Prof. Simon Cottle: Massacre of the Innocents: On Historically Shifting Registers of Humanitarianism,  and Why it Matters Today      


NEXT MEETING ON-LINE VIA ZOOM at 7:30pm on 20th April 2021

The possibility of the extinction of the human species has been around since at least the early 19th century when Tomas Malthus published his Essay on the Principle of Population, and later in Darwin's Origin of Species which broadened this out by considering the elimination over time of species of all kinds to be an inevitable consequence of the principle of natural selection. Scientists have identified five mass extinctions of animal species, and some speculate we are now in a sixth, believed to be largely the consequence of human activity. This activity, which has implications for the biosphere as a whole, involves climate change arising from increasing levels of greenhouse gases from the use of fossil fuels, human population growth, deforestation and overuse of land for agricultural production.  Some predict the likelihood of an environmental catastrophe leading to the extinction of the human species within the next hundred years. This is now a subject of wide-ranging debate. The talk comprises some thoughts on this debate from the perspective of philosophy and the history of ideas.

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