Description : A timely volume that uses science fiction as a springboard to meaningful philosophical discussions, especially at points of contact between science fiction and new scientific developments. Raises questions and examines timely themes concerning the nature of the mind, time travel, artificial intelligence, neural enhancement, free will, the nature of persons, transhumanism, virtual reality, and neuroethics Draws on a broad range of books, films and television series, including The Matrix, Star Trek, Blade Runner, Frankenstein, Brave New World, The Time Machine, and Back to the Future Considers the classic philosophical puzzles that appeal to the general reader, while also exploring new topics of interest to the more seasoned academic
Description : Immortality is a subject which has long been explored and imagined by science fiction writers. In his intriguing new study, Stephen R.L.Clark argues that the genre of science fiction writing allows investigation of philosophical questions about immortality without the constraints of academic philosophy. He reveals how fantasy accounts of issues such as resurrection, disembodied survival, reincarnation and devices or drugs for preserving life can be used as an important resource for philosophical inquiry and examines how a society of immortals might function through a reading of the vampire myth. How to Live Forever is a compelling study which introduces students and professional philosophers to the possibilities of using science fiction in their work. It includes extensive suggestions for further reading, both fictional and philosophical, and examines the work of such major science fiction authors as Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, William Gibson, and Colin Wilson.
Description : Robert E. Myers has assembled a collection of essays which explore aspects of the relationship between science fiction and philosophy. Contributing authors focus on significant issues, questions, and ideas that penetrate to the center of our individual and social conceptions of human existence, and affect the ways in which we attempt to comprehend our world, ourselves, and others. The authors bring to this study the insights of diverse disciplines: philosophy, social science, poetry, linguistics, future studies, medical humanities, and literature. Dealing exclusively with topics relating to science fiction and philosophy they offer an initial exploration of the philosophical problems within science fiction and their implications.
Description : From 1963 to 1989, the BBC television program Doctor Who followed a time-traveling human-like alien called “The Doctor” as he sought to help people, save civilizations and right wrongs. Since its 2005 revival, Doctor Who has become a pop culture phenomenon surpassing its “classic” period popularity and reaching a larger, more diverse audience. Though created as a family program, the series has dramatized serious themes in philosophy, science, religion, and politics. Doctor Who’s thoughtful presentation of a secular humanist view of the universe stands in stark contrast to the flashy special effects central to most science fiction on television. This examination of Doctor Who from the perspective of philosophical humanism assesses the show’s careful exploration of such topics as justice, ethics, good and evil, mythology and knowledge.
Description : The science fiction genre maintains a remarkable hold on the imagination and enthusiasm of the filmgoing public, captivating large audiences worldwide and garnering ever-larger profits. Science fiction films entertain the possibility of time travel and extraterrestrial visitation and imaginatively transport us to worlds transformed by modern science and technology. They also provide a medium through which questions about personal identity, moral agency, artificial consciousness, and other categories of experience can be addressed. In The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film, distinguished authors explore the storylines, conflicts, and themes of fifteen science fiction film classics, from Metropolis to The Matrix. Editor Steven M. Sanders and a group of outstanding scholars in philosophy, film studies, and other fields raise science fiction film criticism to a new level by penetrating the surface of the films to expose the underlying philosophical arguments, ethical perspectives, and metaphysical views. Sanders’s introduction presents an overview and evaluation of each essay and poses questions for readers to consider as they think about the films under discussion.The first section, “Enigmas of Identity and Agency,” deals with the nature of humanity as it is portrayed in Blade Runner, Dark City, Frankenstein, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Total Recall. In the second section, “Extraterrestrial Visitation, Time Travel, and Artificial Intelligence,” contributors discuss 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator, 12 Monkeys, and The Day the Earth Stood Still and analyze the challenges of artificial intelligence, the paradoxes of time travel, and the ethics of war. The final section, “Brave Newer World: Science Fiction Futurism,” looks at visions of the future in Metropolis, The Matrix, Alphaville, and screen adaptations of George Orwell’s 1984.
