Vol 27 No 3 (2011)
Ontology, Values, and Pluralism


German Ulises Bula
Universidad de la Salle
A picture of three deer in Yosemite National Park.
Published July 14, 2011
  • philosophy of astronomy,
  • environmental philosophy,
  • Copernicanism,
  • Huygens,
  • astrobiology


The following text explores the spiritual consequences of one possible solution to Fermis Paradox (the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life given the amount of planets where it could evolve, assuming the Copernican Mediocrity Principle). The solution known as Rare Earth Hypothesis posits that the Earth is, in fact, rare or unique, because there were several unlikely factors that contributed to the evolution of a self-regulating atmosphere and complex intelligent life. Following the work of Anne Primavesi, we propose that the Rare Earth Hypothesis calls for seeing life on Earth as a freely given gift, to which we owe a debt of gratitude. We propose that Copernican humility in relation to the place of Man in the Universe need not be abandoned, but rather complemented by awe and gratitude towards the gift of life. This attitude is explored through a re-reading of Huygens Cosmotheoros in light of the Rare-Earth Hypothesis.