For example: Donald Trump’s use of language “poses an existential threat to democracy,” in George Lakoff and Gil Duran, “Trump Has Turned Words into Weapons,” Guardian, June 13, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/how-to-report-trump-media-manipulation-language; Julia Hollingsworth, “Climate Change Could Pose ‘Existential Threat’ by 2050: Report,” CNN, June 4, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/04/health/climate-change-existential-threat-report-intl/index.html.
Stephen Hawking, “This Is the Most Dangerous Time for Our Planet,” Guardian, December 1, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality.
Extinction as a philosophical problem is not new either. See John Leslie, The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Extinction (New York: Routledge, 1996).
Mats Anderson et. al., “Global Challenges Annual Report Ambassador’s Preface,” in Global Catastrophic Risks 2017, ed. Nick Bostrom and Milan Ćirković (Stockholm: Global Challenges Foundation, 2017), 10. This sense of temporality as intertwined with a “tipping point” in the coming decades is also central to the environmental thought and action needed to grapple with the impacts of global warming and ecological distress caused in the Anthropocene. Will Steffen, Paul Crutzen, and John R. MacNeil, “The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature?,” Ambio 36, no. 8 (December 2007): 620.
Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016), 35.
Other notable work in the field of existential risk includes Max Tegmark, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (New York: Vintage, 2017); Sam Harris, Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity (New York: Ecco, 2020); Seth D. Baum and Bruce E. Tonn, eds., “Special Issue on Confronting Future Catastrophic Threats to Humanity,” Futures 72 (September 2015): 1–96. Thomas Moynihan provides an insightful intellectual history of existential risk in X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction (Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2020).
Nick Bostrom, “Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards,” Journal of Evolution and Technology 9, no. 1 (2002): 2. Note that all essays by Bostrom cited here are taken from his website nickbostrom.com. Bostrom has helpfully offered open access to his work. For many of these essays, the pdfs supplied do not correspond in page numbers to the original publications. We cite the page numbers from the essays as presented from the website because they are widely available to the public.
Nick Bostrom, “Astronomical Waste: The Opportunity Cost of Delayed Technological Development,” Utilitas 15, no. 3 (2003): 308–14.
Nick Bostrom, “Transhumanism—An Idea Whose Time Has Come,” in Doctor Tandy’s First Guide to Life Extension and Transhumanity (Palo Alto: Ria University Press, 2001). For critical studies of the social history and conceptual basis of transhumanism, see Abou Farman, On Not Dying: Secular Immortality in the Age of Technoscience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020); Andrew Pilsch, Transhumanism: Evolutionary Futurism and the Human Technologies of Utopia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).
Bostrom, “Existential Risks,” 1. For The Future of Humanity Institute, see https://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/. The institute’s website hosts a helpful collection of publications in the field of existential risk.
For the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, see https://www.cser.ac.uk/. For a survey of institutional trends, see Seán Ó Héigeartaigh, “The State of Research in Existential Risk,” First International Colloquium on Catastrophic and Existential Risk, ed. B. John Garrick (B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences, 2017), 37–52.
Slavoj Žižek, “Don’t Fall in Love with Yourselves,” in Occupy! Scenes from an Occupied America, ed. Astra Taylor, Keith Cessen, and editors from N+1 (London: Verso, 2011), 69.
Deborah Bird Rose, Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011); Claire Colebrook, Death of the PostHuman: Essays on Extinction, vol. 1 (Open Humanities Press, 2015); Ursula Heise, Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016); Thom van Dooren, Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014); Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren, and Matthew Chrulew, eds., Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017); Audra Mitchell, “Beyond Biodiversity and Species: Problematizing Extinction,” Theory, Culture and Society 33, no. 5 (2016): 23–24; Ashley Dawson, Extinction: A Radical History (New York: OR Books, 2016); Richard Grusin, ed., After Extinction (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018); Susan McHugh, Love in a Time of Slaughters: Human-Animal Stories against Genocide and Extinction (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2019). See also the special issue “Writing Extinction,” Oxford Literary Review 41, no. 1 (2019), ed. Sarah Wood.