Description : This accessible and provocative collection of science fiction acquaints readers with cutting-edge gender controversies in moral and political philosophy. By imagining future worlds that defy our most basic assumptions about sex and gender, freedom and equality, and ethical values, the anthology’s authors not only challenge traditional standards of morality and justice, but create bold experiments for testing feminist hypotheses. Selections are grouped under four main themes. Part 1, "Human Nature and Reality," concentrates on whether there is an intrinsic difference between males and females. Here the authors inspect opposing views on five related questions: What does it mean to be human? What are women and men really like? How significant is the reproductive difference? How do we define the concepts of "woman" and "nature"? Why is language important? Part 2, "Dystopias: The Worst of All Possible Worlds," first portrays misogynistic societies uncomfortably familiar to the early 21st-century reader. Chilling stories of future possibilities follow, including worlds where women and men separate into armies to fight a literal war of the sexes. Part 3, "Separatist Utopias: Worlds of Difference," assembles stories that scrutinize both the virtues and vices of separatism, in order to address the questions Why should women want to separate from men? and What would and should these all-female worlds be like? In Part 4, "Androgynous Utopias: Worlds of Equality," the authors create intriguing worlds that anticipate the consequences, good and bad, of perfect sexual equality in education, intelligence, capability, and reproduction. With selections from such noted writers as Octavia Butler, Marion Zimmer Bradley, James Tiptree Jr., and many others, plus chapter introductions, discussion questions, and recommended reading list, this stimulating collection offers fresh insights on troubling issues by weaving controversial utopian and dystopian designs from the separate threads of opposing positions.
Description : The Philosophy of Science Fiction: Henri Bergson and the Fabulations of Philip K. Dick explores the deep affinity between two seemingly quite different thinkers, in their attempts to address the need for salvation in (and from) an era of accelerated mechanization, in which humans' capacity for destroying or subjugating the living has attained a planetary scale. The philosopher and the science fiction writer come together to meet the contradictory imperatives of a realist outlook-a task which, arguably, philosophy and science fiction could only ever adequately undertake in collaboration. Their respective approaches meet in a focus on the ambiguous status of fictionalizing, or fabulation, as simultaneously one of mechanization's most devastating tools, and the possibility of its undoing. When they are read together, the complexities and paradoxes thrown up by this ambiguity, with which both Bergson and Dick struggle on their own, open up new ways to navigate ideas of mechanism and mysticism, immanence and transcendence, and the possibility and meaning of salvation. The result is at once an original reading of both thinkers, a new critical theory of the socioÂ?cultural, political and ethical function of fictionalizing, and a case study in the strange affinity, at times the uncanny similarity, between philosophy and science fiction.
Description : By imagining future worlds that defy our most basic assumptions about sex and gender, freedom and equality, and ethical values, this collection not only challenges traditional standards of morality and justice but also creates bold experiments for testing feminist hypotheses. Part I, "Human Nature and Reality," explores what it means to be human, whether there is an intrinsic difference between males and females, and the importance of language. In part II, "Dystopias and Utopias," the stories on dystopia portray misogynistic societies uncomfortably familiar to the early twenty-first-century reader. Chilling stories of future possibilities follow, including worlds where women and men separate into armies to fight a literal war of the sexes. The selections on utopias address questions of separation and androgyny: Why should women want to separate from men? What would and should these all-female worlds be like? What would be the consequences of perfect sexual equality? Full of stories that provoke and entertain science fiction enthusiasts, the volume is also designed for students of this popular literary genre. Each selection includes a brief editor's introduction and discussion questions, and the collection is enhanced by an extensive recommended reading list. Book jacket.
Description : This book contains a broad overview of time travel in science fiction, along with a detailed examination of the philosophical implications of time travel. The emphasis of this book is now on the philosophical and on science fiction, rather than on physics, as in the author's earlier books on the subject. In that spirit there are, for example, no Tech Notes filled with algebra, integrals, and differential equations, as there are in the first and second editions of TIME MACHINES. Writing about time travel is, today, a respectable business. It hasn’t always been so. After all, time travel, prima facie, appears to violate a fundamental law of nature; every effect has a cause, with the cause occurring before the effect. Time travel to the past, however, seems to allow, indeed to demand, backwards causation, with an effect (the time traveler emerging into the past as he exits from his time machine) occurring before its cause (the time traveler pushing the start button on his machine’s control panel to start his trip backward through time). Time Machine Tales includes new discussions of the advances by physicists and philosophers that have appeared since the publication of TIME MACHINES in 1999, examples of which are the chapters on time travel paradoxes. Those chapters have been brought up-to-date with the latest philosophical thinking on the paradoxes.
Description : Science Fiction and Philosophy deals with science-fictional thought experiments and their long history in philosophy, with roots back to the mythological inventions of ancient philosophers such as Plato and Zhuangzi. These thought experiments play a prominent role especially in current metaphysical theorizing about personal identity, artificial minds, and the nature of time. This issue includes reflections on the nature of science fiction, on the epistemology of science fictional thought experiments, on our possible moral and social relationships with future intelligent beings, on the prospects of human or post-human self-transformation, and on time travel. While most of the contributions are expository essays written in the typical style of journal articles, two of the contributions are original short stories written by prominent SF writers whose writing is informed by the advanced graduate work they have done in philosophy.