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Oct 24, 2023

The Ancient Roots of Transhumanist Thinking

Lenn Goodman

Lenn E. Goodman

Vanderbilt University

Lenn E. Goodman is professor of philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University.

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Esmé L. K. Partridge

Esmé L. K. Partridge is an MPhil student in the Philosophy of Religion at Clare College, University of Cambridge.

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The Ancient Roots of Transhumanist Thinking

Lenn E. Goodman, an expert on Jewish and Islamic metaphysics, joins Esme Partridge to discuss the philosophical heritage of AI—which he locates in the medieval and renaissance study of alchemy—and the implications of our rapid embrace of AI.

One of the great contributions of Avicenna is he thought that there was a difficulty in the notion that what individuates persons—or anything really—is their embodiment, in other words, the idea that you and I are different because we inhabit different bodies. Avicenna contributes the idea that it’s not just embodiment, it’s self-awareness [that makes each of us unique].

—Lenn E. Goodman


“Alchemy, Mythology, and Artificial Intelligence,” Lenn E. Goodman, Renovatio

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