Russell Blackford – curriculum vitae

Phone: +61 2 49518035
Email: russellblackford@bigpond.com

Academic background and professional qualifications

·         BA (Hons 1) - University of Newcastle.

·         Dip.Ed. - University of Newcastle.

·         Ph.D in English literature - University of Newcastle.

·         LLB (Hons 1) - University of Melbourne.

·         MBioeth - Monash University.

·         Ph.D in philosophy – Monash University.

·         Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

 

Career

Past:

·         Tutor, Department of English, Monash University (1979-82).

·         Various positions in labour relations and professional legal practice (1983-2001).

·         Sessional teaching School of Philosophy and Bioethics, Monash University (2004-2009).

 

Currently:

·         Conjoint Lecturer, University of Newcastle

·         Freelance writer and editor.

·         Fellow, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

 

Areas of specialisation

Philosophical bioethics; legal and political philosophy; philosophy of religion; metaphysics, including philosophy of mind.

 

Areas of competence

 

Moral philosophy generally; philosophy of science; cultural representation of philosophy, science, and technology.

 

Selected academic publications

 

·         Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, forthcoming 2014.

·         50 Great Myths About Atheism. Co-authored with Udo Schüklenk. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

·         “The Great Transition: Ideas and Anxieties.” The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, ed. Max More and Natasha Vita-More. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013: 421-29.

·          “Robots and Reality: A Reply to Rob Sparrow.” Ethics and Information Technology 14 (2012): 41-51.

·         Freedom of Religion and the Secular State. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

·         “Atheists for Freedom of Speech.” The Australian Book of Atheism, ed. Warren Bonett. Melbourne: Scribe, 2010: 299-312.

·         “Moral Pluralism versus the Total View: Why Singer is wrong about Radical Life Extension.” Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (2009): 747-52.

·         50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. Co-edited with Udo Schüklenk. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

·         “Trite Truths About Technology: A Reply to Ted Peters.” The Gobal Spiral 9, 9 (February 2009). Available at URL http://www.metanexus.net/magazine/tabid/68/id/10681/Default.aspx

·         “Embracing The Unkown Future: In Defence of New Technology.” Human Futures: Art In An Age of Uncertainty, ed. Andy Miah. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press/FACT, 2008: 24-35.

·         “Rendezvous with Utopia: Two Versions of the Future in the Rama Novels.” Colloquy 14 (2007): 21-29.

·         “Slippery Slopes to Slippery Slopes: Therapeutic Cloning and the Criminal Law.” American Journal of Bioethics 7, 2 (February 2007):  63-64.

·         “Differing Vulnerabilities: The Moral Significance of Lockean Personhood.” American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB-Neuroscience) 7, (1) (January 2007): 70-71. 

·         “Sinning against Nature: The Theory of Background Conditions.” Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (2006): 629-34.

·         “Dr. Frankenstein meets Lord Devlin: Genetic Engineering and the Principle of Intangible Harm.” The Monist 89 (2006): 526-47.

·         “Stem cell research on other worlds, or why embryos do not have a right to life.” Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (2006): 177-80.

·          “Greg Egan.” A Companion to Science Fiction, ed. David Seed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005: 441-51.

·          “Human Cloning and ‘Posthuman’ Society.” Monash Bioethics Review 24 (2005): 10-26.

·         “Should We Fear Death? Epicurean and Modern Arguments.” Ed. Immortality Institute. The Scientific Conquest of Death: Essays on Infinite Lifespans. Buenos Aires: LibrosEnRed, 2004: 257-69.

·         “Try the Blue Pill: What’s Wrong with Life in a Simulation?” Jacking In to the Matrix Franchise: Cultural Reception and Interpretation. Ed. Matthew Kapell and William Doty. New York: Continuum, 2004: 169-82.

·         “Mutants, Cyborgs, AI & Androids.” Meanjin 63, 1 (2004): 14-21.

