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The philosophy of synthetic biology reading group will host Christopher Preston for a virtual talk on his 2018 book, The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World. Discussion will be lead by Eric Desjardins and Derek Oswick.

Individuals interested in attending the talk need not participate in the reading group, but will need to register to receive a link to the Zoom webinar.

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Learn more about the philosophy of synthetic biology reading group.

ABSTRACT


We will discuss the characteristics of a Synthetic Age and what distinguishes it from a ‘mere’ Anthropocene. We will also raise several obstacle on the road to a synthetic age including different aspects of social and system complexity, non-human agency, and the rebirth of the wild.

Read about The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World (MIT Press, 2018): Imagining a future in which humans fundamentally reshape the natural world using nanotechnology, synthetic biology, de-extinction, and climate engineering.

SPEAKER PROFILE


Christopher Preston seated on a bench in the snow.

Christopher Preston is a professor of philosophy at the University of Montana. He has research interests in Environmental Philosophy, the Anthropocene, Feminist Epistemology, Care Ethics, Ethics of Emerging Technologies, Wilderness and Re-wilding, Climate Engineering, and Synthetic Biology.

Born and raised in England, Christopher moved to the United States in the nineteen-nineties. With the exception of five years in South Carolina and a few months in Washington D.C., he has lived most of those years in the western states where he enjoys mountain biking, skiing, and other activities made possible by the roomy landscapes.

Much of his research connects to the idea of the Anthropocene, the epoch in which human influence on the planet is everywhere. He studies emerging Anthropocene technologies for their impact on the human-nature experience. These include climate engineering and biotechnology. He also has interests in restoration and rewilding, exploring differences between Western European and U.S. approaches to wildlife.

Learn more about Christopher Preston.


Photo by Mike van Schoonderwalt from Pexels