At first glance, George Kateb’s stirring plea for renewed moral reflection on the subject of human extinction seems utterly unobjectionable. The nuclear
situation does create a radical discontinuity with the past: for the first time human extinction is conceivable not as the result of some natural disaster, but as the work of our own hands. It is to Kateb’s credit that he has reopened the discussion. The philosophical position he defends with respect to this issue is a coherent one. And yet, there is something disturbing about the way in which he addresses the subject. My initial reaction was similar to the one I had upon reading the work on the subject most admired by Kateb, The Fate of The Earth: to acquiesce speechlessly, for what can one say when confronted with the topic in this way?
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