braidotti Rick Dolphijn (ed.), Philosophy After Nature, Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 99-119. 2017.
    I distinguish two theses regarding technological successors to current humans (posthumans): an anthropologically bounded posthumanism (ABP) and an anthropologically unbounded posthumanism (AUP). ABP proposes transcendental conditions on agency that can be held to constrain the scope for “weirdness” in the space of possible posthumans a priori. AUP, by contrast, leaves the nature of posthuman agency to be settled empirically (or technologically). Given AUP there are no “future proof” constraints …Read more
  •  30
    In this essay I argue for a constructivist account of the entities composing the object languages of Davidsonian truth theories and a quotational account of the reference from metalinguistic expressions to interpreted utterances. I claim that ‘radical quotation’ requires an ontology of repeatable events with strong similarities to Derrida's account of iterable events. In part one I summarise Davidson's account of interpretation and Olav Gjelsivk's arguments to the effect that the syntactic indiv…Read more
  •  11
    The Subject
    In Jack Reynolds John Roffe (ed.), Understanding Derrida, Continuum. 2004.
  •  31
    Naturalising deconstruction
    Continental Philosophy Review 38 (1-2): 71-88. 2005.
    Most contemporary readings of Derrida’s work situate it within a transcendental tradition of philosophical enquiry explicitly critical of naturalistic accounts of knowledge and mind. I argue that Derrida provides the naturalist with some of the philosophical resources needed to rebut transcendental critiques of naturalism, in particular the phenomenological critiques which derive from Husserl’s philosophy. I do this by showing: a) that Derrida’s account of temporality as differance undermines ph…Read more
  •  84
    Deconstruction and excision in philosophical posthumanism
    Journal of Evolution and Technology 21 (1). 2010.
    I distinguish the ethics of transhumanism from a related metaphysical position which I refer to as “speculative posthumanism.” Speculative posthumanism holds that posthumans might be radically non-human and thus unintelligible in human terms. I claim that this transcendence can be viewed as analogous to that of the thing-in-itself in Kantian and post-Kantian European philosophy. This schema implies an impasse for transhumanism because, while the radically non-human or posthuman would elude evalu…Read more
  •  651
    The disconnection thesis
    In A. Eden, J. H. Søraker, E. Steinhart & A. H. Moore (eds.), The Singularity Hypothesis: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment., Springer. 2012.
    In his 1993 article ‘The Coming Technological Singularity: How to survive in the posthuman era’ the computer scientist Virnor Vinge speculated that developments in artificial intelligence might reach a point where improvements in machine intelligence result in smart AI’s producing ever-smarter AI’s. According to Vinge the ‘singularity’, as he called this threshold of recursive self-improvement, would be a ‘transcendental event’ transforming life on Earth in ways that unaugmented humans are not e…Read more
  • Posthumanism (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261): 873-876. 2015.
  •  180
    Nature’s Dark Domain: An Argument for a Naturalized Phenomenology
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 72 169-88. 2013.
    Phenomenology is based on a doctrine of evidence that accords a crucial role to the human capacity to conceptualise or ‘intuit’ features of their experience. However, there are grounds for holding that some experiential entities to which phenomenologists are committed must be intuition-transcendent or ‘dark’. Examples of dark phenomenology include the very fine-grained perceptual discriminations which Thomas Metzinger calls ‘Raffman Qualia’ and, crucially, the structure of temporal awareness. It…Read more
  •  31
    In my book Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human (Routledge 2014) I set out a recursive account of the conditions for posthumanity: the Disconnection Thesis (DT). The DT states that a being is posthuman iff: 1) It has ceased to belong to WH (the "Wide Human" socio-technical network) as a result of technical alteration; 2) Or it is a wide descendent of such a being (outside WH) (PHL 112) Jon Cogburn's "Galapagos objection" attempts to show that there could be life forms whose evolu…Read more
  •  85
    In this paper I argue that the anti-reductionist thesis supports a case for the uselessness of intentional idioms in the interpretation of highly flexible, self-modifying agents that I refer to as “hyperplastic” agents. An agent is hyperplastic if it can make arbitrarily fine changes to any part of its functional or physical structure without compromising its agency or its capacity for hyperplasticity. Using Davidson’s anomalous monism (AM) as an exemplar of anti-reductionism, I argue that AM im…Read more
  •  87
    We 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 assumed that our technological successor will be an upgraded or degraded version of us: Human 2.0. Posthuman Life argues that the enhancement debate p…Read more