The machine in the ghost: transhumanism and the ontology of information

Michael Burdett, King-Ho Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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An ontology of information belies our common intuitions about reality today and animates and governs both explicit scholarly study in philosophy and the sciences as well as the ideologies that are growing out of them. Transhumanism is one such technoscientific ideology that holds to a very specific ontology of information which need not be the only one on offer. This article argues that the transhumanist ontology of information exhibits gnostic and docetic religious overtones in it and that it devalues physical existence. At the same time, despite claiming a rejection of supernature, hypothetical transhumanist practices (such as mind-uploading) posit the infosphere as a kind of supernatural realm that is often set in opposition to the natural world. This article presents a critique of transhumanist conceptions of information and offers an alternative ontology of information that more adequately accounts for the distinction between the natural and supernatural as well as the integrity of the physical world.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12886
Pages (from-to)714-731
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Early online date22 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Thomas Aquinas
  • Extended mind
  • Luciano Floridi
  • Information
  • Mind-uploading
  • Naturalism
  • Ontology
  • Supernatural
  • Transhumanism


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