How do you know what you know—or what you think you know? Have you ever wondered why you believe in God, why some people don’t believe in God, or what it means to be religious? How do you answer the question, “Who are you?” Norman Orr provides new ways to think about these questions and many more in this book that promotes the idea of embracing biological humanism. He begins by sharing a syllogism that demonstrates God is an idea created by humans, and therefore, not real. Next, he explores when, how, and why humans created the idea of God. He also answers questions such as: • What are the benefits of abandoning the idea that we are special creatures created by God and replace that concept with the premise that we are only biological organisms? • What does the cultural artifact of Santa Claus created by humans tell us about the idea of God? • What is the concept of social constructionism and how does it relate to the idea of god? The author also asks who humans are if we are not beings created by God—as well as why we must recognize that the brain normally operates on the basis of biases.
This book explains that while posthumanism rose in opposition to the biblical contention that Man was created in the image of God, transhumanism ascertained the complementary view that Man has been assigned dominion over all creatures, further exploring a path that had been opened up by the Enlightenments notion of human perfectibility. It explains also how posthumanism and transhumanism relate to deconstruction theory, and on a broader level to capitalism, libertarianism, and the fight against human extinction which may involve trespassing the boundary of the skin, achieving individual immortality or dematerialization of the Self and colonisation of distant planets and stars. Two authors debate about truth and reason in todays world, the notion of personhood and the legacy of the Nietzschean Superhuman in the current varieties of anti-humanism. Paul Jorion, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the Universite Catholique de Lille, France. He trained as an anthropologist, sociologist and psychoanalyst. He taught at Cambridge University, UK, was a UCI Regents Lecturer and a member of the UCLA, USA, Human Complex Systems. He played a pioneering role in AI (British Telecoms Connex project) and in developing financial algorithms.
The story of how prominent liberal intellectuals reshaped American religious and secular institutions to promote a more democratic, science-centered society. Recent polls show that a quarter of Americans claim to have no religious affiliation, identifying instead as atheists, agnostics, or "nothing in particular." A century ago, a small group of American intellectuals who dubbed themselves humanists tread this same path, turning to science as a major source of spiritual sustenance. In The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism, Stephen P. Weldon tells the fascinating story of this group as it developed over the twentieth century, following the fortunes of a few generations of radical ministers, academic philosophers, and prominent scientists who sought to replace traditional religion with a modern, liberal, scientific outlook. Weldon explores humanism through the networks of friendships and institutional relationships that underlay it, from philosophers preaching in synagogues and ministers editing articles of Nobel laureates to magicians invoking the scientific method. Examining the development of an increasingly antagonistic engagement between religious conservatives and the secular culture of the academy, Weldon explains how this conflict has shaped the discussion of science and religion in American culture. He also uncovers a less known—but equally influential—story about the conflict within humanism itself between two very different visions of science: an aspirational, democratic outlook held by the followers of John Dewey on the one hand, and a skeptical, combative view influenced by logical positivism on the other. Putting America's distinctive science talk into historical perspective, Weldon shows how events such as the Pugwash movement for nuclear disarmament, the ongoing evolution controversies, the debunking of pseudo-science, and the selection of scientists and popularizers like Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov as humanist figureheads all fit a distinctly American ethos. Weldon maintains that this secular ethos gained much of its influence by tapping into the idealism found in the American radical religious tradition that includes the deism of Thomas Paine, nineteenth-century rationalism and free thought, Protestant modernism, and most important, Unitarianism. Drawing on archival research, interviews, and a thorough study of the main humanist publications, The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism reveals a new level of detail about the personal and institutional forces that have shaped major trends in American secular culture. Significantly, the book shows why special attention to American liberal religiosity remains critical to a clear understanding of the scientific spirit in American culture.
Posthuman Suffering investigates the core assumptions of posthumanist discourse via philosophy, cultural studies, psychoanalytic theory, and close textual and filmic readings of Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Don DeLillo's White Noise and Steven Spielberg's film, AI: Artificial Intelligence, bringing the more ontological and epistemological implications of posthumanism to the forefront. In the age of technology our own limitations are legitimized as unique to the human condition.
