The History and Philosophy of Astrobiology: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life and the Human Mind

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology (editor)

Abstract

Human beings have wondered about the stars since the dawn of the species. Does life exist out there – intelligent life, even – or are we alone? The quest for life in the universe touches on fundamental hopes and fears. It touches on the essence of what it means to formulate a theory, grasp a concept, and have an imagination. This book traces the history of the science of this area and the development of new schools in philosophy. Its essays seek to establish the history and philosophy of astrobiology as research fields in their own right by addressing cognitive, linguistic, epistemological, ethical, cultural, societal, and historical perspectives on astrobiology.

The book is divided into three sections. The first (Cognition) focuses on the human mind and what it contributes to the search for life. It explores the emergence and evolution of terrestrial life and cognition and the challenges humans face as they reach to the stars. The essays raise philosophical questions, pose ethical dilemmas, and offer a variety of approaches, including one from cognitive zoology, in formulating a theory of the universal principles of intelligence, the limits of human conceptual abilities, and the human mind’s encounter with the unknown.

The second section (Communication) examines the linguistic and semiotic requirements for interstellar communication. What is needed for successful communication? Are there universal rules for success? What are the possible features – and limitations – of exolanguages? What is required for recognizing a message as a message?

The third section (Culture) considers cultural and societal issues. It explores astrobiology’s organization as a scientific discipline, its responsibilities to the public sphere, and its theological implications. It reviews the historically important panspermia hypothesis, along with the popularization of astrobiology and its ongoing institutionalisation.

Through addressing these questions, we take our first steps in exploring the immense terra incognita of extraterrestrial life and the human mind.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Ideas
  • Languages and Literature
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages280
ISBN (Print)978-1-4438-5035-3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedNo

Related research output

Erik Persson, 2013, The History and Philosophy of Astrobiology: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life and the Human Mind. Dunér, D., Parthemore, J., Persson, E. & Holmberg, G. (eds.). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 29-48 19 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Per Lind, 2013, The History and Philosophy of Astrobiology: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life and the Human Mind. Dunér, D., Parthemore, J., Persson, E. & Holmberg, G. (eds.). Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 93-127 34 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

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Related projects

Sara Lenninger, Göran Sonesson, Junichi Toyota, Ingar Brinck, Lars Kopp, Arthur Holmer, Anastasia Karlsson, Damrong Tayanin, Gerd Carling, Gisela Håkansson, Johan Blomberg, Jordan Zlatev, Lars-Åke Henningsson, Mats Andrén, Susan Sayehli, Teresa Strandviken, Joel Parthemore, Tomas Persson, Anna Cabak Rédei, Elainie Alenkær Madsen, Alf Hornborg, Mats Andrén, Lars-Åke Henningsson, Lars Kopp, Damrong Tayanin & Junichi Toyota

2009/01/012014/12/31

Project: Research

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