Cosmic Political Theory

Uriel Abulof*, Shirley Le Penne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern political thought arrived on the heels of two revolutionary realizations: We are not at the center of the universe (Copernicus), which was not created for us (Darwin). How might political theory respond to a third revolutionary realization, that we are not alone, that other creatures, sentient and highly intelligent, share our vast universe? We explore answers through a dialogue between two political theorists, a human and an alien. Rather than superimposing astropolitics upon anthropolitics, we use the encounter to ask new questions, e.g., should PT foster bridges between humans and aliens, or harden the boundaries? Pitting Dark Forest Theory against the Campfire Theory, we outline the coming existential and existentialist turns in political theory, complementing Earth politics with exopolitics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-17
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • astropolitics
  • campfire theory
  • cosmic political theory
  • dark forest theory
  • exopolitics
  • extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI)
  • freedom and bad faith
  • narcissism
  • political existentialism
  • politics of fear


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