PHI107: Philosophy of Human Conduct
Prof. Carol Parker
October 14, 2010
Ethics and Space Exploration
In recent years, there has been a rise in debate over government spending on space exploration. It is hard to say that the deck is stacked in either way. There is much validity in the arguments from both sides of the gun. In this debate, I believe, the sides are both coming from the perspective of utilitarian ethics. Basically, it is a disagreement on which view’s decision will benefit the most people and cause the least amount of pain. Is it better to look toward the future? Or, is it more important to concentrate on the present? How do you compare pleasures that aren’t certainly known? These are just a few of the questions that heat up the debate over space exploration. Space exploration made its’ true step into the spotlight in 1957 with the launching of the Sputnik. (Dick, 2008) From there the possibilities of space exploration became endless. An unimaginable frontier was discovered and the whole world was completely behind the idea of the “final frontier”. Without diving too much into history; shuttle crashes, decrease in belief that significant space findings are useful to life on Earth, and the extraordinary economic downfall of late have changed the public’s view on the “importance” of the space programs funding. Those who are against the continuance of NASA funding and space exploration have a number of arguments at their disposal. The most heard argument from those against is, “We shouldn’t spend money on space exploration until we have solved our problems here on Earth”. (Hedman, 2005) There are obvious problems in the United States, i.e. global warming, resource depletion, incurable disease, healthcare, etc. The U.S. is at a current National Debt of 13.6 trillion dollars. (Simmons, 2010) The Department of treasury spent $414 billion dollars on paying interest to National Debt holders. (Simmons,...