Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Human expunction

  • Robert Klee (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Thomas Nagel in ‘The Absurd’ (Nagel 1971) mentions the future expunction of the human species as a ‘metaphor’ for our ability to see our lives from the outside, which he claims is one source of our sense of life's absurdity. I argue that the future expunction (not to be confused with extinction) of everything human – indeed of everything biological in a terran sense – is not a mere metaphor but a physical certainty under the laws of nature. The causal processes by which human expunction will take place are presented in some empirical detail, so that philosophers cannot dismiss it as merely speculative. I also argue that appeals to anthropic principles or to forms of mystical cosmology are of no plausible avail in the face of human expunction under the laws of physics.

Copyright
Corresponding author
e-mail: klee@ithaca.edu
References
Hide All
BarrowJ., TiplerF. (1986). The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
BostromN. (2002). Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy. Routledge, New York and London.
CaldeiraK., KastingJ. (1992). The life span of the biosphere revisited. Nature 360, 721723.
CarterB. (1974). Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology. In Confrontation of Cosmological Theories with Observational Data, ed. LongairM.S., pp. 291298. Dordrecht, Holland.
CrawfordI. (1990). Interstellar travel: a review for astronomers. Q. J. R. Astron. Soc. 30, 377400.
DysonF. (1968). Physics Today 21, 4145.
FranckS., KossackiK., BounamaC. (1999). Modelling the global carbon cycle for the past and future evolution of the earth system. Chem. Geol. 159, 305317.
KalerJ. (1993). Giants in the sky: the fate of the Sun. Mercury (Mar-Apr.), 3441.
NagelT. (1971). The absurd. J. Phil. 68, 716727.
PS (1972–73). quest.nasa.gov/sso/cool/pioneer10/graphics/lasher/slide8lg.html (accessed 29 September 2016).
RybickiK., DenisC. (2001). On the final destiny of the earth and the solar system. Icarus 151, 130137.
VS (1977a). voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/greetings.html (accessed 29 September 2016).
VS (1977b). voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/sounds.html (accessed 29 September 2016).
VS (1977c). voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/music.html (accessed 29 September 2016).
VS (1977d). voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/scenes.html (accessed 29 September 2016).
VS (1977e). voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/goldenrec.html (accessed 29 September 2016). The Sagan quote is near the bottom of the second paragraph.
WittgensteinL. (2009). Philosophical Investigations, Rev.4th Ed. trans. By Anscombe G.E.M., Hacker P.M.S. & Schulte J., p. 104e. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
ZubrinR., McKayC. (1996). Technological requirements for terraforming Mars. In Islands in the Sky: Bold New Ideas for Colonizing Space, ed. Schmidt S. & ZubrinR., pp. 125146. Wiley, New York.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 9
Total number of PDF views: 63 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 310 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th February 2017 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.