Would an encounter of the third kind be the last kind we ever have? moral considerations on human and alien communication

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


One constant theme which runs through the many franchises stemming from the movie Alien is the lack of morality shown by aliens in respect to their treatment of humans; whether hunting us for fun, using us as carriers of offspring, or eating us as a source of food, the aliens have a clear lack of care for us. What fascinates me are the questions which arises from this about our own sense of morality, and whether it really is a worrying possibility that an encounter of the Third Kind will be the last kind we ever have. I wish to explore these key themes with the use of the Alien franchise as a case study, where I will consider the sorts of moral demands and dilemmas which humans will inevitably face in our interaction with intelligent alien life forms, including themes of religion, legal status, and most interesting to me, vegetarianism. What difference will it make to us to interact with aliens and cyborgs, rather than humans, and if we justify the capture and slaughter of lesser life forms on this planet to satisfy our hunger, then must we also accept a superior alien’s desire to eat us? Would the existence of aliens prove religion wrong, and how would our legal system cope - would they have the same sorts of rights? These pressing issues are excellently brought to the forefront of our mind by the Alien franchise, and especially now with not only our constant search for extraterrestrial life, but our desire to develop advanced artificial life, we need to have these discussions more than ever
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event40 years of Alien - Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 May 201924 May 2019

Academic conference

Academic conference40 years of Alien
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Alien
  • alien life
  • philosophy
  • ethics


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