A peer-reviewed electronic journal published by the Institute for Ethics and
Emerging Technologies

ISSN 1541-0099

21(2) – October 2010




Russell Blackford

University of Newcastle, NSW; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Evolution and Technology



Journal of Evolution and Technology  -  Vol. 21  Issue 2 – October 2010 - pg i


In issue 20(1) of The Journal of Evolution and Technology, we published “Nietzsche, the Overhuman, and Transhumanism” by Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, a leading Nietzsche scholar and the author of Metaphysics Without Truth: On the Importance of Consistency within Nietzsche’s Philosophy. Issue 21(1), our “Nietzsche and European Posthumanisms” issue, was prepared following a call for papers in response. We published a mix of short responses and full-length peer-reviewed articles. Meanwhile, we also invited Stefan Sorgner to reply to the papers in the issue once they were all published.


We’re now pleased to present Sorgner’s detailed reply, in which he argues that Nietzsche could plausibly have favored technological means for bringing about the overhuman, particularly since no principled distinction can be made between technological interventions and educational interventions. Sorgner defends Nietzsche’s fundamental epistemological position and a Nietzschean approach to virtue ethics, but is unenthusiastic about Nietzsche’s wish to establish a two-tier society where a small class of people are free to dedicate themselves to the creation of culture (while the larger number care for the pragmatic background”). At the same time, Sorgner stresses that Nietzsche is often unfairly associated with the Nazis despite his clearly-expressed opposition to anti-Semitism and that he did not favor aristocratic rule in the ordinary sense conveyed by that term. Nietzsche was no egalitarian, but he favored an elite of culture-creators rather than the rule of the hereditary aristocracy.


As usual, this issue’s articles will be published online as and when they are ready, rather than when the whole issue is full. JET 21(2) will evolve over the next few months, taking final shape towards the end of 2010.


It will contain articles by Edgar Dahl, who challenges the received wisdom on sex selection, particularly in the context of Asia’s changing sex ratios; Daniel McIntosh, who discusses security dilemmas in a high-tech world; and Nicholas Agar, who explains the arguments in his important new book, Humanitys End (MIT Press, 2010), including their relationship to his earlier book on human enhancement technologies, Liberal Eugenics (Blackwell, 2004). Our reviews section will include Jamie Bronstein’s take on Humanitys End, and we expect that Agar's book will continue to attract attention in future issues of the journal.