Geoethics and philosophy of Earth sciences: the role of geophysical factors in human evolution

Telmo Pievani


This article explores the role of philosophy of the Earth sciences in the foundation of the principles of ‘geoethics’. In particular, the focus is on two different examples of philosophical analysis in the field of geosciences: the first is the trial against the Italian National Commission for Forecasting and Predicting Great Risks, which was charged with negligence in communication and prediction on the occasion of the earthquake that almost destroyed the city of L’Aquila on the night of April 6, 2009; the second is related to the scientific and theoretical consequences of the updated geographical scenario of the human global populating of the Earth, based on archeological, paleontological and genetic data. Our concept of ‘scientific prediction’ in the case of geophysical phenomena and the new ways to see human evolution that depend on geophysical factors have ethical and philosophical implications that are crucial for the foundations of geoethics. The tentative conclusion is that we need an evolutionary sense of belonging to our Planet, and a concept of ‘natural’ phenomena and ‘natural’ disasters that should not be an alibi for the underestimation of our political and ethical responsibilities.


Philosophy of Earth Sciences; Scientific Prediction; Nature; Probability

Full Text:



We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X