Print this page Share

Terminator and Philosophy: I'll Be Back, Therefore I Am

ISBN: 978-0-470-44798-7
304 pages
April 2009
Terminator and Philosophy: I


A timely book that uses science fiction to provoke reflection and discussion on philosophical issues

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. Science Fiction and Philosophy explores puzzles about virtual reality, transhumanism, whether time travel is possible, the nature of artificial intelligence, and topics in neuroethics, among other timely issues. This thought-provoking volume is suitable for students and general readers but also examines new and more advanced topics of interest to seasoned philosophers and scientists.

Susan Schneider (Hometown TK) is Assistant Professor in the department of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and an Affiliated Faculty Member at the Institutes for Research in Cognitive Science and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

See More

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Rise of the Philosophers.


Chapter 1: The Terminator Wins: Is the Extinction of the Human Race the End of People, or Just the Beginning? (Greg Littmann).

Chapter 2: True Man or Tin Man? How Descartes and Sarah Connor Tell a Man from a Machine (George Dunn).

Chapter 3: It Stands to Reason: Skynet and Self-Preservation (Josh Weisberg).

Chapter 4: Un-Terminated: The Integration of the Machines (Jesse W. Butler).


Chapter 5: "I Know Now Why You Cry": Terminator 2, Moral Philosophy, and Feminism (Harry Chotiner).

Chapter 6: Sarah Connor’s Stain (Jennifer Culver).

Chapter 7: James Cameron’s Marxist Revolution (Jeffrey Ewing).


Chapter 8: Bad Timing: The Metaphysics of The Terminator (Robert Delfino and Kenneth Sheahan).

Chapter 9: Time for the Terminator: Philosophical Themes of the Resistance (Justin Leiber).

Chapter 10: Changing the Future: Fate and the Terminator (Kristie Lynn Miller).

Chapter 11: Judgment Day is Inevitable: Hegel and the Futility of Changing History (Jason Blahuta).


Chapter 12: What’s So Terrible About Judgment Day? (Wayne Yuen).

Chapter 13: The War to End All Wars? Killing Your Defense System (Phillip Seng).

Chapter 14: Self-Termination: Suicide, Self-Sacrifice, and the Terminator (Daniel P. Malloy).

Chapter 15: What’s So Bad about Being Terminated (Jason T. Eberl).

Chapter 16: Should John Connor Save the World? (Peter Fosl).


Chapter 17: "You Gotta Listen to How People Talk": Machines and Natural Language (Jacob Berger and Kyle Ferguson).

Chapter 18: Terminating Ambiguity: The Perplexing Case of "The" (Richard Brown).

Chapter 19: Wittgenstein and What’s Inside the Terminator’s Head (Antti Kuusela).

Future Leaders of the Resistance.

Skynet’s Database.


See More

Author Information

RICHARD BROWN is an assistant professor at LaGuardia Community College's Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program in New York City.

KEVIN S. DECKER is an assistant professor of philosophy at Eastern Washington University. He coedited Star Wars and Philosophy and Star Trek and Philosophy.

WILLIAM IRWIN is a professor of philosophy at King's College. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles including Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Watchmen and Philosophy.

See More

Press Release

April 27, 2009

Terminator is one of the most popular sci-fi franchises ever created, captivating millions with its edgy depiction of the struggle of humankind for survival against its own creations. As Christian Bale steps into the role of John Connor in Terminator Salvation—the next highly anticipated movie in the Terminator franchise opening on Memorial Day—a new book exploring the franchise’s deepest conundrums hits the book shelves.

TERMINATOR AND PHILOSOPHY: I’ll Be Back, Therefore I Am (Wiley; May 2009; $17.95 / Paper; ISBN: 978-0-470-44798-7) draws on some of philosophy’s heavy hitters, such as Descartes, Kant, Karl Marx, and many more.  TERMINATOR AND PHILOSOPHY questions the morality of terminating other people for the sake of peace, whether we can really use time travel to protect our future resistance leaders in the past, and if Arnold’s famous T-101 is a real person or not.

Broken into five parts, the book combines essays written by academics from around the world exploring the movie’s most puzzling and fascinating themes, such as:

- Life After Humanity and Artificial Intelligence
- Women and Revolutionaries
- Changing What’s Already Happened
- The Ethics of Termination
- Beyond the Neural Net

In the vein of other books in the successful series, TERMINATOR AND PHILOSOPHY uses pop culture phenomena to creatively uncover our driving world views. Said series editor William Irwin in USA Today, “"We like to say the books are about smart popular culture for smart fans.” Undoubtedly, this latest book is sure to fascinate fans, critics, students, and professors alike!

See More

Related Titles

Back to Top