Philosophy and Science Fiction

I first encountered Dr. Eric Schwitzgebel’s work in the Sept. 2017 Clarkesworld, which published his story Little /^^^\&-. (That’s neither a typo nor an encoding error. If you haven’t seen the story, I recommend it.) Dr. Schwitzgebel, a professor of philosophy at UC Riverside, writes philosophical SF and also maintains a list of philosophical spec-fic recs here: http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~eschwitz/SchwitzAbs/PhilosophicalSF.htm

What makes this list special is that it’s spec-fic which professional philosophers have found philosophically interesting. If a story makes a philosopher say “Hmmm,” you know it’s got some meat to it! Some of the names and stories won’t surprise anyone: Ursula LeGuin, Ted Chiang, Flatland, The Sparrow. But: Ringworld? Really?

Ringworld and sequels (novels, starting 1970). An enormous engineered world encircling a distant star provides a context for exploration of the variability of the human phenotype and contrasts with two alien species and a third that turns out to not be as alien as we first imagine. (Horst)

Hmmm. It’s been many years since I read Ringworld, but it struck me as far more of a physics thought experiement than a philosophical one. In any case, the list makes for interesting reading as well as being an interesting reading list.

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