Philosophy in Reality offers a new vision of the relation between science and philosophy in the framework of a non-propositional logic of real processes, grounded in the physics of the real world. This logical system is based on the work of the Franco-Romanian thinker Stéphane Lupasco (1900-1988), previously presented by Joseph Brenner in the book Logic in Reality (Springer, 2008). The present book was inspired in part by the ancient Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching) and its scientific-philosophical discussion of change. The emphasis in Philosophy in Reality is on the recovery of dialectics and semantics from reductionist applications and their incorporation into a new synthetic paradigm for knowledge. Through an original re-interpretation of both classical and modern Western thought, this book addresses philosophical issues in scientific fields as well as long-standing conceptual problems such as the origin, nature and role of meaning, the unity of knowledge and the origin of morality. In a rigorous transdisciplinary manner, it discusses foundational and current issues in the physical sciences - mathematics, information, communication and systems theory and their implications for philosophy. The same framework is applied to problems of the origins of society, the transformation of reality by human subjects, and the emergence of a global, sustainable information society. In summary, Philosophy in Reality provides a wealth of new perspectives and references, supporting research by both philosophers and physical and social scientists concerned with the many facets of reality.
This collection aims to examine the relationship between American fiction and innovations that marked the first decades of the 21st century: the Internet, social media, smart objects and environments, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, genetic engineering and other biotechnologies, transhumanism. These technological innovations redefine the way we live in and imagine our world, interact with each other and understand the human being in his or her ever closer relationship to the machine a human being no longer, as in the past, cared for or repaired, but now enhanced or replaced. What about our artistic and cultural practices? Are these recent advances changing language and literature? How is fiction transformed by technological progress and what representations of progress can it oppose? Can fiction offer a critique of the new media and the upheavals they precipitate? How does the temporality of literature respond to a technical time subjected to the imperative of efficiency, where the present is a slave to the future? Do virtual worlds challenge the primacy of literary fiction as a privileged mode of escape from daily life? In a context where software can generate literary works, can the force of poetical advent still oppose algorithmic logics? What becomes of the body in a world in which its technical extensions increase the externalization of its cognitive functions in media artifacts and digital networks? In order to explore these questions, scholars here investigate the American fiction of Russell Banks, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Lethem, Tao Lin, Richard Powers, Kenneth Goldsmith, Jennifer Egan or Jonathan Franzen as well as the Cyberpunk genre and the Neuronovel.
This volume is a festschrift honoring film and theatre critic / teacher Stanley Kauffmann. The essays in this collection are by 18 of his more prominent former students and are divided into three parts: dramatic, theatrical, and film criticism.
With the rise of imperialism, the centuries-old European tradition of humanist scholarship as the key to understanding the world was jeopardized. Nowhere was this more true than in nineteenth-century Germany. It was there, Andrew Zimmerman argues, that the battle lines of today's "culture wars" were first drawn when anthropology challenged humanism as a basis for human scientific knowledge. Drawing on sources ranging from scientific papers and government correspondence to photographs, pamphlets, and police reports of "freak shows," Zimmerman demonstrates how German imperialism opened the door to antihumanism. As Germans interacted more frequently with peoples and objects from far-flung cultures, they were forced to reevaluate not just those peoples, but also the construction of German identity itself. Anthropologists successfully argued that their discipline addressed these issues more productively—and more accessibly—than humanistic studies. Scholars of anthropology, European and intellectual history, museum studies, the history of science, popular culture, and colonial studies will welcome this book.
The timeless human desire to be more beautiful, intelligent, healthy, athletic, or young has given rise in our time to technologies of human enhancement. Athletes use drugs to increase their strength or stamina; cosmetic surgery is widely used to improve physical appearance; millions of men take drugs like Viagra to enhance sexual performance. And today researchers are exploring technologies such as cell regeneration and implantable devices that interact directly with the brain. Some condemn these developments as a new kind of cheating—not just in sports but in life itself—promising rewards without effort and depriving us most of all of what it means to be authentic human beings. “Transhumanists,” on the other hand, reject what they see as a rationalizing of human limits, as if being human means being content forever with underachieving bodies and brains. To be human, they insist, is to be restless with possibilities, always eager to transcend biological limits. As the debate grows in urgency, how should theology respond? Christian theologians recognize truth on both sides of the argument, pointing out how the yearnings of the transhumanists—if not their technological methods—find deep affinities in Christian belief. In this volume, Ronald Cole-Turner has joined seasoned scholars and younger, emerging voices together to bring fresh insight into the technologies that are already reshaping the future of Christian life and hope.
THE MAXIMUM TRUTH QUARTET combines four books of aphoristic philosophy under one heading, beginning with 'Maximum Truth' and progressing, via 'Truthful Maxims' and 'Informal Maxims', to 'Maximum Informality'. Thus this quartet of books begins with a 'maximum' and ends with one, all of which were written in 1993, and thus demonstrate a stylistic and thematic continuity.