The moral obligation to support space exploration follows from our obligations to protect the environment and to survive as a species. It can be justified through three related arguments: one supporting space exploration as necessary for acquiring resources, and two illustrating the need for space technology in order to combat extraterrestrial threats such as meteorite impacts. Three sorts of objections have been raised against this obligation. The first are objections alleging that supporting space exploration is impractical. The second is the (...) widely held notion that space exploration and environmentalism are at odds with one another. Finally, there are two objections to using space resources that Robert Sparrow has raised on the topic of terraforming. The obligation to support space exploration can be defended in at least three ways: (1) the "argument from resources," that space exploration is useful for amplifying our available resources; (2) the "argument from asteroids," that space exploration is necessary for protecting the environment and its inhabitants from extraterrestrial threats such as meteorite impacts; and (3) the "argument from solar burnout," that we are obligated to pursue interstellar colonization in order to ensure long-term human survival. (shrink)
Terraforming is a process of planetary engineering by which the extant environment of a planetary body is transformed into an environment capable of supporting human inhabitants. The question I would like to consider in this paper is whether there is any reason to believe that the terraforming of another planet—for instance, the terraforming of Mars—is morally problematic. Topics related to the human exploration of space are not often discussed in philosophical circles. Nevertheless, there exists a growing body of philosophical literature (...) dedicated to sorting out the moral implications of the use of resources from (and in) space. Most of this literature is produced as environmental philosophy. Questions of .. (shrink)
This book aims to contribute significantly to the understanding of issues of value which repeatedly emerge in interdisciplinary discussions on space and society. Although a recurring feature of discussions about space in the humanities, the treatment of value questions has tended to be patchy, of uneven quality and even, on occasion, idiosyncratic rather than drawing upon a close familiarity with state-of-the-art ethical theory. One of the volume's aims is to promote a more robust and theoretically informed approach to the ethical (...) dimension of discussions on space and society. While the contributions are written in a manner which is accessible across disciplines, the book still withstands scrutiny by those whose work is primarily on ethics. At the same time it allows academics across a range of disciplines an insight into current approaches toward how the work of ethics gets done. The issues of value raised could be used to inform debates about regulation, space law and protocols for microbial discovery as well as longer-range policy debates about funding. (shrink)
According to Stewart Shapiro's coherence principle, structures exist whenever they can be coherently described. I argue that Shapiro's attempts to justify this principle are circular, as he relies on criticisms of modal nominalism which presuppose the coherence principle. I argue further that when the coherence principle is not presupposed, his reasoning more strongly supports modal nominalism than ante rem structuralism.
We only see Mars from Earth's perspective in the first season of The Expanse, but Season 2 changes that by introducing Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper, a Martian Congressional Republic Navy (MCRN) marine. Mars as seen by Martians resembles our Mars: ruddy, rocky, dusty, inhospitable, and cold. This chapter focuses on Draper and the Mars Congressional Republic (MCR). What is striking about the culture of the MCR is how naturally it flows from contemporary visions of space exploration, especially those from the (...) Apollo era forward. For somewhat more specific examples, the chapter considers the “Statement of Philosophy” of the National Space Society, another well‐known space advocacy organization in the US. The MCR's commitment to terraforming Mars demonstrates that its future depends “upon the progress of science and technology.”. (shrink)