Matthew Chrulew and Rick De Vos, “Extinction: Stories of Unraveling and Reworlding,” Cultural Studies Review 25, no. 1 (2019): 23.
Molly Wallace, Risk Criticism: Precautionary Reading in an Age of Environmental Uncertainty (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016), 18–20. The term “risk” in existential risk is largely taken from risk analysis methods in economics, social health, and game theory. The use of the term in the humanities owes some debt to Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, trans. Mark Ritter (London: Sage, 1992).
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, “On Hypo-Real Models or Global Climate Change: A Challenge for the Humanities,” Critical Inquiry 41, no. 3 (Spring 2015): 678. Frédéric Neyrat argues that capitalism in the time of existential risk has created “clairvoyance societies” that “take the future as their point of application: to predict the future in order to avoid it.” Atopias: Manifesto for a Radical Existentialism (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017), 15.
G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 10.
Dominic Pettman, Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 5.
Many use the term “posthuman” for this animal–human–machine complex. See Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman (New York: Polity, 2013). We do not use the term posthuman in the way Braidotti does (though we largely agree with her work); for the sake of being consistent with Bostrom, we adopt his use of posthumanity as synonymous with transhumanity.
Elizabeth Ammons and Modhumita Roy, “Introduction,” Sharing the Earth: An International Environmental Justice Reader (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015), 2.
David Roden argues that different iterations of humanism, posthumanism, and transhumanism correspond to different physical and metaphysical “possibility spaces” (53). The human possibility space is not the same as the posthuman possibility space, and while there would be much overlap, some posthumans would experience and know things that humans could never understand, and presumably vice versa. David Roden, Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human (New York: Routledge, 2015).
Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Penguin, 2006), 279. Arendt’s reflections are influenced by Kant’s statement in “Perpetual Peace” that everyone has the “right to the earth’s surface which the human race shares in common.” Immanuel Kant, Political Writings, 2nd ed., trans. H. B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 106.
N. Katherine Hayles, “Novel Corona: Posthuman Virus,” Critical Inquiry (blog), April 17, 2020, https://critinq.wordpress.com/2020/04/17/novel-corona-posthuman-virus/.
Rose, Wild Dog Dreaming, 44.
Stacy Alaimo, Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016), 5.
Cary Wolfe, What Is Posthumanism? (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009); Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Anti-Black World (New York: New York University Press, 2020).
Nick Bostrom, “In Defense of Posthuman Dignity,” Bioethics 19, no. 3 (2005): 205.
Marisol de la Cadena and Mario Blaser, “Introduction: Pluriverse, Proposals for a World of Many Worlds,” in A World of Many Worlds, ed. Marisol de la Cadena and Mario Blaser (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press), 4.
1. Endgame Philosophy
Bostrom, “Existential Risk,” 1. Cited hereafter as ER.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1973), 458.
Nick Bostrom, “Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority,” Global Policy 4, no. 1 (2013): 26.
Kyle Powys Whyte, “Indigenous Science (Fiction) for the Anthropocene: Ancestral Dystopias and Fantasies of Climate Change Crisis,” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 1, nos. 1–2 (2018): 226.
Alaimo, Exposed, 153.
Nick Bostrom and Milan M. Ćirković, eds., Global Catastrophic Risks (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Bostrom, “Existential Risk Prevention,” 17.
Phil Torres, “Facing Disaster: The Great Challenges Framework,” Foresight 21, no. 1 (2019): 5.
Toby Ord, The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity (New York: Hachette, 2020), 70.
Several proponents of transhumanism have welcomed this religious eschatological alignment. See Calvin Mercer and Tracy Trothen, eds., Religion and Transhumanism: The Unknown Future of Human Enhancement (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2014).
See Erik Davis, Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 2015). This is also Jason Lanier’s point in his take on the issue of AI as destroying or saving humanity: “This is not an honest conversation. . . . People think it is about technology, but it is really about religion, people turning to metaphysics to cope with the human condition.” Raffi Khatchadourian, “The Doomsday Invention,” New Yorker, November 23, 2015, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/23/doomsday-invention-artificial-intelligence-nick-bostrom.
