2022 November: Personal Identity with Andrew Ward

Tuesday, 8 November⋅7:30 – 9:00pm

Andrew explained how the problem of personal identity first arose in the early modern period and then go on to describe how it has been taken up in recent years (largely on the back of the earlier thinkers). The talk brought out sharply contrasting views - some of them - as to what constitutes our identity, not only in the early modern period but, equally, in the present one. Andrew assumed no previous knowledge of the topic.

Andrew Ward was born and lived for his first 25 years in East Sheen. Towards the end of this period, he even became an undistinguished member of the Barnes and Mortlake cricket team. In 1971 he was appointed a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of York. He is now an honorary lifetime fellow of the department. He has also taught at the University of Florida, Gainesville and, from 2014 to 2017, was visiting professor of philosophy at Shanghai’s University of Finance and Economics. His philosophical papers cover a variety of topics, including scepticism, aesthetics and personal identity. He is the author of Kant: The Three Critiques in Polity Press’s Classic Thinkers series.

Barnes, London SW13 and online


10 January 2023: Professor Susan B. Levin: Posthuman Bliss? The Failed Promise of Transhumanism

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Susan B. Levin is Roe/Straut Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy. The areas of Susan's research are bioethics and ancient Greek philosophy. Her most recent book is Posthuman Bliss? The Failed Promise of Transhumanism (Oxford, 2021). The American Philosophical Association featured the book in its Recently Published Book Spotlight. Levin also discusses the book in a post for OUP blog, an article for the Institute of Art and Ideas, and a blog post in the series “The Page 99 Test.” An interview with her appears in the Summer 2021 issue of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly.

According to a review of Posthuman Bliss? The Failed Promise of Transhumanism in The Hastings Center Report, “Levin offers a comprehensive takedown of the transhumanist project.…Her deeply argued, scientifically informed book shows both that we have good reason to reject transhumanist value assumptions…and that a more robust picture of scientific evidence undermines the feasibility of the transhumanists’ wished-for interventions. Not only are the imagined enhancements unlikely to work in the ways that they imagine, Levin convincingly argues, but even if they did, we would be at risk of losing the very values and capabilities that make humanity worth saving.”

Susan, who is US-based, will be appearing online. To watch at the OSO, and join us for a drink before and/or after the talk, please book a free ticket with the OSO here.

To join us on Zoom, please use the following link to join.

Supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.