Medical Humanities Reading Group: Transhumanism in Culture and in Bioethics

Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group: Transhumanism in Culture and in Bioethics

Thursday 24 Oct 2019, 14:00 to 15:30, Room 101, 30 Russell Square

The first session of the Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group for this academic year will be on transhumanism, “an intellectual and socio-political movement that is concerned with … the use of technology to transform the human organism radically”. Its ideal aim is the ‘posthuman’, “a being so radically different in physical, cognitive, and emotional capacities from normal or current humans as to be no longer unambiguously human”. In this session, led by Dr Mohammed Rashed (Birkbeck, Philosophy), we will look at examples of people seeking transhumanist transformation and will consider some of the bioethical questions this raises.

  • Mark O’Connell (2017) To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death. Chapter 9: Biology and its Discontents. London: Doubleday. Winner of the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize.
  • Allen Porter (2017) Bioethics and Transhumanism. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42: 237-260.

The readings for each session are held in a shared Dropbox folder. If you need access, email (include your Dropbox-linked email address, if you have one).

Everyone is welcome at the reading group. There is no need to book. For directions to our Bloomsbury campus please see An access guide to the building is available at Accessible

The Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group aims to create a space in which academics, clinicians and students can come together to explore key readings, ideas and materials in the field of medical humanities. Our endeavour is to find ways of talking across the different disciplines of the humanities and medicine, and we welcome participation from colleagues and students interested and engaged in these areas. For details of previous sessions, please click here.


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