Dr. Max More (born Max T. O’Connor, January 1964) is a philosopher and futurist who writes, speaks, and consults on advanced decision-making about emerging technologies.
Born in Bristol, England, Dr. More has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from St Anne’s College, Oxford (1987). His 1995 University of Southern California doctoral dissertation The Diachronic Self: Identity, Continuity, and Transformation examined several issues that concern transhumanists, including the nature of death, and what it is about each individual that continues despite great change over time.
Founder of the Extropy Institute, Dr. Max More has written many articles espousing the philosophy of transhumanism and the transhumanist philosophy of Extropianism, most importantly his Principles of Extropy (currently version 3.11). In a 1990 essay “Transhumanism: Toward a Futurist Philosophy”, he introduced the term “transhumanism” in its modern sense.
Dr. More is also noted for his writings about the impact of new and emerging technologies on businesses and other organizations. His “Proactionary Principle” is intended as a balanced guide to the risks and benefits of technological innovation.
At the start of 2011, Max More became president and CEO of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, an organization he joined in 1986.
Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and creating widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as the ethics of using such technologies. The most common thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.
The contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught “new concepts of the human” at The New School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and worldviews “transitional” to posthumanity as “transhuman”.
This hypothesis would lay the intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990 and organizing in California an intelligentsia that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.
The year 1990 is seen as a “fundamental shift” in human existence by the transhuman community, as the first gene therapy trial, the first designer babies, as well as the mind-augmenting World Wide Web all emerged in that year. In many ways, one could argue the conditions that will eventually lead to the Singularity were set in place by these events in 1990.
Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives including philosophy and religion.Transhumanism has been characterized by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as among the world’s most dangerous ideas, to which Ronald Bailey countered that it is rather the “movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative and idealistic aspirations of humanity”.