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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Axiological futurism: The systematic study of the future of values

J. Danaher
Volume 132, September 2021


Human values seem to vary across time and space. What implications does this have for the future of human value? Will our human and (perhaps) post-human offspring have very different values from our own? Can we study the future of human values in an insightful and systematic way? This article makes three contributions to the debate about the future of human values. First, it argues that the systematic study of future values is both necessary in and of itself and an important complement to other future-oriented inquiries. Second, it sets out a methodology and a set of methods for undertaking this study. Third, it gives a practical illustration of what this ‘axiological futurism’ might look like by developing a model of the axiological possibility space that humans are likely to navigate over the coming decades.


• Outlines a new field of inquiry: axiological futurism.

• Defends the role of axiological futurism in understanding technology in society.

• Develops a set of methods for undertaking this inquiry into the axiological future.

• Presents a model for understanding the impact of AI, robotics and ICTs on human values.

From the Conclusion

In conclusion, axiological futurism is the systematic and explicit inquiry into the axiological possibility space for future human (and post-human) civilisations. Axiological futurism is necessary because, given the history of axiological change and variation, it is very unlikely that our current axiological systems will remain static and unchanging in the future. Axiological futurism is also important because it is complementary to other futurological inquiries. While it might initially seem that axiological futurism cannot be a systematic inquiry, this is not the case. Axiological futurism is an exercise in informed speculation.