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Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Books, Personal | 4 comments

Books, books, books in progress!

This post is mainly an update on the latest progress with the two books that I currently have under contract. 50 Great Myths About Atheism (which I have written with Udo Schuklenk) has now been through copyediting [edit: oops, not exactly right; see here], which means we’ll probably see proofs for correction and indexing not too far down the track. The pipeline can take a while, but the book is still planned for publication by Wiley-Blackwell in September 2013. I’ll be making more announcements about the volume’s content, etc., as the date gets closer.

The other book that I’m slaving away at is Humanity Enhanced, a book about policy in respect of human cloning, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, genetic engineering of human embryos, and similar technologies that offer (or threaten, if you want to look at it that way) the prospect of genetic choices. I’m scrutinising a number of the more plausible (as I see them) arguments for severe restrictions or prohibitions of these technologies, and explaining why I think the arguments generally fail. Earlier tonight, I just might have completed the final draft, prior to submission, though I’ll need to check the latest revisions again tomorrow. Oh, and even if this is the final substantive draft I’ll still have a few days of work to make sure all the right format, etc., is adopted. Still, I expect to have it off to the publisher, MIT Press, by the end of January. At this stage I can’t announce a publication date.

I have some other big projects that I’ve been working on, and I am, of course, hoping they come to fruition. If they do, there will be big announcements right here at The Hellfire Club. With any luck, this will be sooner rather than later.

Finally, it’s now a year since the publication of Freedom of Religion and the Secular State – still an up-to-date and in-depth view of secularism and what lies behind it, developing a consistent philosophical position and dealing with all the hot-button issues. I’m not going to compare it to the recent books on similar topics by Martha Nussbaum and Brian Leiter (though I’ve had a bit to say about Leiter’s book elsewhere and will have more to say about it, and I’ve reviewed Nussbaum’s book for The Philosophers’ Magazine). Suffice to say that there are some high-powered people writing about all this at the moment, and I hope my readers will take an interest in issues to do with secularism and what religious freedom really amounts to (possibly even buying my book in preference to or in addition those by Nussbaum, Leiter, and others). If there’s one thing you can do to help this blog, it’s to give some support to the associated books.

  • Colin Gavaghan

    Russell, I’m never quite sure if your preternaturally prolific output is primarily a source of inspiration or demoralisation to the rest of us. Either way, I look forward to reading all of these.

  • RussellBlackford

    Thanks, Colin. I think what you’re actually seeing is the culmination of all my years of NOT being as productive as I’d like, while doing ridiculous amounts of study and plain old thinking about the issues. Fortunately, I’ve managed to live long enough to turn that into a burst of productivity (touch wood!).

  • MosesZD

    Are you going to get into transhumanism? Or just the issues surrounding it you mentioned above?

  • RussellBlackford

    There’s no discussion of transhumanism as such (e.g. of the transhumanist movement). It’s really about the mainstream philosophical/ethical/legal arguments, and more about political and legal philosophy than straight moral philosophy. But there will certainly be references to particular authors who are associated with transhumanism – Nick Bostrom, James Hughes, etc.
    There’s a huge collection of transhumanist writings coming out soon, edited by Max More and Natasha Vita-More. You like to look out for this. It contains an article by me which is very much about transhumanism and its central ideas.