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Are we alone in this vast universe? Some think that’s highly unlikely. With new technologies joining the search, NASA estimates we’ll find definitive evidence of aliens within 20 to 30 years. Which raises the vital question: And then what? Will the news inspire jubilation, despair, or fear? Will aliens be seen as gods or interlopers? Evidence of alien life will provoke fundamental questions about our place in the universe–not just about who they are, but also who we are. Join astronomers, astrobiologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and linguists as we ponder these issues.
This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
Karen Lewis is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University. She specializes in philosophy of language, with a particular focus on the interface between semantics and pragmatics. Her work is informed both by philosophy and linguistics and much of it seeks to explain how a conversational context affects what a speaker communicates, and vice versa.Read More