Russell Blackford – Curriculum Vitae
Phone: +61 2 49518035 OR 0419159448
Academic background and professional qualifications
Areas of specialisation
Legal and political philosophy; philosophical bioethics.
Areas of competence
Moral philosophy generally, including metaethics; philosophy of religion; philosophy of science; metaphilosophy.
Book chapters and articles
Short popular articles in New Philosopher
Opinion pieces, etc.
Academic and other journals
From February 2008 until late 2020, I was Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology (recently renamed the Journal of Ethics and Emerging Technologies).
In the past I have served on the editorial boards of Science Fiction Studies, the leading academic journal in its field, and the International Journal of Technoethics. I am currently a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Posthuman Studies and the Journal of Posthumanism.
I have acted as a peer reviewer for a wide range of journals, including:
I have been a frequent contributor to Free Inquiry, New Philosopher, and The Philosophers’ Magazine, as well as to the ABC’s Religion and Ethics Portal and to The Conversation.
My Ph.D. dissertation, entitled “Human Enhancement: The Challenge to Liberal Tolerance”, was approved in 2008, and I formally graduated from Monash University in 2009. I subsequently developed a revised and expanded version, which was published by MIT Press in 2014 under the title Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies.
I continue to work in philosophical bioethics and biopolitics, as in my most recent book, At the Dawn of a Great Transition: The Question of Radical Enhancement, published by Schwabe Verlag. This examines the prospect and the desirability of extreme enhancement of human capacities through emerging technologies.
As a legal and political philosopher, I am especially interested in issues relating to liberal theory and practice, religious freedom and freedom of speech, and related topics. The intersection of bioethics with liberal legal theory provides the theme for my doctoral thesis and much related work, while my 2012 book from Wiley-Blackwell, Freedom of Religion and the Secular State, is, at its title suggests, focused on ideas of secular government and religious freedom. My 2019 book from Bloomsbury, The Tyranny of Opinion: Conformity and the Future of Liberalism, examines the phenomenon of social and political conformity within liberal democracies.
As reflected in my publications, I also have broad interests in moral philosophy, metaphilosophy, and aspects of philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.
Public and community service
Prior to undertaking a Ph.D. in philosophy at Monash University from 2004 to 2008, I enjoyed a distinguished career as an industrial advocate and labour relations lawyer, involving extensive experience in courtroom advocacy, public service, and public policy management. For this, I have an entry in Who’s Who in Australia. During the 1980s and 1990s, and the early years of the new century, I also established a profile as a professional writer, literary critic, and public intellectual.
I aim to bring academic philosophy and its methods to current issues of policy and public concern. I have pursued this through a mix of peer-reviewed academic scholarship and writing for more general educated audiences. My ability to make informed contributions to contemporary debate on moral, political, and cultural issues is supported by my formal training in law, bioethics, and literary scholarship, and by my past experience in legal practice and public policy management.
I am a fellow of the US-based Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and I also work with organizations involved in advocacy of secular humanist thought and church-state separation. In particular, I am affiliated with the US-based Center for Inquiry, arguably the world’s leading organization in this area. In February 2014, I was inducted into the International Academy of Humanism.
In July 2017, I was awarded the annual AAP Media Prize. This prize, awarded by the Australasian Association of Philosophy, is for the best philosophical piece(s) published by a professional philosopher in the popular media during the previous calendar year.
I was born in Sydney, and grew up in the Lake Macquarie area, near Newcastle, NSW. I lived in Melbourne, Victoria, from February 1979 until December 2009 (including a three-month secondment spent in Canberra in 1983). At the end of 2009, I returned to Newcastle for family reasons.
In addition to my scholarly interests in philosophy, including philosophical bioethics, I am a professionally published author, and a well-known scholar and critic, in the field of science fiction and fantasy. My professionally published fiction includes numerous short stories and a trilogy of original novels for the Terminator franchise, collectively entitled Terminator 2: The New John Connor Chronicles (published 2002–2003).