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Exophilosophy

This is a sample chapter from Supervert's book Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish. The book consists of sets of interleaved texts that also progress through four different sequences: Alien Sex Scenes (ASS), Methods of Deterrestrialization (MOD), Lessons in Exophilosophy (LIE), and Digressions and Tangents (DAT).

INDEX LIE 01 Alpha
ABSTRACT Exophilosophy

Buried within the canon of philosophy are the histories of numerous other philosophies, repressed systems of thought that sometimes emerge like cerebral ghosts to haunt the rational, daylight world of the lumen naturale. Plato's transmigration of souls, Descartes' pineal gland, Berkeley's tar water, Nietzsche's eternal return — these are the notions that embarrass philosophy, that are explained away with reference to ignorance of the times or idiosyncrasies of the thinker. But sometimes these cryptophilosophies refuse to go away: they appear again and again, in the work of thinker after thinker, a mass hallucination that occurs not in a crowd in space but in a series over time. Such is the case of exophilosophy. What is it? Like its peer exobiology, exophilosophy is the study of life beyond earth — specifically the philosophical study of life beyond earth. In the broadest sense its objects include all theological entities (gods and angels and demons as extraterrestrial life forms) and the thousand other alien figures that populate philosophy: the daemon of Socrates, the Übermensch of Nietzsche, the Other of phenomenology. Not only advocacy but also the critical analysis of supramundane entities pertains as well, and thus the ghosts scorned by Spinoza and the spiritualists exposed by Schopenhauer also take their rightful place in the history of exophilosophy.

In its most restricted sense, however, exophilosophy does not concern itself with the paranormal in general but only with the study of alien life. In broad outline, exophilosophy begins in antiquity with the gradual attempt to separate exophilosophy proper from theology. Two competing conceptions of extraterrestrial life emerge: the materialist, for whom extraterrestrial life is a consequence of a plurality of worlds, and the idealist, for whom extraterrestrial life results from the eternity of the soul. After this the basic terms of the problem are not significantly altered until the Enlightenment, when developments in science (Galileo, Kepler, Newton) initiate an exophilosophical golden age: Descartes, Leibniz, Berkeley, Voltaire, Hume, and Kant all write enthusiastically about the plausibility of extraterrestrial life. With the advent of the nineteenth century, however, another transformation occurs. Philosophers still argue pro (Peirce, Bergson) and con (Hegel, Kierkegaard) about extraterrestrial life, but at the same time the very question itself becomes an object of consideration. While scientists assume the lead in considerations of existence and non-existence, relating the problem of extraterrestrial life to discoveries in physics, chemistry, and biology, philosophers submit it to various kinds of meta-analysis: John Stuart Mill criticizes the analogical reasoning behind the belief in extraterrestrial life, and Ludwig Wittgenstein approaches it from a linguistic vantage point.

The history of exophilosophy can thus be divided into three stages. The first, encompassing antiquity and the Middle Ages, concerns itself with three basic problems: the plurality of worlds, the relation of the cosmos and the soul, and exomorphology or the form and appearance of extraterrestrial beings. The second stage, which begins with the Enlightenment and extends through the nineteenth century, is the heyday of exophilosophy as such: nearly every major philosopher of the period directly participates in the debate concerning extraterrestrial life. New problems are formulated, theology is slowly disentangled from exophilosophy, and in general there emerges an awareness or self-consciousness about the status of belief in extraterrestrial life qua belief. The third period, which begins around the turn of the century, witnesses the gradual appropriation of exophilosophy by various branches of science. Many of the problems remain the same, but their solutions come to depend on technical arguments concerning planetary formation, the chemical origin of life, and so on. In reaction, exophilosophy retreats to various kinds of meta-analysis, which remain within the traditional philosophical purviews of logic and epistemology. Exophilosophical issues continue to conceal themselves in sublimated form in other areas of philosophy — is the Other of phenomenology not an essentially alien being? — but not without new possibilities for exophilosophy already making their appearance on the horizon.

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