CFI Institute Online - "Transhumanism" - May '12

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - Thursday, May 31, 2012

Location: Online Seminar

SEC 238-0512)
May 1 – May 31, 2012

Instructor: George Dvorsky, bioethicist, futurist, and Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
Instructor: John Shook, PhD, CFI director of education and AHA education coordinator

This one-month, four-module seminar will provide an introductory survey of Transhumanism, a forward-looking philosophy and ethics that advocates technological improvements to fulfill hopes for better living.

Seminar Fee: $70 for general registration; $60 for Friends of the Center; $30 for students (valid .edu email required)

 Click here to register now!


Course Objectives:

This four week, four-module short course, running from May 1 to May 31, introduces the philosophy and socio-cultural movement that is Transhumanism. We will survey its core ideas, history, technological requirements, potential manifestations, and ethical implications. Topics to be discussed include: the various ways humans have tried to enhance themselves throughout history; the political and social aspects of Transhumanism; the technologies required to enhance humans (including cybernetics, pharmaceuticals, genetics, and nanotechnology); and the various ways humans may choose to use these technologies to modify and augment their capacities (including radical life extension, intelligence augmentation, and mind uploading). Along the way we will discuss social and ethical problems that might be posed by human enhancement.


Students will have access to the primary readings inside our online course software, along with supplemental texts and audio/visual materials, all available online at no extra cost.

Your Instructors:

george.jpgGeorge Dvorsky, Canadian futurist and ethicist, has written and spoken extensively about the impacts of cutting-edge science and technology—particularly as they pertain to the improvement of human performance and experience. He is the Chairman of the Board at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and is the program director for the Rights of Non-Human Persons program. Dvorsky blogs at


shookpicture.jpgJohn Shook, PhD, is Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry and Education Coordinator for the American Humanist Association. He also serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Science Education at the University at Buffalo, teaching for the joint CFI-UB Science and the Public online masters program. From 2000 to 2006 John was professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University. Shook publishes on philosophical topics regarding science, the mind, humanist ethics, democracy, secularism, and religion. His most recent books are The God Debatesand as editor, The Essential William James. John blogs at It's Only Natural.


About CFI Institute Online courses:

CFI 200-level courses are taught at an intellectual level equivalent to an introductory college course. We expect students to participate in the class discussion at their own chosen pace, and there are no other writing requirements and no grading. These classes are entirely online — everything for the course except the book is provided on a CFI website. You will read the course lectures, follow links to other webpages, ask your questions, and participate in class discussion with the instructors and other students on our website.

There is no specific time that you must be online. There is no "live" part to these courses, and you cannot miss anything even if you can only get online at 6am or 11pm — you can log in and participate anytime, day or night, 24/7. A certificate of course completion is available to students who do participate online (as opposed to only lurking and reading, which is also an unobjectionable option for some students). Completion of eight courses at the Expertise 200-level is rewarded with the Institute's Certificate of Expertise.

Online courses are now jointly advertised by the Center for Inquiry and the American Humanist Association, and both organizations encourage their members/affiliates to consider taking them. Online courses are the most visible sign that CFI and the AHA have entered a cooperative relationship on some educational programming. That cooperation is facilitated by Dr. John Shook, who now serves as education coordinator for both CFI and AHA.

Course Fees: $70 for general registration; $60 for Friends of the Center; $30 for students (valid educational institution email address required.)

 Ready to sign up? Register online here.


Explore our other educational opportunities at the CFI Education page
Questions? Email a CFI Institute representative
or phone (716) 636-4869 ext. 408.

We're sorry, the deadline for registering for this event has passed.