Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence

Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence

by Susan Schneider
     
 

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Science fiction is more than mere entertainment. Historian H. Bruce Franklin defines it as “the literature which, growing with science and technology, evaluates it and relates it meaningfully to the rest of human existence.” Indeed, science fiction is increasingly converging with science fact. From the nature of mind to the ethics of AI and neural

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Overview

Science fiction is more than mere entertainment. Historian H. Bruce Franklin defines it as “the literature which, growing with science and technology, evaluates it and relates it meaningfully to the rest of human existence.” Indeed, science fiction is increasingly converging with science fact. From the nature of mind to the ethics of AI and neural enhancement, science fiction thought experiments fire the philosophical imagination, encouraging us to think outside of the box about classic philosophical problems and even to envision new ones. For in certain cases, future technologies invite their own distinctive philosophical puzzles.

Science Fiction and Philosophy explores timely philosophical issues such as the nature of persons and their minds, puzzles about virtual reality, transhumanism, whether time travel is possible, the nature of artificial intelligence, and topics in neuroethics. This thought-provoking volume is suitable for students and general readers and at the same time examines new and more advanced topics of interest to seasoned philosophers and scientists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Science Fiction and Philosophy brings two areas together and into a dialogue: philosophy holds the fantasmatic enjoyment of science fiction to account for its illusions and awesome possibilities while science fiction reminds philosophy that all reason and no play makes thought a very dull thing indeed. Hopefully, this volume will find its way into the hands of those who wish to discover something about the highly technological world-view and horizon of meaning of our current epoch." (Discover Magazine, November 2010)

"Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence (Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2009), Schneider mines time travel, artificial intelligence, robot rights, teleportation, and genetic modification to discuss the nature of space and time, free will, transhumanism, the self, neuroethics, and reality." (Discover, December 2010)

"Divided into five parts following themes arising from central questions in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, it intimately and intelligently ties works of art, which vividly bring to life the aforementioned thought experiments, together with exceptionally thought-provoking philosophical articles inspired and enlightened by the storytelling. It is not, as some edited collections tend to be, a disparate aggregate, but a successful marriage of art with analytic philosophy. It supports not only Schneider's but an even stronger argument: that a good science fiction story is very often a philosophical argument in disguise. If science fiction and philosophy give you pleasure, you may enjoy reading this hook immensely." (Mind & Machines, Fall 2010)

“Looking over the pages one can see Schneider's attention to detail … .Schneider has obviously made her choices for their accessibility and we should applaud her for this … .The collection stands as an important and provocative dialogue between two very rich areas of contemporary cultures and societies. Science Fiction and Philosophy gives us a chance to redeem science fiction … and take the questions it poses seriously and with a critical gaze. This volume will be of interest to audiences read in science fiction, philosophy of science, philosophy of time, philosophy of mind, consciousness studies, epistemology, robot ethics and bio-ethics and biotechnology and general audiences alike.” (Metapsychology)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781405149075
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
06/15/2009
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
563,426
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"What are consciousness and free will? Will artificial beings have them? Do we? And do we owe an ethical debt to future generations, even if they wear quite different bodies, or minds? These, and countless other questions first raised by a century’s worth of canonical science fiction, are now ambitiously appraised by Susan Schneider in a volume that explores our philosophical frontier.”

David Brin, astrophysicist and Times best-selling author of The Postman and Earth

"Susan Schneider has assembled an incredibly wide range of stimulating and accessible thoughts in these pages. The second edition of Science Fiction and Philosophy will fascinate anyone who enjoys thinking 'outside of the box'—though it might leave their minds in a whirl!"

Martin Rees, 'UK Astronomer Royal'

Meet the Author

Susan Schneider is a Philosophy Professor at the University of Connecticut and a Fellow with the American Council of Learned Societies. She is the author of The Language of Thought: a New Philosophical Direction (2011) and the co-author, with Max Velmans, of The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness (2006).

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