Jurassic Park and Philosophy: The Truth Is Terrifying (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Jurassic Park and Philosophy: The Truth Is Terrifying (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Nicolas Michaud, Jessica Watkins

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0812698479

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Jurassic Park and Philosophy: The Truth Is Terrifying (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Nicolas Michaud, Jessica Watkins

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0812698479

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Twenty-one philosophers investigate the implications of the Jurassic Park franchise for our lives, our values, and our future. Human beings live and thrive by modifying nature, but when do the risks of changing nature outweigh the likely benefits? If it’s true that “Life will find a way,” should we view any modified or newly reconstituted life as a hazard? The new scientific information we could gain by bringing back T. Rex or other dinosaurs is immense, but should we choose to let sleeping dinosaurs lie? And if we do bring them back by reconstituting them from ancient DNA, are they really what they were, or is something missing? How do the different forces — human curiosity, profitability, and philanthropy — interact to determine what actually happens in such cases? What moral standards should be applied to those who try to bring back lost worlds? The idea of bringing back the dead and the powerful is not limited to biological species. It also applies to bringing back old gods, old philosophies, old institutions, and old myths. If revived and once again let loose to walk the Earth, these too may turn out to be more dangerous than we bargained for.

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view is required. Everything that can be known about them can be known from the “outside.” But our conscious lives don’t seem to be like that; our mental lives are private. And this suggests a problem for the idea that human beings and dinosaurs are entirely physical: it can’t account for the what-it’s-like aspect of consciousness. Let’s look at two ways of explaining this problem. What We Can’t Know about the T. rex What would it be like to be a Tyrannosaurus rex?1 Take a moment to think about

That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think? Then again, wouldn’t you call someone who destroys other people’s equipment a bit of a jerk? Wouldn’t you be especially annoyed if that person was messing around with dangerous animals, putting lives at risk, and bypassing safety measures? I guess you’d say anyone who would do this might certainly be a bastard. But, what if that person is doing it for the right reasons? Is it okay to be a bastard to save the Earth? Let’s see. InGen arrived on Isla Sorna

dinosaur-frog-hybrids. These animals, in their modern forms, didn’t evolve naturally; their existence is rather the result of technology and human involvement. And still, they are living beings who appear to be as much a part of their natural surroundings as any animal would be. Hammond mixes the dinosaurs’ natural elements with modern technology—and, so, we can’t decide on whether they are one or the other. Natural Philosophy . . . but with Dinosaurs We usually think of the natural and the

been largely unexplained motions of the Solar System into an orderly and predictable system. Armed with Newton’s physics, it seemed possible to feed in the current state of some physical system, turn a mathematical crank, and with a bit of effort, predict what the system would be doing at any point in the future. The mathematical effort might be huge, but it was finite. And while the future of a physical system might be difficult to predict, that was only a result of our limited knowledge and

whether or not it is sensible to bring a species that has been extinct for millions of years back to life! If you’re prudent, then you’ll know the proper thing to do, no matter what situation you find yourself in. Temperance is the restraint of excess, enjoying just the right amount of something. For example, John Hammond might have been tempted to overindulge his celebratory drink when he first meets Dr. Grant in person, but such drunkenness and loss of control would hardly be virtuous. The

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