Fall Semester 2010, Middle Tennessee State University
Philosophy 4800.1: The Future of Life
Mondays and Wednesdays 2:20-3:45, James Union Building 202 Integrating themes from two previous courses (Biomedical Ethics, Biotechnology and Ethics) with an additional focus on the value of “long-term thinking,” speculations on the sustainability of life on Earth, humanity's evolutionary prospects, genetic engineering, and “trans-humanist” visions of a naturalized pseudo-immortality for some, and non-religious “transcendence” for others. Our starting point is this observation by William James: “The really vital question for us all is, What is this world going to be? What is life eventually to make of itself?”* Our texts will include -This Will Change Everything: Ideas that will Change the Future (Brockman) -You Are Not a Gadget (Lanier) -Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (McKibben) -Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (Brand) Contact Dr. James P. Oliver (firstname.lastname@example.org, 898-2050, JUB 307B) for further information. == *The passage, in Pragmatism (Lec.III) continues: "The centre of gravity of philosophy must therefore alter its place. The earth of things, long thrown into shadow by the glories of the upper ether, must resume its rights. To shift the emphasis in this way means that philosophic questions will fall to be treated by minds of a less abstractionist type than heretofore, minds more scientific and individualistic in their tone yet not irreligious either. It will be an alteration in ’the seat of authority’ that reminds one almost of the protestant reformation."