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Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence, 2nd Edition




Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence, 2nd Edition

Susan Schneider (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-92261-3 February 2016 Wiley-Blackwell 432 Pages

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Featuring numerous updates and enhancements, Science Fiction and Philosophy, 2nd Edition, presents a collection of readings that utilize concepts developed from science fiction to explore a variety of classic and contemporary philosophical issues.

  • Uses science fiction to address a series of classic and contemporary philosophical issues, including many raised by recent scientific developments
  • Explores questions relating to transhumanism, brain enhancement, time travel, the nature of the self, and the ethics of artificial intelligence
  • Features numerous updates to the popular and highly acclaimed first edition, including new chapters addressing the cutting-edge topic of the technological singularity
  • Draws on a broad range of science fiction’s more familiar novels, films, and TV series, including I, Robot, The Hunger Games, The Matrix, Star Trek, Blade Runner, and Brave New World
  • Provides a gateway into classic philosophical puzzles and topics informed by the latest technology


Thought Experiments: Science Fiction as a Window into Philosophical Puzzles 1
Susan Schneider

Part I Could I Be in a “Matrix” or Computer Simulation?

Related Works:The Matrix; Avatar; Ender’s Game; The Hunger Games; Simulacron‐3; Ubik; Tron; Permutation City; Vanilla Sky; Total Recall 17

1 Reinstalling Eden: Happiness on a Hard Drive 19
Eric Schwitzgebel and R. Scott Bakker

2 Are You in a Computer Simulation? 22
Nick Bostrom

3 Plato’s Cave. Excerpt from The Republic 26

4 Some Cartesian thought Experiments. Excerpt from The Meditations on First Philosophy 30
René Descartes

5 The Matrix as Metaphysics 35
David J. Chalmers

Part II What Am I? Free Will and the Nature of Persons

Related Works:Moon; Software; Star Trek, The Next Generation: Second Chances; Mindscan; The Matrix; Diaspora; Blindsight; Permutation City; Kiln People; The Gods Themselves; Jerry Was a Man; Nine Lives; Minority Report 55

6 Where Am I? 57
Daniel C. Dennett

7 Personal Identity 69
Eric Olson

8 Divided Minds and the Nature of Persons 91
Derek Parfit

9 Who Am I? What Am I? 99
Ray Kurzweil

10 Free Will and Determinism in the World of Minority Report 104
Michael Huemer

11 Excerpt from “The Book of Life: A Thought Experiment” 114
Alvin I. Goldman

Part III Mind: Natural, Artificial, Hybrid, and Superintelligent

Related Works:Transcendence; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Humans; Blade Runner; AI; Frankenstein; Accelerando; Terminator; I, Robot; Neuromancer; Last and First Men; His Master’s Voice; The Fire Upon the Deep; Solaris; Stories of your Life 117

12 Robot Dreams 119
Isaac Asimov

13 A Brain Speaks 125
Andy Clark

14 Cyborgs Unplugged 130
Andy Clark

15 Superintelligence and Singularity 146
Ray Kurzweil

16 The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis 171
David J. Chalmers

17 Alien Minds 225
Susan Schneider

Part IV Ethical and Political Issues

Related Works:Brave New World; Ender’s Game; Johnny Mnemonic; Gattaca; I, Robot; Terminator; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Mindscan; Autofac; Neuromancer; Planet of the Apes; Children of Men; Nineteen Eighty‐Four; Player Piano; For a Breath I Tarry; Diamond Age 243

18 The Man on the Moon 245
George J. Annas

19 Mindscan: Transcending and Enhancing the Human Brain 260
Susan Schneider

20 The Doomsday Argument 277
John Leslie

21 The Last Question 279
Isaac Asimov

22 Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” and Machine Metaethics 290
Susan Leigh Anderson

23 The Control Problem. Excerpts from Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies 308
Nick Bostrom

Part V Space and Time

Related Works:Interstellar; Twelve Monkeys; Slaughterhouse‐Five; All You Zombies; The Time Machine; Back to the Future; Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions; Anathem 331

24 A Sound of Thunder 333
Ray Bradbury

25 Time 343
Theodore Sider

26 The Paradoxes of Time Travel 357
David Lewis

27 The Quantum Physics of Time Travel 370
David Deutsch and Michael Lockwood

28 Miracles and Wonders: Science Fiction as Epistemology 384
Richard Hanley

Appendix: Philosophers Recommend Science Fiction 393
Eric Schwitzgebel

Index 410

"Schneider's anthology, as it stands, is a great introduction to many of the fundamental theoretical issues raised by SF. Each topic is covered with a panel of accessible texts. One will also appreciate the presence of several short stories and references to related works of SF in every section of the book." (Metapsychology online reviews 2016)