The Frontiers Collection

Extraterrestrial Altruism

Evolution and Ethics in the Cosmos

Editors: Vakoch, Douglas A. (Ed.)

  • Discusses the important issue of whether there are dangers in transmitting signals into space to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence
  • Clarifies the many meanings of altruism—from taking care of close relatives to helping complete strangers—and asks why extraterrestrials would care about us
  • Offers an interdisciplinary approach to extraterrestrial altruism
  • Advances innovative approaches to communicating altruism through pictures, mathematics, and logic—providing new insights into designing interstellar messages that convey humankind’s highest values
  • First comprehensive volume on extraterrestrial altruism
  • With a Foreword by Frank Drake
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  • ISBN 978-3-642-37750-1
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-642-37749-5
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-662-51063-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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About this book

Extraterrestrial Altruism examines a basic assumption of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI): that extraterrestrials will be transmitting messages to us for our benefit. This question of whether extraterrestrials will be altruistic has become increasingly important in recent years as SETI scientists have begun contemplating transmissions from Earth to make contact.

Technological civilizations that transmit signals for the benefit of others, but with no immediate gain for themselves, certainly seem to be altruistic. But does this make biological sense? Should we expect altruism to evolve throughout the cosmos, or is this only wishful thinking? Is it dangerous to send messages to other worlds, as Stephen Hawking has suggested, or might humankind benefit from an exchange with intelligence elsewhere in the galaxy? Would extraterrestrial societies be based on different ethical principles, or would we see commonalities with Earthly notions of morality? Extraterrestrial Altruism explores these and related questions about the motivations of civilizations beyond Earth, providing new insights that are critical for SETI.

Chapters are authored by leading scholars from diverse disciplines—anthropology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, cosmology, engineering, history of science, law, philosophy, psychology, public policy, and sociology. The book is carefully edited by Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute and professor of clinical psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The Foreword is by Frank Drake.

This interdisciplinary book will benefit everybody trying to understand whether evolution and ethics are unique to Earth, or whether they are built into the fabric of the universe.

About the authors

Douglas A. Vakoch, Ph.D., is Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, as well as Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He serves as chair of both the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Study Group on Interstellar Message Construction and the IAA Study Group on Active SETI: Scientific, Technical, Societal, and Legal Dimensions. Through his membership in the International Institute of Space Law, Dr. Vakoch examines policy issues related to interstellar communication. His research spans the fields of psychology, anthropology, environmental studies, and space sciences, and his books include Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective (NASA, 2011); Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SUNY Press, 2011); Ecofeminism and Rhetoric: Critical Perspectives on Sex, Technology, and Discourse (Berghahn Books, 2011); Feminist Ecocriticism: Environment, Women, and Literature (Lexington Books, 2012); Altruism in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Springer, 2013); On Orbit and Beyond: Psychological Perspectives on Human Spaceflight (Springer, 2013); Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication (NASA, 2013); and Astrobiology, History, and Society: Life Beyond Earth and the Impact of Discovery (Springer, 2013).

Reviews

From the book reviews:

“This volume, edited by Vakoch (SETI Institute; California Institute of Integral Studies) is an unusual collection of 19 articles by researchers in diverse fields such as anthropology, astrophysics, history of science, engineering, computer science, environmental science, psychology, philosophy, nuclear warfare, and dolphin research. … This book gives a broad perspective on the human condition and will be enjoyable to readers with a wide range of interests. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic, general, and professional readers.” (T. Barker, Choice, Vol. 52 (4), December, 2014)


Table of contents (19 chapters)

  • Cosmic Evolution, Reciprocity, and Interstellar Tit for Tat

    Harrison, Albert A.

    Pages 3-22

  • Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Friends, Foes, or Just Curious?

    Michael, George

    Pages 25-35

  • Eliciting Altruism While Avoiding Xenophobia: A Thought Experiment

    Barkow, Jerome H.

    Pages 37-48

  • Predator—Prey Models and Contact Considerations

    Raybeck, Douglas

    Pages 49-63

  • Harmful ETI Hypothesis Denied: Visiting ETIs Likely Altruists

    Geller, Harold A.

    Pages 65-77

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-642-37750-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-642-37749-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-662-51063-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Extraterrestrial Altruism
Book Subtitle
Evolution and Ethics in the Cosmos
Editors
  • Douglas A. Vakoch
Series Title
The Frontiers Collection
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
eBook ISBN
978-3-642-37750-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-642-37750-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-642-37749-5
Softcover ISBN
978-3-662-51063-6
Series ISSN
1612-3018
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 329
Number of Illustrations and Tables
1 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour
Topics