In the future, human destiny may depend on our ethics. In particular, biotechnology and expansion in space can transform life, raising profound questions. Guidance may be found in Life-centered ethics, as biotic ethics that value the basic patterns of organic gene/protein life, and as panbiotic ethics that always seek to expand life. These life-centered principles can be based on scientific insights into the unique place of life in nature, and the biological unity of (...) all life. Belonging to life then implies a human purpose: to safeguard and propagate life. Expansion in space will advance this purpose but will also raise basic questions. Should we expand all life or only intelligent life? Should we aim to create populations of trillions? Should we seed other solar systems? How far can we change but still preserve the human species, and life itself? The future of all life may be in our hands, and it can depend on our guiding ethics whether life will fulfil its full potentials. Given such profound powers, life-centered ethics can best secure future generations. Our descendants may then understand nature more deeply, and seek to extend life indefinitely. In that future, our human existence can find a cosmic purpose. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Astrobiology in societal context Constance Bertka; Part I. Origin of Life: 2. Emergence and the experimental pursuit of the origin of life Robert Hazen; 3. From Aristotle to Darwin, to Freeman Dyson: changing definitions of life viewed in historical context James Strick; 4. Philosophical aspects of the origin-of-life problem: the emergence of life and the nature of science Iris Fry; 5. The origin of terrestrial life: a Christian perspective Ernan (...) McMullin; 6. The alpha and the omega: reflections on the origin and future of life from the perspective of Christian theology and ethics Celia Deane-Drummond; Part II. Extent of Life: 7. A biologist's guide to the Solar System Lynn Rothschild; 8. The quest for habitable worlds and life beyond the Solar System Carl Pilcher; 9. A historical perspective on the extent and search for life Steven J. Dick; 10. The search for extraterrestrial life: epistemology, ethics, and worldviews Mark Lupisella; 11. The implications of discovering extraterrestrial life: different searches, different issues Margaret S. Race; 12. God, evolution, and astrobiology Cynthia S. W. Crysdale; Part III. Future of Life: 13. Planetary ecosynthesis on Mars: restoration ecology and environmental ethics Christopher P. McKay; 14. The trouble with intrinsic value: an ethical primer for astrobiology Kelly C. Smith; 15. God's preferential option for life: a Christian perspective on astrobiology Richard O. Randolph; 16. Comparing stories about the origin, extent, and future of life: an Asian religious perspective Francisca Cho; Index. (shrink)
We describe a novel Internet-based method for building consensus and clarifying con icts in large stakeholder groups facing complex issues, and we use the method to survey and map the scienti c and organizational perspectives of the arti cial life community during the Seventh International Conference on Arti cial Life (summer 2000). The issues addressed in this survey included arti cial life’s main successes, main failures, main open scienti c questions, and main strategies for the future, (...) as well as the bene ts and pitfalls of creating a professional society for arti cial life. By illuminating the arti cial life community’s collective perspective on these issues, this survey illustrates the value of such methods of harnessing the collective intelligence of large stakeholder groups. (shrink)
Populations in developed societies are rapidly aging: fertility rates are at all-time lows while life expectancy creeps ever higher. This is triggering a social crisis in which shrinking youth populations are required to pay for the care and retirements of an aging majority. Some people argue that by investing in the right kinds of lifespan extension technology – the kind that extends the healthy and productive phases of life – we can avoid this crisis (thereby securing a ‘longevity (...) dividend’). This chapter argues that this longevity dividend is unlikely to be paid if lifespan extension coincides with rampant technological unemployment. This does not mean that we should not pursue lifespan extension, but it does mean that the argument in its favor needs to rest on other grounds. After articulating these grounds, the chapter proceeds to consider the implications this has for our vision of the extended life, postwork utopia. It argues that this vision may need to be reconceived and suggests that one plausible reconception involves prioritizing the role of games in the well-lived life. (shrink)
Vidal’s (Found Sci, 2010 ) and Rottiers’s (Found Sci, 2010 ) commentaries on my (2010) paper raised a number of important issues about the possible future trajectory of evolution and its implications for humanity. My response emphasizes that despite the inherent uncertainty involved in extrapolating the trajectory of evolution into the far future, the possibilities it reveals nonetheless have significant strategic implications for what we do with our lives here and now, individually and collectively. One important implication is (...) the replacement of postmodern scepticism and relativism with an evolutionary grand narrative that can guide humanity to participate successfully in the future evolution of life in the universe. (shrink)
: In this paper I argue that Hume's famous discussion of probability and induction, as originally presented in the Treatise, is significantly motivated by irreligious objectives. A particular target of Hume's arguments is Joseph Butler's Analogy of Religion. In the Analogy Butler intends to persuade his readers of both the credibility and practical importance of the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments. The argument that he advances relies on probable reasoning and proceeds on the assumption that (...) our past experience in this life serves as a reliable and effective guide for our expectations concerning a future state. In the relevant sections of the Treatise Hume aims to discredit this religious argument and the practical objectives associated with it. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Hume's famous discussion of probability and induction, as originally presented in the Treatise, is significantly motivated by irreligious objectives. A particular target of Hume's arguments is Joseph Butler's Analogy of Religion. In the Analogy Butler intends to persuade his readers of both the credibility and practical importance of the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments. The argument that he advances relies on probable reasoning and proceeds on the assumption that our (...) past experience in this life serves as a reliable and effective guide for our expectations concerning a future state. In the relevant sections of the Treatise Hume aims to discredit this religious argument and the practical objectives associated with it. (shrink)
