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Human expunction

  • Robert Klee (a1)

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.

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K. Caldeira , J. Kasting (1992). The life span of the biosphere revisited. Nature 360, 721723.

B. Carter (1974). Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology. In Confrontation of Cosmological Theories with Observational Data, ed. M.S. Longair , pp. 291298. Dordrecht, Holland.

F. Dyson (1968). Physics Today 21, 4145.

S. Franck , K. Kossacki , C. Bounama (1999). Modelling the global carbon cycle for the past and future evolution of the earth system. Chem. Geol. 159, 305317.

T. Nagel (1971). The absurd. J. Phil. 68, 716727.

K. Rybicki , C. Denis (2001). On the final destiny of the earth and the solar system. Icarus 151, 130137.

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International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology
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