Volume 44, Issue 3, Fall 2022
ISEE 2021 Special Issue
Michael Aaron Lindquist
Astroethics and the Non-Fungibility Thesis
This paper approaches the question of terraforming—the changing of extraterrestrial environments to be capable of harboring earth-based life—by arguing for a novel conception of moral status that accounts for extraterrestrial bodies like Mars. The paper begins by addressing pro-terraforming arguments offered by James S. J. Schwartz before offering the novel account of moral status. The account offered builds on and modifies Keekok Lee’s No External Teleology Thesis (NETT), while defending a proposed Non-Fungibility Thesis (NFT). The NETT is modified and defended with specific reference to Lee’s work on artifactuality and transgenic organisms. The NFT builds on work around objectification and irreplaceability, offering an account that recognizes the importance of bearers of value above and beyond the mere value they purportedly possess. Finally, the plausibility of the account is established by an overview of its applicability to other possible candidates for moral status.