Non-Credit Mini Course | Transhumanism, AI, and the Soul: Science for Humans

Oct 24, 2023
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Joseph VukovLoyola University Chicago

Michael BurnsLoyola University Chicago

Tuesdays, October 3 - October 24
6:00pm: Dinner
6:30pm: Presentation

This event is in-person only. Intended for university students, recent graduates, faculty, and staff. Others interested in attending please contact

Registrants are free to attend as many sessions as they choose. Sessions do not presuppose previous attendance or prior knowledge of the subject.

This non-credit course is cosponsored by the University of Chicago Program on Religion and Medicine and the In Lumine Network. It is made possible through the support of ‘In Lumine: Supporting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide’ (Grant #62372) from the John Templeton Foundation.


Wrestle with the moral and philosophical questions around the rise of artificial intelligence, breakthroughs in genetic engineering, and the quest for transhumanism.

Michael Burns (a biology professor) and Joe Vukov (a philosophy professor) will show the group how to think about the human questions at the forefront of technological and medical innovation.

Each week dinner is served at 6:00pm, and the lecture and conversation lasts from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.


October 3:  Introduction: Science for Humans

October 10: Being Human in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

October 17: Genetic Engineering, or How to “Refine” Humanity

October 24: Transcending Humanity? Transhumanism, Bioenhanced Virtue, and the Quest for Perfection


Joseph Vukov is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at Loyola University Chicago. He is also Associate Director of the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola, and an Affiliate Faculty Member in Catholic Studies and Psychology. Vukov's research explores questions at the intersection of ethics, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind, and at the intersection of science and religion. He regularly publishes and presents on his work. In 2022, he published Navigating Faith and Science, and in 2023, he published The Perils of Perfection. In Spring 2024, he will publish a book that grapples with questions arising from new forms of Artificial Intelligence.

Michael Burns is an assistant professor in the biology department at Loyola University Chicago. His biomedical research focuses on understanding interactions between bacteria and human cancers, using large sequencing datasets and advanced computational approaches. He also works extensively on interdisciplinary teaching and community outreach projects to foster good-faith dialogue between diverse groups and to promote science outreach within faith communities.