General Science and Philosophy


Astrobiology and Astrophilosophy: Subsuming or Bifurcating Disciplines?

Authors: Ian von Hegner

Abstract Initially, astrobiology subsumed into philosophy. However, philosophy has increasingly subsumed into astrobiology concurrent with it steadily becoming an observational and experimental activity that mainly focuses on the link between life and the cosmos, rather than on extra-terrestrial life per se. However, the steadily increasing probability of locating such extra-terrestrial life and the questions this will lead to might require a refinement of astrobiology, with a bifurcation into astrobiology and astrophilosophy. There are many reasons for the emergence and necessity of astrobiology. One barely realized reason for its emergence, I will argue, is the dawning realization that biology, until now, has been under a geocentric limitation, which has unavoidably pervaded the perception of life. Additionally, as astrobiology can be said to be a long last movement away from this limitation, astrophilosophy represents a movement away from that limitation because philosophy has, strictly speaking, been restrained by the frames for one species, Homo sapiens. Thus, philosophy has, strictly speaking, been anthropomorphic. Thus, when philosophy, like astrobiology, incorporates the Copernican principle, assuming that terrestrial life, and the thinking of Homo sapiens, is not privileged in the universe, astrophilosophy emerges. Astrobiology and astrophilosophy are not competitors but are rather two distinct but complementary activities that address questions with their own well-defined methods and rigor while still informing each other in an inter-dependent manner. Astrophilosophy concerns questions that are philosophical in nature but are procured by an astrobiological perspective. By including scenarios procured by astrobiology, a number of questions regarding value, rights, communication and intelligence that could arise in the interaction between Homo sapiens and extra-terrestrial life can be addressed.

Comments: 11 Pages.

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[v1] 2019-03-08 05:59:31

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