Nicole Shukin points out that these terms describe conditions of extreme violence and mass suffering, but here are used in a conspicuous display of nonchalance. Shukin adds that Bostrom’s “politics of affect” and dispassionate prose cultivates an unsentimental, hardened, and abstracted attitude toward existential risk. Nicole Shukin, “Prospecting Future Ruins: On the Speculative Character of Existential Risk,” paper presented at Wrack Zone: Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada conference, University of Victoria, June 23, 2018.
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Random House, 2007).
Theodor Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity, trans. Knut Tarnowski and Frederic Will (London: Routledge, 2007), 53.
Bostrom, “Existential Risk Prevention,” 18.
Nick Bostrom, “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?,” Philosophical Quarterly 53, no. 211 (2003): 243–55.
For a further discussion of the problems of incoherence regarding definitions of extinction in vitalist and eliminative materialist views of life, see Joshua Schuster, “Life after Extinction,” Parrhesia 27 (2017): 88–115.
Kathryn Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018), 19.
Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013).
Winona LaDuke, All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 1999), 1.
Phil Torres, Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing: An Introduction to Existential Risks (Durham, N.C.: Pitchstone, 2017), 95.
See Beck, Risk Society; Niklas Luhmann, Risk: A Sociological Perspective, trans. Rhodes Barrett (New York: Routledge, 2017).
Wallace, Risk Criticism, 66-67.
Nick Bostrom, “The Future of Humanity,” in New Waves in Philosophy of Technology, ed. Jan-Kyrre Berg Olsen, Evan Selinger, and Søren Riis (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2009).
2. Probability and Speculation
N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); John Johnston, The Allure of Machinic Life (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008); Ruha Benjamin, Race after Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Malden, Mass.: Polity, 2019).
Classical probability models that would address the odds, for example, of rolling a six with dice cannot be used to study existential risk. Most often, the probability models used are conditional or Bayesian, though as we argue below, this is often unstated or fuzzy, at least for the nonexpert. Conditional probability is the probability of A given that condition B has already happened. Bayesian probability is defined below. See Ian Hacking, Introduction to Probability and Induction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); and for the history of probability theory, Ian Hacking, The Taming of Chance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975).
Michael Madsen, dir., Into Eternity (Copenhagen: Films Transit International, 2010).
Mark McGurl, “The Posthuman Comedy,” Critical Inquiry 38, no. 3 (2012): 533–53.
Anders Sandberg, Stuart Armstrong, and Milan Ćirković, “That Is Not Dead Which Can Eternal Lie: The Aestivation Hypothesis for Resolving Fermi’s Paradox,” (self-published, May 10, 2017), https://arxiv.org/pdf/1705.03394.pdf.
Khatchadourian, “Doomsday Invention.”
Dylan Matthews, “I Spent a Weekend at Google Talking to Nerds about Charity. I Came Away . . . Worried,” Vox, August 10, 2015, https://www.vox.com/2015/8/10/9124145/effective-altruism-global-ai.
Torres, Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing, 41.
Matthews, “I Spent a Weekend at Google.”
Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 103.
Hacking, Introduction to Probability, 171.
Ord, Precipice, 168.
In short, it’s not Bayesian if you don’t know if E is true. At best, if you want to be sympathetic, you could assume E is true and then reason like a Bayesian. Hacking’s remarks on Bayesian probability and the examples he gives in An Introduction to Probability and Inductive Logic are in agreement with this perspective about “E.”
Ord, Precipice, 169.
See, for example, the equations offered in Toby Ord’s appendix “The Value of Protecting Humanity” in The Precipice.
Bostrom, Superintelligence, 36.
Rees, foreword to Torres, Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing, 15.
Jill Lepore, “The Atomic Origins of Climate Science,” New Yorker, January 30, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/the-atomic-origins-of-climate-science.
Bostrom and Ćirković, Global Catastrophic Risks, 6.
Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 239, 229.
Hacking, Taming of Chance.
Khatchadourian, “Doomsday Invention.”
