PHIL 154 - Science Fiction and Philosophy
Section: 002
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Science fiction has been called the literature of ideas, and the ideas explored in recent science fiction have become increasingly philosophical. To fully appreciate a work like The Matrix or Inception requires that we grapple with fundamental puzzles of human knowledge, for example. Among other things, these stories are thought experiments: hypothetical explorations that shed light on philosophical questions.

Our main goal will be to motivate and explore philosophical questions by appeal to thought experiments from important works of science fiction. We will read the novels The Ophiuchi Hotline (John Varley) and Manifold Time (Stephen Baxter), as well as a number of shorter works. We will also study the films The Matrix, Minority Report and The Day After. Philosophical topics to be covered include skepticism about knowledge, the nature of time (including the paradoxes of time travel), the anthropic principle, and personal identity, as well as ethical topics surrounding religious belief, cloning and human genetic engineering.

This semester we will have a special guest! Nebula Award-winning author Walter Jon Williams will join us for a discussion of his story "Daddy's World."

Course Requirements:

Short response paper (2-3 p), two longer papers (5-6 p), and final exam. Active participation in discussion section is also required.

Intended Audience:

This course is appropriate for all undergraduates, including first-time philosophy students.

Class Format:

One hour-long lecture and two hour-long discussion sections per week. This will be a discussion-focused course; students must come to section prepared to participate in active learning.

PHIL 154 - Science Fiction and Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
30035
Open
8
 
-
M 12:00PM - 1:00PM
002 (LEC)
 
30036
Open
8
 
-
M 12:00PM - 1:00PM
003 (DIS)
P
30037
Closed
0
 
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
004 (DIS)
P
30038
Closed
0
 
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
005 (DIS)
P
30039
Closed
0
 
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
006 (DIS)
P
30040
Open
3
3Y1 or Y2
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:00PM
007 (DIS)
P
30041
Open
1
 
-
WF 12:00PM - 1:00PM
008 (DIS)
P
30042
Closed
0
 
-
WF 12:00PM - 1:00PM
009 (DIS)
P
30043
Closed
0
 
-
MW 4:00PM - 5:00PM
010 (DIS)
P
30044
Open
1
1Y1 or Y2
-
MW 4:00PM - 5:00PM
011 (DIS)
P
30045
Closed
0
 
-
MW 5:00PM - 6:00PM
012 (DIS)
P
30046
Open
2
3Y1 or Y2
-
MW 5:00PM - 6:00PM
013 (DIS)
P
33661
Open
1
1Y1 or Y2
-
WF 11:00AM - 12:00PM
014 (DIS)
P
33662
Closed
0
 
-
WF 12:00PM - 1:00PM
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