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'Progressive Etudes on Human Progress.' Author: Stephanie Lynne Thorburn.

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One Planet'- artwork by Stephanie Lynne Thorburn. Acrylic paint & felt
One Planet'- artwork by Stephanie Lynne Thorburn. Acrylic paint & felt
2013-06-11 14:04:17 - ‘Progressive Etudes on Human Progress: Nanotechnology & Space Sciences’.

By Stephanie Lynne Thorburn.

This new Kindle text comprises a collection of studies on issues concerning human progress, human crises and societal transformation. The viability of nanotechnology and space sciences is assessed, with special reference to diversification of environmental discourse and the rhetorical promise of the Space Renaissance Initiative. The author’s work has been integral to the formation of the nascent sphere of Socioastronomy.

The collection encompasses three chapters: -

‘Earth Essay: The Promise & Wisdom of Nanotechnology.'

‘The Astrosociological Imagination & the Challenge of Human Progress.'

‘Space Advocacy: Ethical and Political Reflections'.

‘Progressive Etudes on Human Progress’ seeks to overcome the limitations of status-quo social constructs, assisting in the generation of new discourses to extend the human narrative in face of adversity and an uncertain future on Earth.

A resume of the key chapters: -

1. 'Earth Essay: The Promise & Wisdom of Nanotechnology'.

Resume: Stephanie Lynne Thorburn.

Abstract: ‘Earth essay’ is a fundamental paper. The work is advocating progressive, technological solutions and co-ordinated holistic education for the benefit of both citizens and government, to ensure a safe transitional phase toward a secure future for Earth and all its diverse incumbents. The author explores comparable approaches on environmental policy and the seductive wisdom of Nanotechnology. The paper addresses the profile of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, especially the organisation’s work within the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA, utilising further, a strategic case study of Nanospire Inc. The role of Oxford University Continuing Education is examined in relation to their vocational courses on

Nanotech and the wider ethical/ social context of new controversial technological developments.

Finally, the less conventional contribution and potential of space science advocated via the nascent Kepler Space Institute is highlighted. The author proposes that the ethos of KSU offers a missing link in 21st century progressive education, illuminating the latent potentials inherent to humanity’s projected future, with reference to Frank White’s concept of the ‘overview effect.'

Key concepts: Environmental Sociology, Sustainable development, Nanotechnology, eco centrism, techno centrism, ‘the overview effect space sciences, transformative studies, ‘techno humanism.'

Social Theorists: Max Weber, Raymond Murphy, Frank White, Adriano Autino.

2. ‘The Astrosociological Imagination: The Challenge of Human Progress.'

Resume of Research.

This concise second essay offers a resume of ‘The Astrosociological Imagination' providing a vignette of the essential substance of the dissertation in context of human progress. The central themes illustrated comprise: ethical considerations, transdisciplinarity & transformation and linear progress in the face of human adversity.
The paper was published in the first edition of the Journal of Space Philosophy, September 2012.


The paper offers an overview of 'The Astrosociological Imagination'. The author addresses the vision of human progress conceived by the space advocacy movement and its ethical and methodological parameters. These humanist sociology papers explore the core themes inherent to the rhetorical promise of societal transformation offered in the Space Renaissance Initiative manifesto.

3. 'Space Advocacy: Ethical and Political Reflections'.

This final paper was included in the collection of progressive etudes, to counterbalance advocacy debates regarding space sciences per se and the seductive rhetoric of the Space Renaissance. At the core of the paper are discursive ethical and political concerns, highlighting the requirements of a unified professional ethos and cohesive action to effectively accomplish the goals of space advocacy groups. The salient areas explored in greater depth are: key policy documents, internal politics & hierarchies within space related interest groups and the utilisation of appropriate technologies.

The essay includes an in-depth analysis of the political and ethical foundations of the Space Renaissance. Concluding recommendations, practical discourse analysis and future projections are integral elements of this work.

This collection of progressive etudes is presented and authored by: Stephanie Lynne Thorburn.
Copyright 2013. (Words: 13,000).

‘Progressive Etudes on Human Progress’ is now available as a KDP select Kindle edition.

See Amazon US: ..

Amazon UK: ..


Autino, A., Collins, P. Cavallo, A. (2011). ‘Three Theses for the Space Renaissance.' (Published independently & available in PDF and paperback editions).

Murphy, R (1994) 'Rationality and Nature: A Sociological Inquiry into a Changing Relationship'. Boulder CO, West View Press. Chapters 1 -5 and Ch. 9.
My study explored Max Weber’s notion of rationalisation in contemporary industrial societies through the work of Raymond Murphy, who contextualised Weber’s epistemological schemata in relation to our current environmental crisis.

Thorburn, S.L. (2010) 'The Astrosociological Imagination & the Space Renaissance Initiative. A Discourse Analytical Perspective,' by Stephanie L. Thorburn can be found in PDF on the Space Renaissance philosophy papers archive.

The work draws from the founding principles of Prof Gerard O’Neill, who advocated space sciences in context of ecological issues. O’Neill examined the role of lunar mining and ultimately space colonies to address the growing population on Earth via his progressive papers including: O’Neill, G.K. (1974). ‘The Colonisation of Space'. Physics Today. 27 (9), 32-40.
O’Neill, G.K. This work was later developed into: 'The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space'. (1977) New York: William Morrow.

Author’s Socioastronomy research website:

Stephanie Lynne Thorburn
Phone: 0781 257 8570

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