Steve Fuller

c:o/re Senior Fellow 10/21-09/22

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller holds the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick, England, where he is the founder of the research program of social epistemology. In his most recent work, he has been concerned with the future of humanity, or ‘Humanity 2.0’. He was awarded a D. Litt. by Warwick in 2007, for significant career-long contributions to scholarship. He is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute, the leading ‘ecomodernist’ think-tank, and Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Major areas of research are the future of the university and critical intellectuals, the emergence of intellectual property in the information society, interdisciplinary challenges in the natural and social sciences, and the political and epistemological consequences of the new biology.

Humboldt 2.0: Reinventing the University in the Twenty-First Century 

My interest has been always interdisciplinary and increasingly centered on the university as a distinctive site of knowledge production. Key to my understanding of the university has been its role as a ‘creative destroyer of social capital’. I associate this unique function of universities with the classic Humboldtian ‘unity of teaching and research’ conception of the academic mission. But can — and if so, how — that strategy be reproduced in the c21, given the following factors: (1) the decline of the nation-state; (2) the rise of identity politics; (3) the rise of intellectual property. The question that my book proposes to address is what it would mean to reproduce the success story of the Humboldtian project, given those rather ‘un-Humboldtian’ onditions. I shall develop the concept of ‘deviant interdisciplinary’: an interdisciplinary activity that aims not to simply combine disciplines in temporary arrangements but rather to deconstruct and reconstruct the intellectual space in which disciplines are arranged. 

Homo Futura: Its History and Philosophy 

Transhumanism and posthumanism intend to take a radical step away from ‘humanism’, understood as the dominant ideology of secular modernity that makes ‘man the measure of all things’. A subtle but crucial metaphysical difference between the two positions is that transhumanists see ‘humanity’ as unique in its ‘morphological freedom’, a term coined by Max More. However, of more immediate concern is not which side is correct but how to forge a common culture in which both transhumanists and posthumanists can constructively debate their differences with regard to matters of public policy. In particular, the two sides have radically different attitudes toward risk, with transhumanists tending to see opportunities where posthumanists see threats. Whereas posthumanism is, so to speak, ‘geocentric’, transhumanism takes the entire cosmos as being within its reach. My book aims to provide a deep background to this emerging fissure in humanity’s collective self-understanding. 

Publications (Selection) 

Fuller, S. (2021) The Mind-Technology Problem. Postdigital Science and Education, Springer.

Fuller, S. (2019)  Philosophy of Science and Its Discontents. Routledge. First Edition 1989.

Fuller, S. (2004) Philosophy, Rhetoric and the End of Knowledge: The Coming of Science and Technology Studies. Second edition, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, with James H. Collier. New subtitle: A New Beginning for Science and Technology Studies.

Fuller, S. (2002) Social Epistemology. Bloomington/ Indianapolis: Indiana University Press (1988). Second edition, with new introduction.