CFP: SSoCIA 2022 - the Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology

Submission deadline: October 17, 2021

Conference date(s):
March 7, 2022 - March 9, 2022

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Mississippi
Oxford, United States

Topic areas


This will be the 4th biannual meeting of The Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (SSoCIA). This is a new organization dedicated to rigorous exploration of the many broader issues surrounding astrobiology and space exploration more generally. We are a young and growing community, with about 150 active members representing academics from natural science, social science, and the humanities (including philosophy); professionals working in the space industry; as well as experts from the communication, education, and science fiction communities. Our goal is to foster serious, thoughtful engagement with these issues in an informal and friendly atmosphere. The program will consist peer-reviewed submissions, several panel discussions, and two keynote addresses (Simon Conway Morris and Seth Shostak).

We welcome abstract submissions addressing any of the issues in astrobiology and space exploration that go beyond the purely empirical, regardless of discipline or approach.  Questions addressed in previous meetings have included:

·      What is “life”?

·      Is human colonization of other worlds morally permissible?

·      Should we move forward with attempts to contact extraterrestrial intelligence (METI)?

·      What is the ethical status of different types of extraterrestrials?

·      How can we overcome problems inherent in interspecies communication?

·      What would be the religious significance of a second genesis?

·      To what extent can we say human and alien intelligence and motives are similar?

·      How should off world colonies be governed?

·      What should be the model of ownership for regions beyond Earth?

·      Is the prime directive an appropriate ethical principle to use for first contact?

·      How do our attitudes towards space reflect unexamined cultural tropes?

·      What are the public’s attitudes towards large scale space projects?

·      Is it possible to “pollute” a lifeless world?

·      What does “wilderness” mean beyond Earth?

·      How can we use astrobiology to further science education?

Graduate students are especially encouraged to apply and we anticipate being able to offer some support for their participation.  

Submit a 250-word abstract for a presentation or poster (please, no UFO papers) by October 17, 2021 to program chair Kelly Smith:  [email protected].

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