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7 March 2022 - 7 March 2022

3:45PM - 5:15PM

PO004, Philosophy Department and on Zoom

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Philosophical Issues in Space Science Seminar Series 2022: Philipp Spillmann (University of Cambridge)

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Title: Against biological solipsism 

Abstract: Philosophers and scientists alike have argued that life on Earth constitutes a single ‘instance’, ‘sample’ or ‘example’ of life. In this presentation I will identify four different ways in which this claim can be understood and defended. My aim is to show that none of these defences are strong enough to establish a ‘solipsistic view’ on biological extrapolation. That is, any view that holds that predictions to unknown occurrences of life are principally unjustifiable on the grounds of a single, observable instance of life alone. I will present four different types of biological solipsism and discuss what it would take to establish or reject each of these types. I will conclude by outlining some potential consequences for the science of astrobiology in cases in which the conditions for accepting or rejecting a given type of biological solipsism are met in scientific practice. 


Join Zoom Meeting: 

Meeting ID: 940 6702 7268
Passcode: 416504


All welcome – please contact to confirm attendance