The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film

The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film

The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film

The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film

Synopsis

The science fiction genre maintains a remarkable hold on the imagination and enthusiasm of the filmgoing public, captivating large audiences worldwide and garnering ever-larger profits. The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film explores the storylines, conflicts, and themes of fifteen science fiction film classics, from Metropolis to The Matrix. Editor Steven M. Sanders and a group of outstanding scholars in philosophy, film studies, and other fields raise science fiction film criticism to a new level by penetrating the surface of the films to expose the underlying philosophical arguments, ethical perspectives, and metaphysical views.

Excerpt

Over the last decade there has been a significant shift in the attitudes of philosophers as they have become increasingly receptive to the opportunity to apply methods of philosophical inquiry to film, television, and other areas of popular culture. In fact, receptive is far too mild a word to describe the enthusiasm with which many philosophers now embrace popular culture. The authors of the essays included in this volume have genuine affection for science fiction feature films and the expertise to describe, explain, analyze, and evaluate the story lines, conflicts, and philosophically salient themes in them. Their contributions are designed to promote an understanding of the very considerable extent to which philosophy and science fiction are thematically interdependent insofar as science fiction provides materials for philosophical thinking about the logical possibility and paradoxes of time travel, the concept of personal identity and what it means to be human, the nature of consciousness and artificial intelligence, the moral implications of encounters with extraterrestrials, and the transformations of the future that will be brought about by science and technology. Of course, many science fiction films emphasize gadgets and special effects to the neglect of conceptual complexity, but the films discussed here engage viewers on the plane of ideas and provide occasions for historical, political, literary, and cultural commentary as well as philosophical analysis.

This volume includes a dozen philosophically accessible essays on some of the best science fiction films from seven decades. The essays discuss science fiction film classics, and they are classics precisely because they were alive to their own times and are alive to ours as well. In this sense, Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927), Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931), The Day the Earth . . .

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