""In The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film, Steven Sanders and company guide us through apocalyptic visions of robotic rampages and mysterious journeys through space and time, stopping along the way for philosophical snapshots that enhance the tour." --Eric Bronson, editor of Poker and Philosophy: Pocket Rockets and Philosopher Kin" --
""I can recommend this book to philosophy students and their teachers, along with the rest of us who are still searching to answers to the mystery of humanity and its place in the cosmos." --Armchair Interviews" --
""12 essays, all by outstanding film scholars, that offer a comprehensive overview of the subject. Recommended." -- R. Cormier, CHOICE" --
""The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film is a successful volume. Pedagogues, both of philosophy and of film, will find the book a useful compendium of ideas." --Neil Easterbrook, Science Fiction Studies" --
""The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film manages to be simultaneously a collection of thoughtful and engaging scholarly work and a collection of thoughtful and engaging scholarly work and a substantive and appealing discussion of many of the most compelling science fiction films. Readers who enjoy tracing science fiction's philosophical roots will find it extremely worthwhile reading." --Jo Ann Circosta, Rain Taxi" --
""The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film offers erudite insights that are thoughtful and thought-provoking, superb examples of scholarship, and a seminal contribution to the study of science fiction films." --thephilosopherschair.com, Midwest Book Review" --
From the Inside Flap
From Metropolis (1927) to The Matrix (1999), science fiction films have captivated audiences worldwide for more than seven decades. In recent years, philosophers have turned their eyes towards the same screen, attracted by the salient storylines, conflicts, and themes nestled amongst the new technologically and time altered landscapes. They have discovered that science fiction films offer more than an imaginative escape from the real world -- they also provide a rich medium through which to address issues of identity, consciousness, agency, space, time, causality, and other categories of experience.
Editor Steven M. Sanders argues that the appeal of science fiction films has led to a proliferation of misguided interpretations and weak arguments in the film criticism of the genre. The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film aims to restore integrity to science fiction film criticism by penetrating the surface of the films in order to unearth the presupposed philosophical arguments, ethical perspectives, and metaphysical views that underlie them.
The first section, "Enigmas of Identity and Agency" treats issues of identity, moral agency, and the meaning of being human in films such as Total Recall (1990), Blade Runner (1982), and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). In the second part, "Extraterrestrial Visitation, Time Travel, and Artificial Intelligence," contributors dissect such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator, and The Day the Earth Stood Still to examine the implications of new technology on civilization, the paradoxes surrounding artificial intelligence, and the possibilities offered by time travel. The final section, "Braver New World: Science Fiction Futurism" looks at Metropolis, The Matrix, Alphaville, and screen adaptations of Orwell's 1984 to analyze our visions of the future and humans' role in it.
The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film highlights the interconnectivity of the science fiction genre and philosophy. The contributing philosophers, film critics, and scholars highlight the relationship between philosophy and science fiction film, offering original philosophical perspectives on the logical possibility and paradoxes of personal identity, the nature of consciousness and artificial intelligence, time travel, encounters with extraterrestrials, and transformations of the future.