Critique of Alien Reason: Toward a Critical Interplanetary Humanities


This essay argues for a more methodologically diverse search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and study of habitable exoplanets that might contribute to the emergent field of critical habitability studies across the sciences and humanities. Whether or not contact is made with extraterrestrials, this effort is implicated in changing concepts of otherness at home and the ongoing work to decolonize Earth and make it more inhabitable. I examine historical efforts to think aliens philosophically in the work of Kant, to conclude with a reflection on the trope of contact between humans, nonhuman animals, and aliens in Ted Chiang’s short story “The Great Silence.”

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