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SETI: A Critical History: Contents

SETI: A Critical History is a copy of the following PhD thesis, reproduced here with permission:

 

SETI's Scope
How the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Became Disconnected from New Ideas About Extraterrestrials

 

by Mark A. Sheridan
Drew University
May 2009

 

© 2009 by Mark A. Sheridan
All rights reserved

 

Cover

 

Dedication

 

Opening quote

 

Some important events in the history of SETI

 

1. Introduction

 


Part I. Constructing SETI

 

2. SETI science

 

    Greenbank
    Intelligent life in the Universe
    Uniformitarianism
    The principle of mediocrity
   SETI constructed within the boundaries of the traditional ETI discourse

 

3. SETI as popular science

 

    ETI portraiture as a rhetorical site
    SETI-ETI
    Popular expositions of ETI science
    SETI and the scientific community

 


Part II. Expanding the ETI discourse

 

4. The rehabilitation of "mind"

 

5. The Soviet critique of SETI

 

    Differences in attitudes toward ETIs
    Differences in temperament
    Differences in intellectual traditions
    Byurakan-II

 

6. The evolutionists' critique of SETI

 

    Dueling improbabilities
    "New" evolutionists
    Eiseley: the possibility of non-humanoid ETIs
    Simpson: making SETI's assumptions overt
    Talking the talk
    Byurakan-II: deepening the evolutionists' critique and expanding SETI's response
    Dobzhansky: deterministic thinking


7. The philosophers' critique of SETI

 

8. Plausible non-humanoid ETIs

 

    ETIs with non-humanoid sensorial
    Superorganisms
    Neutron star beings
    Superconductor ETIs

 


Part III. Implications of the expanded ETI discourse for SETI

 

9. Reactions to the "nature"-based critiques

 

    Project Cyclops
    The Morrison workshops
    Congress
    Name change

 

10. Inflection

 

    SETI's standing in the scientific community
    Pascal's wager
    Signs of wearying
    Commission 51
    The inflection point in popular culture
    Giving up the ghost

 

11. Evanescence

 

    1993: annus horribilis
    Today
    SETI in the popular culture

 

12. Conclusion

 


Bibliographical essay

 


Bibliography

 

SETI: Primary and secondary sources
The ETI discourse: Secondary sources
The ETI discourse: Primary sources
Texts that directly discuss ETIs
Popular expositions of ETI science
"Hard" science fiction featuring ETIs
ETI portraiture in American film and television