Astrophilosopy, Exotheology, and Cosmic Religion: Extraterrestrial Life in a Process Universe applies Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy and the associated process philosophies of Henri Bergson, Teilhard de Chardin, and others to the interdisciplinary layers of astrobiology, extraterrestrial life, and the impact of discovery. This collection, edited by Andrew M. Davis and Roland Faber, asks questions such as “How have process thinkers imagined universal creative evolution and its implications for philosophies, theologies, and religions beyond earth?” and “How might their claims as to the primacy of organism, temporality, novelty, value, and mind enrich current discussions and debates across disciplines?”
As experts in their fields, the contributors are informed by, but not limited to, process conceptualities. The chapters not only advance recent discussions in astrobiology, cosmology, and evolution but also consider a constellation of philosophical topics, from shared extraterrestrial knowledge and values to the possibilities or limitations afforded by A.I. technology, the Fermi Paradox, the Drake Equation, and the increasing need to nurture the cosmic dimensions of theological and religious traditions.
Andrew M. Davis is program director for the Center for Process Studies at the Claremont School of Theology.
Roland Faber is Kilsby Family/John B. Cobb Jr. Professor of process studies at the Claremont School of Theology.
List of Figures
Foreword by Timothy E. Eastman
Acknowledgments by Roland Faber
Introduction: Process Philosophy and Extraterrestrial Life: Past, Present, and Future by Andrew M. Davis
Part I: Astrophilosophy
1. Prospects for a Universal Philosophy of Organism: Some Initial Reflections by Derek Malone-France
2. The Cosmological Context of the Origin of Life: Process Philosophy and the Hot Spring Hypothesis by Matthew David Segall and Bruce Damer
3. The Organic Universe and Otherworldly Lives: Bergson and Sagan by Wahida Khandker
4. The Connection-Action Principle: A Basis for Process Philosophy, Cosmic Creativity, and Value? by Mark Lupisella
5. Astrobiological Searches for Life and Shared Knowledge by Chelsea Haramia
Part II: Exotheology
6. Evolution Connected to Theory of Value by Process-Relational Astrotheology and Cosmotheology by Theodore Walker Jr.
7. Astrobiology, Astrotheology, and Cosmic Consciousness by Ted Peters
8. Astrobiology, Cosmotheology, and the Biological Universe: Implications for Religion and Theology by Steven J. Dick
9. From Negation to Exemplification: A Deeper Whiteheadian Cosmotheology by Andrew M. Davis
Part III: Cosmic Religion
10. Religious Belief and the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life: What’s Worldview Got to Do with It? by Constance M. Bertka
11. “Worlds as Numerous as the Grains of Sand of the Ganges”: Cosmic Pluralism and Swami Vivekananda’s Religion of the Future by Jeffery D. Long
12. Multiplicity without Tyranny: The Nonviolent Aim in Jainism and Whitehead’s Process Metaphysics by Brianne Donaldson
13. Extending the Noosphere into Intergalactic Life: Teilhard de Chardin and the Third Axial Age by Ilia Delio
14. Astrobiology without Biology: Will AI be Our Emissary or Our Bottleneck? by Noreen Herzfeld
15. A Darker Forest? The Fermi Paradox and Extraterrestrial Spiritual Life by Roland Faber
Epilogue: Theological Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life (1968) by Lewis S. Ford
This is a unique, fascinating, and unprecedented collection of cross-disciplinary essays on extraterrestrial life and intelligence. It is also an unusually coherent anthology. Its editors have asked the contributors to say whether and how A. N. Whitehead's "process thought," known for its adventurous and hopeful integration of science, cosmology, philosophy, and religious thought, might illuminate the possible discovery of living and thinking beings elsewhere in our universe—and even in a possibly larger plurality of worlds. In these diverse and well-crafted chapters, readers will discover scientifically informed, philosophically sophisticated, and theologically interesting explorations of a topic that will become increasingly important for years to come.
Astrobiologists have long realized the value of philosophy and theology for anticipating the impact of discovering life beyond Earth. But these fields can do so much more. With sophistication and masterful nuance, Astrophilosophy, Exotheology, and Cosmic Religion: Extraterrestrial Life in a Process Universe enchantingly demonstrates the true importance of these disciplines: by contemplating what it means to exist as living beings in the universe, process philosophers and theologians give us provocative insights into advancing the scientific search for alien Others.