Should We Die?

Thanks to Olga Khazan for interviewing me for her feature on radical longevity.

She writes: Life-extensionists’ zeal for perfect cells does, to some, sound like an invective against uniqueness. That’s what Melinda Hall, a philosophy professor at Stetson University and author of a recent book about transhumanism, takes issue with. “People with disability are saying, ‘this is a primary part of my identity,’” she told me, “so when you’re saying you want to get rid of disability, it sounds genocidal.”

Istvan dismisses disability-rights advocates as a fringe minority, saying “I would bet my arm that the great majority of disabled people will be very happy when transhumanist technology gives them the opportunity to fulfill their potential.” (Betting your arm is, of course, no biggie when you can just get a bionic one.)

In general, Hall said, the transhumanists have the wrong idea about the problems facing humanity. “People are going to be starving and dying, but we’re going to build a colony on Mars?” she said, “That’s going to cost billions of dollars, and I think that should be spent somewhere else.”

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Pipeline to Stetson Law School

A belated announcement of a very exciting achievement for Stetson University Honors students. Last semester, as co-directors of the Honors program, Michael Denner and I created an agreement with Stetson Law School that allows direct admission for Honors students.

Check out the details in this Stetson Today report.

In combination with our admissions agreement with Daytona State College Quanta Honors Program, we are creating a pipeline from AA to JD for community college students! This is a social justice and access issue that I am very proud to be working on directly in concrete ways that ease the financial burden of education for those who need it most.

Book Panels 2017

I’m very glad to announce that there will be two panels this year on my recently-released book, The Bioethics of Enhancement (Lexington Books, 2016). Thanks to Shelley Tremain for organizing the panels, and to my colleagues for their willingness to respond to my work! I’m grateful for this opportunity to share my ideas.

The first book panel is hosted by PhiloSOPHIA in Boca Raton, FL  and the second book panel is hosted by the Canadian Philosophical Association in Toronto, ON.

See more details below!

March 30-April 2, 2017: Author Meets Critics: Melinda Hall, The Bioethics of Enhancement: Transhumanism, Disability, and Biopolitics, PhiloSOPHIA: Society for Continental Feminism, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

May 28-30, 2017: Author Meets Critics: Melinda Hall, The Bioethics of Enhancement: Transhumanism, Disability, and Biopolitics, Canadian Philosophical Association, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON

Workshop on Adult and Asynchronous Learning

Today I am attending a workshop on adult and asynchronous learning. I’m preparing a course to be taken primarily online by adult learners in late 2017.

I’m looking for information about how adult learners with disabilities fare in programs like this and how to prepare to serve disabled students in this context. So far, I’ve ordered and used this book:

Norman Coombs: Making Online Teaching Accessible

If anyone has any related literature or information, please contact me at mchall@stetson.edu; please also contact me if you want to discuss these or related matters!

I’ve already received some great additional resources from other faculty at Stetson University, including the below:

udl-online-resource

The Accessible Syllabus Project at Tulane

UDL-Universe: A Comprehensive Universal Design for Learning Faculty Development Guide

Fixing the Leaky Pipeline

I’m proud of the work I’ve done in the past year as co-director of the Stetson University Honors Program, along with my colleague Dr. Michael Denner.

We’ve established a transfer articulation agreement with Daytona State College’s Quanta Honors Program in collaboration with head Dr. Maggie Karda. It’s innovative because it’s a program-to-program agreement, and the tight relationship we’ve built with the head of the Quanta Honors Program allows us to solve problems that are normally intractable — credit transfers, advising prior to enrollment, and a real, personal knowledge among cooperating authors of the agreement of the curriculum at the partner institution.

We are moving AA students into BAs, and improving retention to completion.

Read all about it here.