FT 011-G Science Fiction & Philosophy
Cheryl Hughes, Deptment of Philosophy
Science fiction is always a kind of thought experiment, inventing new worlds that are often inhabited by something alien or other, or extending our current science and technology into an imagined future full of tough moral dilemmas, or simply playing with some of our most challenging ideas such as the nature of space and time, the possibility of artificial intelligence, or the problems of personal identity and free will. Philosophy, too, often proceeds by using thought experiments to question what we might otherwise take for granted, to explore familiar problems in new ways, or to construct ideas and ideals and test their possibilities. Thus science fiction can be an excellent way to introduce philosophy. In this course, we will use science fiction novels, short stories, and films as well as philosophical essays to explore such topics as the limits of knowledge, relationships between appearance and reality, the nature of mind and intelligence, the paradoxes and logical problems in the idea of time-travel, problems of memory and personal identity, questions about gender and race and other social and moral issues.w
Hughes, Cheryl L.