See, for example, Lynn Badia and Jeff Diamanti, eds., Climate Realism: The Aesthetics of Weather, Climate, and Atmosphere (forthcoming); Lindsay Thomas, “Forms of Duration: Preparedness, The Mars Trilogy, and the Management of Climate Change,” American Literature 88, no. 1 (2016): 159–84; Kara Keeling, Queer Times, Black Futures (New York: NYU Press, 2019).
James D. Faubion, “On Para-biopolitical Reason,” Anthropological Theory 19, no. 2 (2019): 219–37.
R. John Williams, “World Futures,” Critical Inquiry 42, no. 3 (Spring 2016): 473; emphasis added.
Eva Horn, The Future as Catastrophe: Imagining Disaster in the Modern Age, trans. Valentine Pakis (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018), 8.
Williams, “World Futures,” 473.
Ord, Precipice, 195, emphasis added.
Brassier, Nihil Unbound, 238.
Thanks to historian of math Michael P. Barany for this suggestion.
Blaise Pascal, Pensées, trans. W. F. Trotter (London: Dent, 1910), section 23.
Nick Bostrom, “Pascal’s Mugging,” Analysis 69, no. 3 (2009): 443–45.
Sir Martin Rees, foreword to Torres, Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing, 15.
Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), 453.
See Will Steffen et al., “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene,” Proceedings of the North American Academy of Sciences 115, no. 33 (2018): 8252–59.
Alicia Juarrero, “What Does the Closure of Context-Sensitive Constraints Mean for Determinism, Autonomy, Self-Determination, and Agency?” Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 119, no. 3 (2015): 510; emphasis added. See also Stuart Kauffman, Humanity in a Creative Universe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).
Bostrom and Ćirković, Global Catastrophic Risks, 6.
Juarrero, “What Does the Closure of Context-Sensitive Constraints Mean?,” 510.
Hannes Bergthaller, “Cli-Fi and Petrofiction: Questioning Genre in the Anthropocene,” Amerikastudien 62, no. 1 (2017): 123.
Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake in ‘In Context,’” PMLA, 119, no. 3 (2004): 513.
Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood,” Guardian, August 29, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/aug/29/margaret-atwood-year-of-flood.
Rees, foreword to Torres, Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing, 15.
Khatchadourian, “Doomsday Invention.”
Horn, Future as Catastrophe, 10.
Ursula K. Heise, “Science Fiction and the Time Scales of the Anthropocene,” English Literary History 86, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 282.
Thomas Rowe and Simon Beard, “Probabilities, Methodologies and the Evidence Base in Existential Risk Assessments,” working paper, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (2018): 2, https://philpapers.org/rec/ROWPMA-6.
See Dennis Danielson, The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking (New York: Basic Books, 2000).
3. The Existential Roots of Existential Risk
See Tom Regan’s notion of animals as “subjects-of-a-life” in The Case for Animal Rights (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), Cary Wolfe’s account of animal Dasein and biopolitics in Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), and Michael Marder’s theory of plant phenomenology in Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013).
Hannah Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?,” in Essays in Understanding: 1930–1954, ed. Jerome Kohn (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994), 167.
Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, trans. David F. Swenson and Walter Lowrie (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1968), 115.
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity, trans. Bernard Frechtman (New York: Philosophical Library, 2015), 8.
Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, trans. E. B. Ashton (New York: Continuum, 1995), 360.
Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling and The Sickness unto Death, trans. Walter Lowrie (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1968), 30.
Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense,” Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the Early 1870’s, trans. Daniel Breazeale (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1990), 79.
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. Joan Stambaugh (New York: SUNY Press, 1996), 171.
For an Indigenous environmental philosophy of care see Brian Burkhart, Indigenizing Philosophy through the Land: A Trickster Methodology for Decolonizing Environmental Ethics and Indigenous Futures (East Lansing: University of Michigan, 2019).
Michel Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended”: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975–76, trans. David Macey (New York: Picador, 2003), 246–47.
María Puig de la Bellacasa, Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), 1.
Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu, “Getting Moral Enhancement Right: The Desirability of Moral Bioenhancement,” Bioethics 27, no. 3 (2011): 124–31.
See Nick Bostrom, “The Vulnerable World Hypothesis,” Global Policy 10, no. 4 (November 2009): 455–76.