·         “Stranger Than You Think: Arthur C. Clarke’s Profiles of the Future.” Prefiguring Cyberculture: An Intellectual History, ed. Darren Tofts, Annemarie Jonson, and Alessio Cavellaro. Sydney: Power Publications, 2002; co-published Boston: MIT Press, 2003: 252-63.

·         “Thinking about Cloning: A Reply to Judith Thomson.” Journal of Law and Medicine 9 (2001): 238-50.

·         Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction. Co-authored with Van Ikin and Sean McMullen. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.

·         “Judicial Power, Political Liberty and the Post-Industrial State.” Australian Law Journal 71 (1997): 267-93.

 

Academic and other journals

 

Editor-in-chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology.

 

Referee for the following peer-reviewed journals:

 

·         American Journal of Bioethics

·         Bioethics.

·         Colloquy.

·         Journal of Medical Ethics.

·         Monash Bioethics Review.

·         NeuroEthics.

·         Open Ethics Journal.

·         Science Fiction Studies.

·         Utopian Studies.

 

In recent times I have been a frequent contributor to Free Inquiry, New Philosopher, and The Philosophers’ Magazine, as well as to the ABC’s Religion and Ethics Portal.

 

Recent research and work in progress

One strand of my research relates closely to my doctoral dissertation completed at Monash University on emerging technologies and human enhancement (this was approved in 2008, and I formally graduated in 2009). The dissertation is entitled Human Enhancement: The Challenge to Liberal Tolerance. It argues that an unnecessarily restrictive approach has been taken to the regulation of such technologies as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, human cloning, and genetic engineering.

 

I have since completed an extensively revised version, which will be published by MIT Press at the beginning of 2014, under the title Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies. I continue to work in philosophical bioethics and related areas of legal and political philosophy, particularly examining issues to do with the legal regulation of advanced biomedical technology.

 

My interest in philosophy of religion is reflected in 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, co-edited with Professor Udo Schüklenk of Queen’s University (Canada). This contains new essays by high-profile atheists (philosophers, creative writers, and others). It was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2009.

 

I followed up with Freedom of Religion and the Secular State, which examines the relationship between religion and politics, arguing for a neo-Lockean model of the role of the state. This was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2012. I continue to carry out research relating to legal and political philosophy, and particularly to secularism, liberalism, and freedom of speech.

 

Most recently, Professor Schüklenk and I have co-authored 50 Great Myths About Atheism, published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2013. It examines many misconceptions, as we see them, about atheism and atheists. This book contains extensive philosophical discussions of the relationships between religion and the domains of ethics, politics, and science. Though presented in a format intended to be accessible to a broad educated audience, it includes searching critiques of religion and orthodox theology, culminating in a detailed argument for the reasonableness of atheism. I continue to be involved in research and public debate relating to the intellectual merits of religion and its rejection.

 

Much of my current research revolves around questions and anxieties relating to the future of  humanity, including the promises and threats of advanced technology. In that regard, I am editor-in-chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology (JET), an online peer-reviewed journal published by the US-based Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. The most recent complete issue of JET is a special issue that I co-edited with Linda MacDonald Glenn, on the theme of minds and machines.

 

With Dr Damien Broderick (a distinguished Australian author and futurist, now based in San Antonio, Texas), I am currently editing Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds, which is under contract to Wiley-Blackwell and is expected to be published in late 2014. This deals with a range of issues involving machine intelligence, raising questions in philosophy of mind, philosophy of personal identity, and philosophy of technology.

 

Personal

I was born in Sydney, Australia, and grew up in the Lake Macquarie area, near Newcastle, NSW. I lived in Melbourne from 1979 until December 2009, when I returned to Newcastle.

 

In addition to my interests in philosophy and philosophical bioethics, I am a professionally published writer, and a well-known scholar and critic, in the field of science fiction and fantasy. My other interests include travel and cinema. For more information, see my personal web site: http://www.russellblackford.com.