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    Widening perspectives: the intellectual and social benefits of Astrobiology, Big History, and the exploration of space

    Crawford, Ian (2021) Widening perspectives: the intellectual and social benefits of Astrobiology, Big History, and the exploration of space. In: Crawford, Ian (ed.) Expanding Worldviews: Astrobiology, Big History and Cosmic Perspectives. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings 58. Springer, pp. 341-365. ISBN 9783030704810.

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    Astrobiology is the field of science devoted to searching for life elsewhere in the Universe. It is inherently interdisciplinary, integrating results from multiple fields of science, and in this respect has strong synergies with ‘big history’. I argue that big history and astrobiology are both acting to widen human perspectives in intellectually and socially beneficial directions, especially by enhancing public awareness of cosmic and evolutionary worldviews. I will further argue that these perspectives have important implications for the social and political organisation of humanity, including the eventual political unification of our planet. Astrobiology and big history are also concerned with the future of humanity, and I will argue that this future will be culturally and intellectually enriched if it includes the exploration of the universe around us. An earlier version of this chapter was originally published in the Journal of Big History, Vol. III(3), pp. 205–224 (2019). Specifically, the book addresses the unified, all-embracing, nature of knowledge, the impact of big history on humanity and the world at large, the possible impact of SETI on astrobiology and big history, the cultural signature of Earth’s inhabitants beyond the atmosphere, and the political implications of a planetary worldview. The principal readership is envisaged to comprise scholars working in the fields of astrobiology, big history and space exploration interested in forging interdisciplinary links between these diverse topics, together with educators, and a wider public, interested in the societal implications of the cosmic and evolutionary perspectives engendered by research in these fields.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This is an Author Accepted Manuscript version of the chapter, reproduced with permission. The final authenticated version is available online at the link above.
    School: School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 11:52
    Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 00:10


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