Thus, what unifies Nietzsche's seemingly disparate critical remarks — about altruism, happiness, pity, equality, Kantian respect for persons, utilitarianism, etc. Indeed, when we turn to the details of Nietzsche's criticisms of these norms we find that, in fact, this is precisely what he argues.
Not those who will live years from now, but 1, or 10, years from now. These risks are not just for big disasters, but for the disasters that could end history. Not everyone has ignored the long future though. Mystics like Nostradamus have regularly tried to calculate the end of the world.
HG Wells tried to develop a science of forecasting and famously depicted the far future of humanity in his book The Time Machine. Other writers built other long-term futures to warn, amuse or speculate.
We are in a more privileged position today. Human activity has been steadily shaping the future of our planet. And even though we are far from controlling natural disasters, we are developing technologies that may help mitigate, or at least, deal with them.
Future imperfect Yet, these risks remain understudied. There is a sense of powerlessness and fatalism about them. People have been talking apocalypses for millennia, but few have tried to prevent them.
Humans are also bad at doing anything about problems that have not occurred yet partially because of the availability heuristic — the tendency to overestimate the probability of events we know examples of, and underestimate events we cannot readily recall.
If humanity becomes extinct, at the very least the loss is equivalent to the loss of all living individuals and the frustration of their goals. But the loss would probably be far greater than that. Human extinction means the loss of meaning generated by past generations, the lives of all future generations and there could be an astronomical number of future lives and all the value they might have been able to create.
If consciousness or intelligence are lost, it might mean that value itself becomes absent from the universe. This is a huge moral reason to work hard to prevent existential threats from becoming reality. And we must not fail even once in this pursuit.
But there are caveats that must be kept in mind, for this list is not final. Over the past century we have discovered or created new existential risks — supervolcanoes were discovered in the early s, and before the Manhattan project nuclear war was impossible — so we should expect others to appear.
Also, some risks that look serious today might disappear as we learn more. The probabilities also change over time — sometimes because we are concerned about the risks and fix them. There are some risks we cannot do anything at all about, such as gamma ray bursts that result from the explosions of galaxies.
But if we learn we can do something, the priorities change. For instance, with sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics, pestilence went from an act of God to bad public health.
Nuclear war While only two nuclear weapons have been used in war so far — at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II — and nuclear stockpiles are down from their the peak they reached in the Cold War, it is a mistake to think that nuclear war is impossible. In fact, it might not be improbable.
The Cuban Missile crisis was very close to turning nuclear.Twain's Argument Rhetorical Strategies Ethos: The Damned Human Race Katie Eric Taylor by: Mark Twain Logos: * Acquiring information through the use of logical methods such as the scientific method which requires an analysis without guessing or speculation.
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Dante's Inferno, Circle 7 - View presentation slides online. An overview of Circle 7 (the Violent) of Dante's Inferno.
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Linda Kimball is the author of numerous published articles and essays on culture, politics, and worldview. Her writings are published both nationally and internationally. Linda is a team member of Grassfire, New Media Alliance, and MoveOff.