Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 401–415 | Cite as

Cerebra: “All-Human”, “All-Too-Human”, “All-Too-Transhuman”

  • Joff P. N. Bradley


In thinking the passage from the “all-human cerebrum” (H.G. Wells) to what one might call the contemporary “all-too-human” cerebrum in neo-liberal societies and beyond to the “all-too-transhuman” cerebrum in the cybernetic society, in contrasting Wells’s idea of a new world order with the dystopia of the disordering un-world (Nancy in The creation of the world or globalization, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2002/2007), in considering the prospects of a “world brain” faced with the realities of the “global mnemotechnical system” (Bernard Stiegler), in highlighting the differences between the global and authoritarian instrument of “control” in Wells and the descriptions of the control society by Deleuze, and finally, in critiquing the “unifying of the general intelligence services of the world” in Wells (World brain, Methuen & Co., Ltd., London, 1938, pp. 3–4) and the capturing of the “general intellect” (Wark in General intellects: twenty-one thinkers for the twenty-first century. Verso Books, London, 2017), this paper maps the contemporary prospects of the “world brain” against the backdrop of the worldweariness of the present.


Wells Stiegler World brain Deleuze Memory Stupidity Serres 


  1. Abbinnett, R. 2018. The thought of Bernard Stiegler: Capitalism, technology and the politics of spirit. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, C. 2017. Technology’s hidden curriculum and the new digital pharmakon. In The precarious future of education. Education, psychoanalysis, and social transformation, ed. J. Jagodzinski. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Biesta, G. 2016. Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
  4. Bloom, H. 2000. Global brain: The evolution of mass mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Bojesen, E. 2016. Inventing the educational subject in the “Information Age”. Studies in Philosophy and Education 35(3): 267–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bradley, J.P.N. 2015. Stiegler Contra Robinson: On the hyper-solicitation of youth. Educational Philosophy and Theory 47(10): 1023–1038.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Braidotti, R. 2012. The Posthuman. Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cole, D.R. 2017. Deleuze studies in education. Oxford research encyclopedia of education. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Deleuze, G. 1992. Postscript on the societies of control. October 59(1): 3–7.Google Scholar
  10. Deleuze, G., and Guattari, F. 1980/1987. A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  11. Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., Tomlinson, H., and Burchell, G. 1991/1994. What is philosophy?. London; New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  12. Featherstone, M. 2010. Kinetic Utopia. The New York Journal of Sociology 3(1): 1–20.Google Scholar
  13. Featherstone, M. 2017a. Stiegler’s university. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 39(3): 289–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Featherstone, M. 2017b. Planet utopia: Utopia, dystopia, and globalization. Basingstoke: Taylor & Francis Ltd.Google Scholar
  15. Guattari, F. 1977/1984. Molecular revolution: Psychiatry and politics. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin.Google Scholar
  16. Hillis, K., M. Petit, and K. Jarrett. 2012. Google and the culture of search. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Kelly, K. 2003. Out of control: The new biology of machines, social systems, and the economic world. Pacifica, CA: Kevin Kelly.Google Scholar
  18. Kouppanou, A. 2015. Bernard Stiegler’s Philosophy of Technology: Invention, decision, and education in times of digitization. Educational Philosophy and Theory 47(10): 1110–1123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kurzweil, R. 2016. The singularity is near: When humans transcend biology, 2016. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  20. Lévy, P. 1994/1999. Collective intelligence: Mankind’s emerging world in cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.Google Scholar
  21. Lewin, D. 2016. The pharmakon of educational technology: The disruptive power of attention in education. Studies in Philosophy and Education 35(3): 251–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Livingstone, D. 2015. Transhumanism: The history of a dangerous idea. Sabilillah: Sabilillah Publications.Google Scholar
  23. Malabou, C., and S. Miller. 2012. The new wounded: From neurosis to brain damage. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mitchell, W.J.T., and M.B.N. Hansen. 2010. Critical terms for media studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nancy, J.-L. 2002/2007. The creation of the world or Globalization. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  26. Partington, J. 2002. The time machine and a modern Utopia: The static and kinetic Utopias of the early H.G. Wells. Utopian Studies 13(1): 57–68.Google Scholar
  27. Peters, M.A., and P. Jandric. 2015. Philosophy of education in the age of digital reason. Review of Contemporary Philosophy 14: 162–181.Google Scholar
  28. Rayward, W.B. 1999. HG Wells’s idea of a World Brain: A critical reassessment. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 50(7): 557–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reveley, J. 2014. School-based mindfulness training and the economization of attention: A Stieglerian view. Educational Philosophy and Theory, Online First 1–18.Google Scholar
  30. Reveley, J., and M.A. Peters. 2016. Mind the gap: Infilling Stiegler’s philosophico-educational approach to social innovation. Educational Philosophy and Theory 48(14): 1452–1463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Serres, M. 2012/2015. Thumbelina: The culture and technology of millennials. London: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  32. Starr, M. 2017. Wells meets Deleuze. Jefferson: McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers.Google Scholar
  33. Stiegler, B. 2008. Our Ailing Educational Institutions. Culture Machine, 5(0).
  34. Stiegler, B. 2009/2010a. For a new critique of political economy. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  35. Stiegler, B. 2008/2010b. Taking care of youth and the generations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Stiegler, B. 2013. “The Digital Future of the University” (L’avenir numérique de l’Université). Mediapart.
  37. Stiegler, B. 2004/2014. Symbolic MiseryVolume 1: The Hyperindustrial Epoch. John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  38. Stiegler, B. 2012/2015. States of shock: Stupidity and knowledge in the twenty-first century. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  39. Stiegler, B., and D. Ross. 2006/2012. Uncontrollable societies of disaffected individuals: Disbelief and discredit. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  40. Stiegler, B., and P. Sloterdijk. 2016. Welcome to the Anthropocene. Debate with Philosophers Peter Sloterdijk and Bernard Stiegler. Nijmegen: Radbound University.Google Scholar
  41. Stock, G. 1993. Metaman: The merging of humans and machines into a global superorganism. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  42. Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. 1961. The phenomenon of man. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  43. Virilio, P., Petit, P., Cavaliere, M., and Lotringer, S. 1996/1999. Politics of the very worst: Paul Virilio: An interview. New York: Semiotext(e).Google Scholar
  44. Vlieghe, J. 2014. Education in an age of digital technologies: Flusser, Stiegler, and Agamben on the idea of the posthistorical. Philosophy & Technology 27(4): 519–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wark, M.K. 2017. General intellects: Twenty-one thinkers for the twenty-first century. London; New York: Verso Books.Google Scholar
  46. Wells, H.G. 1905. Modern Utopia. London: Dent.Google Scholar
  47. Wells, H.G. 1933. The shape of things to come. London: Hutchinson & Co.Google Scholar
  48. Wells, H. G. 1937. The Camford Visitation. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  49. Wells, H.G. 1938. World brain. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd.Google Scholar
  50. Wells, H.G. 1939. The fate of homo sapiens: An unemotional statement of the things that are happening to him now, and of the immediate possibilities confronting him. London: Secker and Warburg.Google Scholar
  51. Wells, H. G. 1942. The outlook for homo sapiens… An amalgamation and modernization of… “The fate of homo sapiens” and “The new world order”, etc. London.Google Scholar
  52. Wells, H. G. 1945. Mind at the end of its tether: And the happy turning, a dream of life. London: William Heinemann.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Language Studies, Hachioji CampusTeikyo UniversityTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations