Honors Theses

Date of Award

Fall 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Philosophy and Religion

First Advisor

Neil Manson

Second Advisor

Kyle Fritz

Third Advisor

Steven Skultety

Relational Format



This paper responds to issues that have been raised for environmental philosophy in light of developments in astrobiology and exoplanet science. In recent years, we have moved much closer to confronting evidence of life beyond Earth. Pairing such a discovery with a certain theoretical understanding of the universe, we might be motivated to address a question: with knowledge of abundant, potentially infinite alien life on Earth-like planets, why must we save our planet? In anticipation of this discovery, we can use this scenario, the Cosmic Perspective Problem, to refine a widely-held position with substantial implications for our environmental ethics. The purpose of this paper is to consider what happens when our scope is greatly increased, especially as nonanthropocentrists are concerned. It offers solutions for moving away from a maximizing consequentialist framework in favor of an ethical framework that better facilitates consistency in one’s environmental ethics.

Available for download on Monday, May 08, 2023

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