Future technology may dramatically extend the human lifespan. Peter Singer argues that we should reject life extension because developing it would result in a world with lower total and average happiness. Singer’s argument depends on the claim that we should maximise average happiness per moment. I will argue that developing the life-extending drug would not be impermissible because doing so will maximise average happiness per person. I offer an independent argument for why we should adopt a consequentialist (...) principle which says to maximise average happiness per person. (shrink)
The dependence on history of both present and future dynamics of life is a common intuition in biology and in humanities. Historicity will be understood in terms of changes of the space of possibilities as well as by the role of diversity in life’s structural stability and of rare events in history formation. We hint to a rigorous analysis of “path dependence” in terms of invariants and invariance preserving transformations, as it may be found also in physics, (...) while departing from the physico-mathematical analyses. The idea is that the invariant traces of the past under organismal or ecosystemic transformations contribute to the understanding of present and future states of affairs. This yields a peculiar form of unpredictability in biology, at the core of novelty formation: the changes of observables and pertinent parameters may depend also on past events. In particular, in relation to the properties of synchronic measurement in physics, the relevance of diachronic measurement in biology is highlighted. This analysis may a fortiori apply to cognitive and historical human dynamics, while allowing to investigate some general properties of historicity in biology. (shrink)
Jurgen Habermas' construction of a critical social theory of society grounded in communicative reason is one of the very few real philosophical inventions of recent times that demands and repays extended engagement. In this elaborate and sympathetic study which places Habermas' project in the context of critical theory as a whole past and future, J. M. Bernstein argues that despite its undoubted achievements, it contributes to the very problems of ethical dislocation and meaninglessness it aims to diagnose and remedy. (...) Bernstein further argues that the precise character of the failures of Habermas' program demonstrate the necessity for a return to the first generation critical theory of Adorno. Reading across nearly the whole range of Habermas' corpus, Recovering Ethical Life traces the development of the theory of communicative reason from its inception in Knowledge and Human Interests through its elaboration in The Theory of Communicative Action and into its defense against postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity . In separate chapters Habermas' readings of Freud, Durkheim amd Mead, Adorno and Foucault, Castoriadis and Taylor are critically examined. The focus of Bernstein's analyses, however, is always problem centered and thematic rather than textual psychoanalytic theory as an account of self knowledge, the competing claims of ethical identity and moral reason, the place of judgment in practical reason, and the debate between philosophies of language based communities versus those oriented towards world-disclosure. Critical theory is unique among current philosophies in engaging with the problems of social injustice and nihilism by siding with an abstract moral reason that forfeits the processes of intersubjective recognition it intended to salvage. Even in the fine grain of Habermas' account of performative contradictions and the theory of discourses of application, Bernstein perceives a squandering of the resources of an ethical life in need of transfiguration. (shrink)
The paper argues that the future of socialism depends upon the category of use value being grounded in a wider and deeper conception of life value. Only as such can it serve as the regulating principle of a future democratic socialist society. Life value is anchored in an understanding of the human life's space-time continuum understood as a continuum of life requirements. The multiple life crises regularly generated by capitalism are crises of its (...) incapacity to adequately satisfy these life requirements. The practical conclusion is that a democratic socialist economy must prioritize the production not of use values as such, but only of those use values that also have life value. (shrink)
By radically undercutting all facile claims on God's mercy and all false confidence in human merit, Ezekiel laid the sure foundation for the future hope of his people: God's sovereign freedom to cleanse and restore them as He saw fit.
In this article I attempt to transcend the mainstream conception of health care ethics, including nursing ethics, by bringing into the foreground a tension between a sense of life and an industrial-bureaucratic style of health care, with its emphasis on the systematic and procedural work culture necessary for mass production. I use the concept of ‘a sense of life’ to draw attention to the wisdom, sensitivity and responsibility that is necessary for the authentic care of others to be (...) given a chance in the development of modern health care. I emphasize the mindfulness that the professional requires for genuine care, and how the systematic organization of modern health care, on the whole, ignores, obstructs and even suppresses such mindfulness. (shrink)
Just Life reorients ethics and politics around the generativity of mothers and daughters rather than the right to property and the sexual proprieties of the Oedipal drama. Invoking two concrete universals – everyone is born of a woman and everyone needs to eat – Rawlinson rethinks labor and food as relationships that make ethical claims and sustain agency. Just Life counters the capitalization of bodies under biopower with the solidarity of sovereign bodies.
What everything is about -- Why understanding cycles matters and how to recognize a cycle when you're in one -- A new science in the making -- How cycles study became a science that can explain the universe or predict your future -- Follow the money -- Cycles students got profitable early warnings of the 2008/9 financial crisis, did you? -- Nature on the move -- Will it rain on your parade? Will a rising tide flood your basement? : (...) try asking cycles -- Heeding nature's clock -- Do you doze after lunch? : it isn't food, are you bright at dawn? : it's not sun, it's cycles -- Making the most of moods -- For the curse in woman or just the blues in anyone, cycles can be a saving grace -- Cycles as history -- How did China get so rich? Why the war in Afghanistan? -- It could be star-born cycles -- Looking to the heavens -- Is the universe a giant musical instrument? : scientists and poets can hear it singing -- Thinking out of the box -- Independent thinkers are allied with cycles students in learning from nature's rich text. (shrink)