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The Machine in the Ghost: Transhumanism and the Ontology of Information

Burdett, Michael; Leung, King Ho

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King Ho Leung


An ontology of information belies our common intuitions about reality today and animates and governs both explicit scholarly study in philosophy and the sciences as well as the ideologies that are growing out of them. Transhumanism is one such technoscientific ideology that holds to a very specific ontology of information which need not be the only one on offer. This article argues that the transhumanist ontology of information exhibits gnostic and docetic religious overtones in it and that it devalues physical existence. At the same time, despite claiming a rejection of supernature, hypothetical transhumanist practices (such as mind-uploading) posit the infosphere as a kind of supernatural realm that is often set in opposition to the natural world. This article presents a critique of transhumanist conceptions of information and offers an alternative ontology of information that more adequately accounts for the distinction between the natural and supernatural as well as the integrity of the physical world.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 26, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2023
Publication Date Mar 22, 2023
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 23, 2025
Journal Zygon
Print ISSN 0591-2385
Electronic ISSN 1467-9744
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Issue 3
Pages 714-731
Keywords information; ontology; transhumanism; Luciano Floridi; mind-uploading; extended mind; Thomas Aquinas; supernatural; naturalism
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Additional Information Published: 2023-03-22


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