Nick Bostrom, “Why I Want to Be a Posthuman When I Grow Up,” in Medical Enhancement and Posthumanity, ed. Bert Gordijn and Ruth Chadwick (N.p.: Springer, 2008): 107–37.
Bostrom, “Existential Risk Prevention,” 25.
Bostrom, “In Defense of Posthuman Dignity,” 203.
Anders Sandberg, “Transhumanism and the Meaning of Life,” in Mercer and Trothen, Religion and Transhumanism, 4.
Peter Gordon, Adorno and Existence (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016), 149.
Emmanuel Lévinas, From Existence to Existents, trans. Alphonso Lingis (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1978), 20.
See John Horgan, The End of Science (New York: Broadway Books, 1996), and Stuart Kauffman, Humanity in a Creative Universe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).
Hubert Dreyfus, What Computers Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1972).
See Nick Dyer-Witheford, Atle Mikkola Kjøsen, and James Steinhof, Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism (London: Pluto Press, 2019).
Bostrom, Superintelligence, 4.
Claire Colebrook, “Lives Worth Living: Extinction, Persons, Disability,” in After Extinction, ed. Richard Grusin (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018), 168.
Sylvia Wynter, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation—An Argument,” CR: The New Centennial Review 3, no. 3 (Fall 2003): 323.
See Claire Colebrook and Jami Weinstein, “Preface: Postscript on the Posthuman,” in Posthumous Life: Theorizing beyond the Posthuman, ed. Colebrook and Weinstein (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), 1–16.
Ray Brassier, “Prometheanism and Its Critics,” in #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, ed. Robin Mackay and Armen Avanessian (Falmouth, UK: Urbanomic, 2014), 477. For a critique of the radical Left techno-politics of accelerationism, see Benjamin Noys, Malign Velocity: Accelerationism and Capitalism (Alresford, UK: Zero Books, 2014). For “middle-ground” between the two positions, see Steven Shaviro, No Speed Limit: Three Essays on Accelerationism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015).
Brassier, Nihil Unbound, ch. 6.
Brassier, “Prometheanism,” 476.
Jean-François Lyotard, The Inhuman: Reflections on Time, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), 11.
Brassier, Nihil Unbound, 228.
See, for example, P. J. Steinhardt and N. Turok, “A Cyclic Model of the Universe,” Science 296, no. 5572 (2002): 1436–39.
Bjørn Ekeberg, Metaphysical Experiments: Physics and the Invention of the Universe (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019); Bjørn Ekeberg, “Cosmology Has Some Big Problems,” Scientific American, April 30, 2019, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/cosmology-has-some-big-problems/.
Brassier, Nihil Unbound, 203.
To be fair, much of the popularized controversy about cosmic inflation is more recent than Brassier’s book, if not the specialist publications.
Hans Jonas, The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2001), xxiii.
Hans Jonas, The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984). Bostrom briefly cites Jonas in the essay “In Defense of Posthuman Dignity” but dismisses Jonas’s work as committed to “bioconservatism” (211).
Rose, Wild Dog Dreaming, 44.
Frédéric Neyrat, The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation (New York: Fordham University Press, 2019), 171.
Bostrom, “Why I Want to Be a Posthuman,” 16.
Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (London: Zero Books, 2009). The question remains where to place communism in this semiotic square: if communism is understood as synthesis, it could be placed right in the middle of the X. If communism is considered to maintain an unreconciled and ever-unfulfilled dialectic, it would be between Utopian Utopianism and Non-Utopian Utopianism.
Nick Bostrom, “Letter from Utopia,” Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology 2, no. 1 (2008): 9. Cited hereafter as LU.
Blade Runner’s posthumans would still be existential failures to Bostrom as they have not overcome their own finitude. Ridley Scott, dir., Blade Runner (Warner Brothers, 1982).
Thierry Bardini, Junkware (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 145.
Herbert Marcuse, Negations: Essays in Critical Theory, trans. Jeremy J. Shapiro (London: Mayfly, 2009), 61. Leo Bersani, The Culture of Redemption (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990).