The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, edited by pioneer transhumanist thinkers (philosopher) Max More and (artist/culture theorist) Natasha Vita-More, is now available for order on Amazon – with an announced publication date of 29 April 2013.
Before I go on, allow me to give the disclaimer that I am one of the authors to have contributed a chapter, in this case entitled “The Great Transition: Ideas and Anxieties.” This is my most concerted attempt to date to explicate the central ideas of transhumanism and suggest how we might best respond to them.
You can click on the image of the cover where it appears on Amazon’s site if you’d like to sample the contents, including the full contents pages. Or it should work if you click here to find the table of contents.
The authors are something of a who’s who of thinkers who have contributed in one capacity or another to the transhumanist movement or to discussion of emerging technologies and human enhancement in general. Many of these people would be widely regarded as coming from different factions or schools of thought, and some may not even like each other all that much, so this is going to be a diverse book. Contributing authors, apart from the two editors (and myself, obviously) include Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, Martine Rothblatt, James Hughes, Laura Beloff, Aubrey de Grey, Ray Kurzweil, Damien Broderick… and many others of similar calibre, with claims to be intellectual leaders in this area.
I have not read the whole book – though I’ve read some of the reprinted material in earlier forms – so I can’t give it anything like an actual review. Also, at this stage it’s not possible to review it on Amazon, so you won’t find much guidance there (if you pay a lot of attention to Amazon reviews). But I’ve read a prospectus as well as the ToC, and I’m confident that this will be a very authoritative book, showing the depth of historical and current thinking in the field. If you’re interested in transhumanist thought, or more generally in debates over emerging technologies and the prospects of human enhancement, this is a volume that you probably should get your hands on.