Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology

ISBN : 9780190915650

Kelly C. Smith; Carlos Mariscal
336 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2020
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How universal are our moral obligations? Should we attempt to communicate with life beyond our planet? What is "life"? Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology explores the most important questions related to the field of astrobiology, and the resulting book is the most comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach focused on the humanistic issues of the multidisciplinary science of astrobiology to date.

Questions surrounding life on other planets have troubled humankind for centuries; this volume outlines the questions for the next decade of research in the field of astrobiology. Kelly C. Smith and Carlos Mariscal have assembled the top scholars from fields spanning history, communication, philosophy, law, and theology to consider the implications of life elsewhere. The perspectives supplied by this expansive group of contributors have never before been collected in book a book focused on astrobiology. This book sets a benchmark for future work in astrobiology, giving readers the groundwork from which to base the continuous scholarship coming from this ever-growing scientific field.


To the Humanities and Beyond: Exploring the Broader Questions in Astrobiology Kelly Smith and Carlos Mariscal
Part I - Historical Background
Astrobiology and Society: An Overview Steve Dick
Hell Is Other Planets: Extraterrestrial Life in the Western Theological Imagination Derek Malone-France
Part II - What is Life?
Three Lives and Astrobiology Lucas Mix
Dimensions of Life Definitions Emily Parke
Meaning of the Living State Cole Mathis
Life as It Could Be Luis Campos
Part III - Philosophical Issues in Astrobiology
Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence? The Proper Role of Sagan's Dictum in Astrobiology? Sean McMahon
Re-thinking Conceptual Intelligence and the Astrobiology Debate Jason J. Howard
What are Extremophiles? A Philosophical Perspective Carlos Mariscal and Tyler Brunet
Part IV - Ethical Issues in Astrobiology
Convergences in the Ethics of Space Exploration Brian Green
Ethics and Extra-Terrestrials: What obligations will we have to extra-terrestrial life? What obligations will it have to us? Adam Potthast
METI or REGRETTI: Ethics, Risk and Alien Contact Kelly C. Smith
Part V - Social and Legal Issues in Astrobiology
Earth, Life, Space: The social construction of the biosphere and the expansion of the concept into outer space Linda Billings
Myth-Free Space Advocacy Part IV: The Myth of Public Support for Astrobiology Jim Schwartz
Environmental Law and Space Exploration Christopher J. Newman

About the author: 

Kelly C. Smith is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Biological Sciences and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Clemson University. He is also President of the Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology. Carlos Mariscal is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and a faculty member of the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology (EECB) and Integrative Neuroscience programs at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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