Positivism, Cosmism and Codes of Ethics in Space

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Cosmism isn’t necessarily tied towards logical positivism. However, quite a few authors do connect the two. There are some very serious differences between the two philosophies, however. Logical positivists are usually focused on moral relativity and a simple view of ethics.

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Cosmism is somewhat silent on these issues, but one could definitely look at cosmism from an idealist point of view. Unlike logical positivism, Russian cosmism espouses a certain code of ethics. These ethics repeatedly reference the exploration of space. Since humanity has become more civil over time, a cosmist might argue that taking a leap into the stars would simply be the next logical development for mankind. Humans would be expected to become more peaceful in space.

The question of how to handle force and violence is always a complicated one. Modern societies have put a state monopoly on the use of force, but many people argue that peace-loving citizens should be able to defend themselves when the time comes. No amount of philosophical discussion can truly decide how futuristic societies will handle their criminals. Cosmism has an optimistic view on this, however. It seems to suggest that criminal behavior will be on the way out when people live in space colonies.

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  • Jason, you bring up several topics at once. One is the assumption that humanity is destined to explore outer space and live there. That’s what I grew up believing, but now I’m wondering if that was a false assumption. Oh, we might colonize the Moon and Mars, and build a few space habitats, be even those possibilities are suspect. I don’t think mankind is destined for the stars anymore. Our robotic descendants will go, but not us.

    I used to think we needed to go into space to get our genetic eggs out of one nest, but I’m starting to doubt that will happen. That means preserving the environment is more important than ever because the length of humanity’s lifetime will be tied to the Earth. So the real ethical considerations is how we preserve the environment.

    • Jason Carr

      I agree whole-heartedly regarding the planet Jim however the problem is that I don’t think we’ll stop until we’ve done irreparable damage to it. This is a complicated issue as you know with very powerful detractors and far too many politicians that are more worried about getting re-elected in the next term rather than what is happening to Earth. This is why I feel so strongly that we must continue along the path of planetary exploration. And yes, robots are the way to go right now but what about when humans evolve to the point that we are able to travel great distances to grow and thrive on planets that might someday be built by those very same robots? And I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that we could somehow colonize Mars even with technologies available today if we had to. I don’t know…this is all speculative in nature but I continue to cling to the hope that humanity will survive long after we’ve destroyed this planet. You’re of course right…the ethical path is to take care of this planet. So given the fact that we’re destroying so much at an accelerated rate, what does that say about us as a species? I don’t think ethics plays into the equation when considered in that context.

  • I think we can and should colonize the Moon and Mars. But will we? It’s not about politicians who want to get re-elected. It’s about rich people wanting to control politics so they can get richer. We have become a plutocracy. There is no money to be made colonizing space. There is no money to be made mining space. And it takes a big government to explore space. We live in a country where half the people refuse to protect the environment because it will interfere in their quest for wealth. These people want to shrink the government. That means an end to manned space exploration.

    Imagine where we’d be in space if we spent 1/5th of the defense budget on space exploration? Or even 1/10th! What if Nixon back in 1969 hadn’t gutted the Apollo budget, but had stopped the Vietnam war to divert money to the space program. We’ve had the money, technology and know how all along, but we’ve elected not to follow that path. I don’t see things changing in America in that regards. Let’s hope the Chinese think differently.

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