I am an Australian writer, philosopher, and literary critic, based in Newcastle, NSW.
I'm Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology, a regular op.ed. columnist with Free Inquiry, and a Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.
You can find my academic (philosophy-oriented) curriculum vitae (including a selective list of publications) here. My qualifications include First Class Honours degrees in both Arts and Law, and a Master of Bioethics degree. I hold separate Ph.Ds in English literature (from the University of Newcastle) and philosophy (from Monash University).
From 2004-2009 I taught across a wide range of subjects in the philosophy and bioethics curriculum at Monash University. After living in Melbourne, Vic, for many years, Jenny Blackford and I returned at the end of 2009 to Newcastle, where we grew up.
I am an experienced public speaker and presenter, and I love to talk about ideas. In September 2011, I was third speaker for the opposition in an IQ2 debate in Sydney on the subject "Atheists are wrong". This was broadcast on national free-to-air television in Australia, and the video is available here. (My team won the debate convincingly!) Other major appearances in recent years have included presentations at The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas in 2013 and the World Humanist Congress in Oxford in 2014.
I post at Cogito and Talking Philosophy, and on my personal blog, Metamagician and the Hellfire Club. I also have a page at Academia.edu if you want to check it out.
My newest books are The Mystery of Moral Authority (published by Palgrave Pivot in January 2016), Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies (published by MIT Press in January 2014) and Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds (co-edited with Damien Broderick and featuring long introductory essays by each of us; Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).
Richard Garner, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University, says of The Mystery of Moral Authority, "[It] is an accessible, up-to-date, thorough, convincing and fair-minded attempt to show that the 'mystery of moral authority' has not been, and most likely will not be, solved. ... Blackford recommends that we replace the idea of morality as a collection of truths about how we ought to live with the idea that it is a modifiable social technology aimed at finding ways to live in groups. This realization frees us to replace outmoded moral norms with practical ones more appropriate to our present needs and circumstances."
Ruth Chadwick, Distinguished Research Professor at Cardiff University, says of Humanity Enhanced, "This book provides a refreshing contribution to the debates about enhancement and offers a much-needed analysis of the relationship between emerging technologies and liberal tolerance—or the lack of it—in some well-rehearsed arguments. This is essential reading for anyone interested in not only enhancement but also emerging technologies in general."
My previous book is 50 Great Myths About Atheism, co-authored with Udo Schuklenk (Wiley-Blackwell 2013). Richard Dawkins says, "It has been my lot to have encountered all but three of the 50 Great Myths about Atheism listed by Blackford and Schüklenk, most of them many times. It is useful to have them all listed in one book – and so readably and authoritatively refuted. The long final chapter treats theological arguments with more respect than I would have bothered with, but the refutation is all the more convincing for that. The whole book builds inexorably to its conclusion: the Reasonableness of Atheism."
My book before that was Freedom of Religion and the Secular State, which was released by Wiley-Blackwell in January 2012. A.C. Grayling says: "This is a must-read: Blackford has given us a forceful and persuasive book that will have a big impact on the debate it addresses."
Before that was an edited collection, put together by Udo Schuklenk and myself, 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists (Wiley-Blackwell 2009). It contains fifty essays by prominent witers, philosophers, journalists, and others who reject belief in religious dogma, including the existence of the Abrahamic God. These are new essays (not reprints) by contributors from all over the world.
For more about my books, short stories and articles, see my Books page, my page of Selected Articles and Stories, or my full Bibliography. You can also check out my Amazon author page. Some of my published articles (and extracts from my published fiction) are available free of charge here.
Latest news updates
31 March 2016: Damien Broderick and I have delivered the manuscript of our co-edited book Philosophy's Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress to Wiley-Blackwell.
12 February 2016: The Mystery of Moral Authority has now been published by Palgrave with a copyright date of 2016. Copies of the Kindle edition were actually available in December 2015.