Thinking Outer Space: Philosophy, Astroculture and the Histories of Planetarity
Berlin, 19–21 July 2023
Deadline for proposals: Wednesday, 15 March 2023
Participants will be informed by: Monday, 3 April 2023
In the past decade, historians, humanists and social scientists have begun to realize that the exploration of outer space was much more than a technoscientific enterprise. Rather, it was also prepared and accompanied, critiqued and opposed by a wide array of intellectuals from Hannah Arendt, Hans Blumenberg and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to Carl Schmitt, Marshall McLuhan and Jean-François Lyotard. Weighing postwar world orders, environmental consciousness, cosmic solitude and human futures from an extra-terrestrial perspective, these philosophers contributed to the planetization of Earth through the thinking of space.
How we understand our diverse relationships to outer space is of vital importance today when it has become the site of new waves of geopolitical competition and commercial speculation. State and corporate plans for colonizing the Moon and Mars have captured the public imagination and budgets alike, while the threat of military confrontation and environmental destruction beyond Earth is rapidly expanding. Examining how philosophers and thinkers from a variety of intellectual traditions conceived, comprehended and communicated outer space is crucial to contextualizing the so-called ‘new’ Space Age. The endeavor will help to understand the intellectual and ethical foundations for contemporary interest in planetarity and what some believe to be a dawning Second Space Age.