SCIENCE FICTION AND PHILOSOPHY
Consider classic philosophical questions concerning knowledge of the external world, free will, time, ethics, language, and many more. The philosophical tradition has written many enlightening things on these topics. However, these are all questions that have also been examined by another rich tradition: science-fiction. While philosophy proceeds by careful argumentation and theory-building, science-fiction proceeds by imagining worlds very different from ours that are governed by their own internal logic and sees how stories play out in these worlds. In this way the two disciplines---science fiction and philosophy---are complementary. The goal of this course is to study both these traditions together so as to illuminate these classic philosophical questions. We will see how philosophical arguments become sharper when considered in the context of stories. We will investigate how our intuitions about philosophical problems change when confronted with stories. Hopefully, we will have a gained a clearer understanding of philosophical questions and gained a more critical eye for viewing or reading science fiction. Most importantly, we will have developed the ability to write out our thoughts clearly and develop and defend philosophical arguments.