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Finding Philosophy in Science Fiction II

  • Aug 15, 2010 · 1:00 PM
  • Austins Coffee

Finding Philosophy in Science Fiction II

Science Fiction is rich with stories that explore classical philosophical questions and exploit timeless puzzles and paradoxes – testing the limits of what is knowable, the nature of time and paradoxes of time travel, the possibility of free human action, questions of life and sentience, questions about identity and morphing (changelings), origins and ends, belief and skepticism, journeys into space, mind and the mysterious, etc.

The Sci-fi genre has always held up a metaphorical mirror to the multi-varied world of possible futures. Probably much of Sci-fi’s "legitimacy" results from the fact that what was science fiction yesterday is turning into reality today. The implications of future technology can be amazing, and at the same time, quite scary. The genre explores these implications and offers a philosophical glimpse at ourselves, living in a strange world with different rules or advanced technology, but still facing the same perennial human dilemmas.

Join Plato’s Cave philosophers as together we probe the intriguing philosophical puzzles in your favorite Sci-fi books, movies and TV programs.

Be sure to check the Plato’s Cave files section where you can download documents that are relevant to this topic.

Thoughts for discussion:
I may have a TV / DVD at Austin's so:
Bring a DVD of your favorite movie, locate a short clip ( < 5 min) and note the exact time; or, find a favorite Youtube clip that we can play through Austin wi-fi for discussion.

The Science Fiction book you would like to write:
Come prepared to describe the outline of a Sci-Fi / philosophical story that you would love to write (or read).

Steve, Plato's Cave Organizer

Join or login to comment.

  • Alan G.

    Jairo,
    I was only able to take mental notes and I need consensus and more preparation to record it. I did propose doing a 4-track recording (two mics on the central table and two mics in the audience) for another time. I wouldn't want to disturb the amazing spontaneity and balance of the discussion, though. For me, here were some of the highlights:
    - Is progress possible?
    - Does freedom foster growth or is resistance to control a necessary part of growth?
    - What is intelligence?

    August 17, 2010

  • Jairo M.

    Okay, who took notes, or even better, who audio recorded and transcribed this meetup? Thanks so much if someone did and is sharing it. Thanks at least to Swami for the pictures.

    August 17, 2010

  • Steve

    Thanks to all Plato's Cave philosophers for another great meeting. -Steve

    August 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Excellent discussion on how science fiction has addressed issues such as: artificial intelligence and what it means to be human; time travel; life and death; finding happiness; and alternate realities (do you take the red pill or blue pill?), etc. The discussion drew insights from Blade Runner, Star Trek, Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, Kurt Vonnegut "Slaughter House Five," Matrix, and others. Yet we only scratched the surface of the many themes and the plethora of other science fiction books and films available for consideration. I look forward to continuing this discussion next month when we delve into Ben's MeetUp idea: "LIVE LONG & PROSPER: Philosophy of ideal/Utopian societies in Science-Fiction."

    August 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    different kind of topic for us with its many swings in observations

    August 16, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was wonderful meeting all of you -- so glad I could finally make it! Stimulating discussion...thoroughly enjoyable!

    August 15, 2010

  • Jairo M.

    Okay here is my outline of a Sci-Fi: US under influence of The Iluminati with intentions of controlling Central Asia send out Weapons of Mass Weather Destruction to destabilize and weaken those who threaten their domination, ie Russia and Pakistan, and with the threat of the illusion of terrorism are able to put their foot in Central Asia, the heart: Afghanistan. And so The Illuminati are able to send a trigger that causes the flooding in Pakistan. Oops wait! That's no Sci Fi! That's Sci Now!

    August 15, 2010

  • Alan G.

    Jairo, I liked "Planet of the Apes" (the original). I also like "Soylent Green". Issac Asimov's Foundation series, and especially his idea of Psychohistory is among my favorite books. More recently, I have enjoyed Ursala K. Leguin's "The Dispossessed" and "The Left Hand of Darkness". Incidentally, in 2009 she published her translation of the Tao Te Ching.

    August 14, 2010

  • Jairo M.

    Anybody like "Planet of the Apes" and if we have supposedly unlocked the Secrets of the Genome and Evolution, then why not speed up the evolution of our closest most intelligent creatures, like the Orangutans, and see if we can't get them to catch up with us?

    August 12, 2010

  • Dale J.

    I think "Big" has a sci fi component to it. My pick for science fiction that was important to me is Kurt Vonnegut "Slaughter House Five".

    August 9, 2010

  • Jairo M.

    Well, if Tom Hanks' Big is considered Sci Fi, then may I add The Fifty First Date, Ground Hog Day, The Invention of Lying? Anybody like The Matrix?

    August 9, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Isaac Asimov rocks! He is my favorite all time sci-fi writer...My senior thesis in high school was based on Asimov's science fiction novels and short stories. However, I also enjoy reading his non-science fiction works as well. BTW, I, too, loved BIG with Tom Hanks. :-)

    August 6, 2010

  • Jairo M.

    I see some fans of Star Trek. Any fans of Isaac Asimov? How about the movie "Blade Runner?" Tell us some of your favorites, movies, or books, that may be considered Science Fiction.

    August 3, 2010

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