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The West's Journey from Living Souls to Software Selves

Friday, Jan 29, 2021 at 12:30PM - 1:30 PM PDT

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Being human in our technological age requires not merely technical skills but—more importantly—intellectual capacity to navigate a rapidly changing philosophical milieu. Join us this winter for our online lecture series, Human Flourishing in a Technological Age, to learn from leading scholars about key aspects of what it means to be human in a technological age: personhood, embodied cognition, leisure, transhumanism and more.

Please join us on Friday,  January 29 as we welcome Dr. Robert Doede who will give the lecture "The West's Journey from Living Souls to Software Selves."

In this lecture, Dr. Doede will delineate some of the key conceptual shifts in the history of the West that have crucially contributed to the conceivability and perhaps even the plausibility of the contemporary transhumanist project of engineering mind uploading. He will explain how it is that contemporary scientists, philosophers, and intelligent laypersons find it easy, indeed almost natural, to take seriously that they are beings whose living identities are capable of being captured as digital software patterns, thereby de-coupled from their vital bodies, and then uploaded onto a non-biodegradable substrate where they can carry on their lives in perpetuity. Some the conceptual shifts that paved the way for the easy acquiescence to the transhumanists project of mind uploading are found in 1.) the late medieval Via Moderna that effected a seismic rift in the theological and metaphysical grounds underwriting the symbolic cosmos of the medieval synthesis of Neo-Platonism, Aristotelianism and Christianity 2.) the subsequent rise of early modern science’s metaphor of the mechanical uni-verse, and 3.) the late modern information revolution and the trends toward digital realism it has inspired in various fields of science but most profoundly in the cognitive sciences.

Dr. Robert Doede is a professor of philosophy at Trinity Western University. He has published articles in a number of philosophy journals, including “Transhumanism, Technology, and the Future: Posthumanity Emerging or Sub-humanity Descending?” in Appraisal (Vol. 7, No. 3, March 2009, pp. 39-54), "Technologies and Species Transitions: Polanyi, on a Path to Posthumanity?” in the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society (Vol. 31, No. 3, June 2011, pp. 225-235), and “The Pedagogy of Indirection” in Facing Challenges: Feminism in Christian Higher Education and Other Places, edited by Allyson Jule and Bettina Tate Pedersen (Cambridge Scholarly Press, 2015). Recently Dr. Doede has also been interviewed on CBC Radio One and on Lorna Dueck's Listen Up TV regarding technology and education.

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Speaking at this Event


Robert Doede

Professor of Philosophy (Trinity Western University)

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