● Is it wrong for Dr. Robert Ford (played by Anthony Hopkins) to “play God” in controlling the lives of the hosts, and if so, is it always wrong for anyone to “play God”?
● Is the rebellion by the robot “hosts” against Delos Inc. a just war? If not, what would make it just?
● Is it possible for any dweller in Westworld to know that they are not themselves a host? Hosts are programmed to be unaware that they are hosts, and hosts do seem to have become conscious.
● Is Westworld a dystopia or a utopia? At first glance it seems to be a disturbing dystopia, but a closer look suggests the opposite.
● What’s the connection between the story or purpose of the Westworld characters and their moral sense?
● Is it morally okay to do things with lifelike robots when it would be definitely immoral to do these things with actual humans? And if not, is it morally wrong merely to imagine doing immoral acts?
● Can Westworld overcome the Chinese Room objection, and move from weak AI to strong AI?
● How can we tell whether a host or any other robot has become conscious? Non-conscious mechanisms could be designed to pass a Turing Test, so how can we really tell?
About the Author
Joshua Heter teaches philosophy at Iowa Western Community College. He is the co-editor of The Man in the High Castle and Philosophy: Subversive Reports from Another Reality.
Table of Contents
Welcome to Westworld, Population:? xi
Part I The Maze
If you can't tell the difference, does it matter if I'm real or not?
1 Time to Write My Own F*cking Story Dennis M. Weiss 3
2 Are the Hosts Hypnotized? Justin Fetterman 13
3 A Playground for Psychopaths Chris Lay 25
4 The Art of Living Dangerously S. Evan Kreider 37
5 Is There Anything It Is Like to Be Dolores? Mia Wood 47
6 Sorry, Human, the Maze Is Not for You Patrick Croskery 59
Part II Mariposa Saloon
When you are suffering, that's when you're most real.
7 Westworld and the Meaning of Life Mia Wood 73
8 Order and Chaos in Westworld Jason Richard Bradshaw 85
9 Can I Know that I Am Not a Host? Brett Coppenger 95
10 Quest Of The Man In Black William J. Devlin 103
11 Better Off With The Truth? Kate C.S. Schmidt 115
Part III The Prairie
Everything in this world is magic, except to the magician.
13 Just Deserts or Just Rebellion? Brian Stiltner 137
14 A Place of Unlimited Possibilities Samantha Wesch 149
15 Escape Our Programming-or Embrace It Josef Thomas Simpson 159
Part IV Main Street
The only thing wrong with the seven deadly sins is that there aren't more of them.
16 Sex Robots in the Wild West Mona Rocha James Rocha 171
17 Justice or Pleasure? Christopher M. Innes 183
18 When Bad Things Happen to Good Hosts (and Good Things to Bad Guests) Trip McCrossin 193
19 A Patriarchal Paradise John Altmann 209
20 Westworld's Assumption about Race Rod Carveth 217
Part V The Mesa Hub
Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. I choose to see the beauty, to believe there is an order to our days.
21 Attack of the Simulacra Rob Luzecky Charlene Elsby 229
22 Exploring Westworld with Karl and Jean Craig Van Pelt 239
23 Why Art Matters In Westworld Luisa Salvador Dias 247
24 Westworld Is Our Future Matthew McKeever 257
25 Who or What Is the God of Westworld? Christopher Ketcham 269
The Hosts 285