Eighty years ago, Nicholas Berdyaev cautioned that new technological problems needed to be addressed with a new philosophical anthropology. Today, the transhumanist goal of mind uploading is perceived by many theologians and philosophers to be dangerous due to its violation of the human person. I contrast transhumanist “patternist” views of the person with Brent Waters’s Augustinian view of the technological pilgrim, Celia Deane-Drummond’s evolutionary Thomistic view of humanity, and Francis Fukuyama’s insistence on the inviolability of “Factor X”. These latter three thinkers all disagree with the patternist position, but their views are also discordant with each other. This disagreement constitutes a challenge for people of faith confronting transhumanism—which view is to be taken right? I contend that Science, Technology and Society (STS) studies can enrich our understanding of the debates by highlighting the transmutation of philosophical view into scientific theory and the intermingled nature of our forms of knowledge. Furthermore, I contend that STS helps Christians understand the evolution of their own anthropologies and suggests some prospects for future theological anthropology.
- consciousness uploading
- Technology and Society studies (STS)
- theological anthropology
- philosophical anthropology