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Alien Phenomenology

Alien Phenomenology

Chapter:
(p.1) [1] Alien Phenomenology
Source:
Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing
Author(s):
Ian Bogost
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816678976.003.0001

This chapter explores the concept of alien phenomenology. SETI’s (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) fundamental assumption states that if there is life in the universe, it ought to be able to recognize its counterparts by pointing radio astronomy apparatuses like the VLA (Very Large Array) in their direction, and to understand their answer. In the 1980s, German American Philosopher Nicholas Rescher argued against SETI’s insistence that the signs of extraterrestrial life would resemble detectable communication technology. Rescher suggested that extraterrestrials are perhaps so alien that their science and technology is incomprehensible to us; we could never understand it as intelligence. The alien might not be life, at all. The alien is not limited to another person, or even another creature.

Keywords:   alien phenomenology, SETI, extraterrestrial life, universe, radio astronomy, Nicholas Rescher, extraterrestrials, science, technology, intelligence

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