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On the parallels between cosmology and astrobiology: a transdisciplinary approach to the search for extraterrestrial life

  • Charles Morphy D. Santos (a1), Leticia P. Alabi (a2), Amâncio C. S. Friaça (a3) and Douglas Galante (a4)

The establishment of cosmology as a science provides a parallel to the building-up of the scientific status of astrobiology. The rise of astrobiological studies is explicitly based on a transdisciplinary approach that reminds of the Copernican Revolution, which eroded the basis of a closed Aristotelian worldview and reinforced the notion that the frontiers between disciplines are artificial. Given the intrinsic complexity of the astrobiological studies, with its multifactorial evidences and theoretical/experimental approaches, multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives are mandatory. Insulated expertise cannot grasp the vastness of the astrobiological issues. This need for integration among disciplines and research areas is antagonistic to excessive specialization and compartmentalization, allowing astrobiology to be qualified as a truly transdisciplinary enterprise. The present paper discusses the scientific status of astrobiological studies, based on the view that every kind of life, Earth-based or not, should be considered in a cosmic context. A confluence between ‘astro’ and ‘bio’ seeks the understanding of life as an emerging phenomenon in the universe. Thus, a new epistemological niche is opened, pointing to the development of a pluralistic vision for the philosophy of astrobiology.

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