Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Episode #38 - Schwartz on the Ethics of Space Exploration

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In this episode I talk to Dr James Schwartz. James teaches philosophy at Wichita State University.  His primary area of research is philosophy and ethics of space exploration, where he defends a position according to which space exploration derives its value primarily from the importance of the scientific study of the Solar System.  He is editor (with Tony Milligan) of The Ethics of Space Exploration (Springer 2016) and his publications have appeared in Advances in Space Research, Space Policy, Acta Astronautica, Astropolitics, Environmental Ethics, Ethics & the Environment, and Philosophia Mathematica.  He has also contributed chapters to The Meaning of Liberty Beyond Earth, Human Governance Beyond Earth, Dissent, Revolution and Liberty Beyond Earth (each edited by Charles Cockell), and to Yearbook on Space Policy 2015.  He is currently working on a book project, The Value of Space Science.  We talk about all things space-related, including the scientific case for space exploration and the myths that befuddle space advocacy.

 You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes (the RSS feed is here).

Show Notes

  • 0:00 - Introduction
  • 1:40 - Why did James get interested in the philosophy of space?
  • 3:17 - Is interest in the philosophy and ethics of space exploration on the rise?
  • 6:05 - Do space ethicists always say "no"?
  • 8:20 - Do we have a duty to explore space? If so, what kind of duty is this?
  • 10:30 - Space exploration and the duty to ensure species survival
  • 16:16 - The link between space ethics and environmental ethics: between misanthrophy and anthropocentrism
  • 19:33 - How would space exploration help human survival?
  • 23:20 - The scientific value of space exploration: manned or unmanned?
  • 28:30 - Why does the scientific case for space exploration take priority?
  • 35:40 - Is it our destiny to explore space?
  • 38:46 - Thoughts on Elon Musk and the Colonisation Project
  • 44:34 - The Myths of Space Advocacy
  • 51:40 - From space philosophy to space policy: getting rid of the myths
  • 58:55 - The future of space philosophy

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