Back in July I was lucky enough to be  in Oxford the Interdisciplinary.net (small scale) conference, entitled Visions of Humanity.

The paper was entitled: The Mind/Body problem in Science Fiction: Charles Stross and Richard Morgan in Philosophical Review

Abstract: The works of Charles Stross and Richard Morgan make frequent mention of the brain being the seat of the person, and are awash with technologies which map, upload and transmit minds, by scanning brains therefore, people. The science fiction of Charles Stross as encapsulated in ‘Accelerando’, and to a different degree ‘Glasshouse’ evoke futures and societies that come to grips with a person who can be mapped and uploaded into a virtuality, specifically relying upon the brain of the individual. Stross does not stop at the upload or the idea that the status quo of humanity will continue, he posits futures in which humanity is different from the one we currently know. It is Stross’s speculative work which allows discussion and argument for what it means to be human. One of the major ways fiction contributes to humanity’s endeavours.Richard Morgan takes a different tack, through his collection of Takeshi Kovacs novels, in which humans can be uploaded and then beamed to other planets because to physically move is too slow or not possible. People are downloaded into bodies, but not their own, unless they have serious wealth. These two simple conceits allow Morgan to open up a large range of ideas surrounding who humanity is, what it thinks it is. Both Stross and Morgan offer futures and novels which should be given closer critical and philosophical reflection.

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