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Émile P. Torres

According to the author, Human Extinction is a lot to read. At 457 pages, that’s about 13 hours. Émile Torres offers “a brief guided tour” via an article on Substack and an audio version of the article on YouTube.

Part I is an intellectual history of thinking about human extinction (mostly) within the Western tradition.
Part II is a history of Western thinking about the ethical and evaluative implications of human extinction.

So, whenever someone asks you: “Would human extinction be bad?,” the first thing you should do is huff back: “What do you mean by ‘human’?” and “What do you mean by ‘extinction’?” Only once you’re clear about the question can you begin to answer it coherently.

This session is an opportunity to consider extinction as a starting point for the future and grapple with the existential predicament of human extinction with Torres.

Book description

from Routledge

This volume traces the origins and evolution of the idea of human extinction from the ancient Presocratics through contemporary work on “existential risks.”

Many leading intellectuals agree that the risk of human extinction this century may be higher than at any point in our 300,000-year history as a species. This book provides insight into the key questions that inform this discussion, including when humans began to worry about their own extinction and how the debate has changed over time. It establishes a new theoretical foundation for thinking about the ethics of our extinction, arguing that extinction would be very bad under most circumstances, although the outcome might be, on balance, good. Throughout the book, graphs, tables, and images further illustrate how human choices and attitudes about extinction have evolved in Western history. In its thorough examination of humanity’s past, this book also provides a starting point for understanding our future.

Although accessible enough to be read by undergraduates, Human Extinction contains new and thought-provoking research that will benefit even established academic philosophers and historians.

author émile torres
RSD12-Toronto and RSD12-ONLINE




Citation Data

Author(s): Émile P. Torres
Year: 2023
Title: Human Extinction | A History of the Science and Ethics of Annihilation
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 10 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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