Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Bleg: Syllabi for Courses on Philosophy and Science Fiction

If you teach a class on philosophy and science fiction, I would love to see your syllabus!

Here's why. Rich Horton and I are working on an anthology of previously published science fiction stories. Working title: Best Philosophical Science Fiction in the History of All Earth. We want to live up to the ambitious title! We want to collect the most philosophically interesting science fiction stories ever written, in any time period, from any culture.

One starting point is this list I compiled of about 500 recommendations of philosophically interesting speculative fiction. Syllabae from courses on philosophy and science fiction would be another terrific starting point. Furthermore, since we're hoping that the anthology will used in courses on philosophy and science fiction, we'd like a sense what stories people are already successfully using in their teaching.

Between Rich's skill and experience as a science fiction editor and mine as a philosopher deeply engaged in science fiction, I think we have a chance to put together a really terrific anthology that comes somewhat close to living up to the ambition of our title. But we could use your help. Spread the word and send syllabae to eschwitz at domain ucr.edu!

We would also value recommendations and suggestions as comments to this post.

[Image: Le Guin's Omelas. Of course we'll include this story!]

4 comments:

The Avant Guard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jimmy Goodrich said...

I'd second many of the pieces on the extensive list provided, especially the Hundred Light-Year Diary for teaching purposes. The only omission from that list which I've found to be great teaching fodder is Lem's Non Serviam. Of course, many will reach for Philip K. Dick or one Asimov story or another to play the role that Non Serviam would play in a philosophy and sci-fi syllabus. But for what it's worth, I'd recommend taking a look at Non Serviam.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks, Jimmy! I've enjoyed several works by Lem, and I definitely have him in mind for the list, but I haven't read Non Serviam yet.

Dortphore said...

Thanks for compiling this list. My favorites on that list are (novel) The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect (themes of immortality and tedium/meaninglessness), (movie) Moon (theme of self-locating belief).

But I didn't see Westworld (show on HBO). I might have missed it. This is a very philosophically rich show that explores free will and ethics.