Transhumanist Imagination

transhumanist imagination

Steve Hoffman

TITLE

Emeritus Professor in the School of Life Sciences

DEPARTMENT

School of Life Sciences

EMAIL

stevehoffman@asu.edu

BIO

Dr. Hoffman integrates science and philosophy.  His laboratory scientific research focused on psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), i.e., the interactions and relations between the immune system, central nervous system (CNS) and mind. This research included biomedical research on how the immune system can mediate neurologic and psychiatric disorders (Hoffman & Sakic, 2009), with our primary focus on CNS lupus, but we also investigated the neuroimmunological circuitry (viz., interconnections between the brain and immune system), as well as the interplay between psychosocial factors and immune system functioning.

He also looks at how philosophy and immunology relate to one another, i.e., “ImmunoPhilosophy.”  It is not the attempt to immunize ourselves against the philosophical diseases, but rather to understand how these two disciplines can be integrated.  Does immunology have anything to contribute to philosophy and can philosophy contribute to immunology.  These investigations take us into the history and philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, bioethics and the like. This research builds upon some of the research we have done in our laboratory. One such topic focuses on psychoneuroimmunology and the mind-brain relation. What are the theoretical foundations of PNI? Do they favor one theory of the mind-brain relation over another (e.g., dualistic interactionism vs. materialist identity theory vs. functionalism)?  Immunology has been called the science of self/non-self discrimination.  How can the immune system protect us from pathogenic infections, without destroying the self?  What is this “self” and how is it related to philosophic accounts (Hoffman, 2012) and problems of self (personal identity)?  What are the implications of immunology and psychoneuroimmunology for transhumanism (Hoffman, 2011), the view that we should use biotechnology to transform the human into the super- or post-human?  These are some of the topics and issues being investigated.