В. В. Рубцов, А. Д. Урсул, Проблема внеземных цивилизаций
V. V. Rubtsov, A. D. Ursul.
THE PROBLEM OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL CIVILIZATIONS.
Philosophical and methodological aspects
The problem of extraterrestrial civilizations (ETC's or also ETI) is multidisciplinary and complex in structure. It includes subproblems of ETC essence, ETC existence, ETC search, ETC study and contacts with ETC's. The problem was posed scientifically in the early 60-ies and was associated with development of the theoretical grounds and practical commencement of the search for extraterrestrial radio signals; as a result it was reduced to the problem of the communication with ETC's. Experimental developments did not however yield much success. Although this negative result could be doubted in terms of both the instrumental sensitivity and the total duration of the experiments, most researchers took it as a realistic aastrosociological paradox" to be explained. The efforts to find an explanation led on the one hand to attempts of revision of the initial hypothesis of more than one inhabited world, and on the other hand u to foundation of a new, second approach to the ETC problem, in conformity with the proper structure of the problem, without the former reduction. Each of the above mentioned five subproblems may be posed both theoretically (by development of the theory and method) and practically (application of the theory and method to research). Central to the new approach to the problem is the development of a detailed hypothetic cosmic civilization theory (aastrosociology") based on the available knowledge of the most general and invariant characteristics of the terrestrial civilization. The authors of the book hold this basis to be first of all the achievements of the social sciences and the Humanities.
Regarding the cosmic civilization as a sociocultural system, the authors come to the conclusion on the essential unity of all civilizations and their comparability in the degrees of development. A more advanced cosmic civilization is thus the one which exhibits more complete potentialities of the social stage of the material universe development in general, a aricher" in its intrinsic properties and its interrelations with the world.
The objects to be searched in the problem of extraterrestrial civilizations may be extraterrestrial social subjects proper and manifestations of their activities as well. In the general case the terrestrial civilization searches for a certain result of the ETC activity, so as to acquire information on an extraterrestrial civilization by studying it. However the activity of an ETC and its nature as a subject materially alter the search by making it both asimpler" (in that we may rely on the assistance of the asought party") and more complicated than the search of the object (the character of the activity may not be aguessed", but must be predicted based on a certain theory). The negative experimental results were unreasonably treated as the proof (or one of proofs) of solitude of the terrestrial civilization primarily because to the empirical basis provided by the experiments an astrosociological meaning is ascribed, whereas it is rather a acontactologic" basis (and very incomplete, poor).
The book considers one of possible ways to construct the theoretical acontactology" based on the activity approach. The contact of civilizations is a variety of their cosmic activities and may include, in addition to communication, also transformation, cognition and value orientation. Communication is of particular interest, because it has been the subject of most efforts to date on the search for the ETC's. Proceeding from the semiotic and cybernetic model of communication, the authors analyse the exchange of information between cosmic civilizations and prove the possibility of mutual understanding.
In experiments on ETC search equally important are attempts to find manifestations of ETC astroengineering activities. They are however impeded by the absence of any developed theoretical concept of the essence and typology of artificial phenomena. The book proposes a concept of the artificial based on the philosophical theory of culture. In contrast to the common apresumption of naturality", the authors propose the principle of equal status of the aartificial" and anatural" hypotheses of the nature of a phenomenon: the choice of the right explanation depends on the completition of the alternative scientific research programmes generated by the hypotheses.
The search principles on which the second approach to the ETC problem is based are also different from those developed by the first one. In addition to the methods of the contact accessible now to the terrestrial civilization, the aprincipally nonprohibited" methods are proposed to be considered, including possible sophisticated cybernetic ETC probes or starships. These methods are fairly effective, and their relative cost to a highly developed cosmic civilization is comparable to that of more simple contact's methods to less advanced civilizations. In this context, of particular importance is the well-founded search for such probes within the Solar system, and also the search for possible evidence of paleovisits.
The book may in general be regarded as a first possible attempt of the correct (and thus productive) approach to the ETC problem, with due allowance: for its real structure and complexity.