For some questions in philosophy and ethics, the ultimate answer is the welfare and continuation of the human race.

Nations are spending millions of dollars on space programs in case of a global disaster like an asteroid strike. The reason for such programs is given as progress towards the greater goal of survival of mankind. However, this money could arguably be used for the welfare of existing poor.

Why is it necessary that the human race has to continue at all? Is this only related to satisfy emotional needs of humans?

  • Why not? If you have a criticism of our continued survival then you should state it. If not, you have a vague feeling, not a question that can be answered.
    – alanf
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 11:32
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    I don't see the philosophical problem Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 12:03
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    There's a utility question being asked, certainly, as to whether abstract programmes for the survival of humanity are worth funding, but I think that's a simplification of the nature of, say, space exploration, which is also about the prospect of further expansion, possible resource acquisition and scientific interest. Whether there is such a project as "preserve humanity", even in the individual reproductive choices of human beings, would be something for which I'd want to see more examples.
    – Paul Ross
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 19:59
  • @JamesKingsbery He asked you what role humans play in the universe at all? After all who needs humans when there are plants.
    – Asphir Dom
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 14:36
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    Gaj, Could you give some examples of 'some questions'?
    – user2953
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


Any system of values that depends for value on the desires of living humans, or on the presence of rational thinkers, and which generally has positive value--and this is practically all of them--will support survival of the human race.

Also, evolved organisms have evolved to sustain their species; organisms whose actions lead them to go extinct are assuredly highly suboptimal, and it is doubtful that we intend to be that suboptimal given how central various species-survival actions are to our lives (sex, raising children, teaching, etc.).

So it's not logically necessary in that you can always "not care". But otherwise, survival of humanity trumps pretty much everything else out there as all other value depends on it and there's nothing that we've been more strongly selected to do.


I answer you categorically yes! It is necessary that the mankind has to continue at all because we are the only ones -as far as we know- who possess those that we call intelligence. There are many reasons to affirm what I say. We can, in fact, find a reason for each branch of knowledge if we search. That's don't mean that the reason you asked is gnoseological, but our action of think on things and act according to our observation gives us a superior grade of dignity than all others known entities in the Universe. This is intelligence is dignity. We are all agreed that human beings has more dignity than other phenomenological entities, but that dignitive superiority of Mankind only can be based on our inteligence because there are no other differences between us and gorillas or other biological beings. So the development of our intellectual act is what gives us reasons to save the Mankind from the inexistence or the dissapearance and it justifies our wish of continuity is not related only to our emotional needs because emotion is a small, non-representative, fraction of the totality of the inteligence. Inteligence consists -in addition to other things- in the knowledge of reality that is, thus we can find reasons to our existence and continuity in the depth of the reality itself through our wisdom. I will give you a practical example of how do it the manner I propose, that is, justify our continuity in our inteligence. I'll show the most intrincate argument that I consider now, the rest are suchlike and not much more difficult.

The necessity of the continuity of de Mankind by its necessity of continuity

This is the more categorical argument I have found. For the concept of necessity of continuity we need the phenomenological notion of necessity, which is perceived by the human beings and provoked by a noumenological entity, but the necessity itself is something phenomenological -at least what we perceive-. The phenomenon of necessity are captured by human understanding through the intelectual act of perceive the forms of reality adapted to our senses in the experience which we received from the reality via our perception. Thereby if our continuity were contingent to Universe, the concept itself of necessity would be contingent and therefore there aren't necessary entities in the Universe except the concept of contingency, which would be the unique possible concept relative to existenciality with meaning mediated by our thinking. Hence the necessity of beings who postulate the necessity itself, i.e., human beings, is proved by the absolute necessity. Thus our categorical argument prove the necessity of continuity of mankind downright.

  • I do not agree that humans have more dignity in any deep sense (perhaps in the shallow sense that dignity is a social construct humans apply to each other to help regulate their interactions). So, no, we're not all agreed. (Also, the categorical argument fails trivially by noting that necessity (of that strong sort) might not exist.)
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 20:05

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