Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sci-fi Movies and Philosophy

I want to have this thread open up and invite suggestions for sci-fi movies tied to specific philosophical readings. There is one example of a sci-fi and philosophy anthology, but I didn't like it. Somehow, discussing personal identity with Locke and watching Arnold in the Sixth Day just doesn't seem like a good  move. There has to be better movies for personal identity and Locke for instance.

Right before, C-3PO thanks the "Maker" for an oil bath he's about to receive. Does Threepio have an understanding of how he must be pious toward the Maker as Socrates discusses in Plato's dialogue titled "The Euthyphro"

The main motivation for this is in part stemming from my anticipated conference participation with the English PhDs. They get to write up cultural study dissertations on Philip K. Dick and read science fiction. Trudging through Heidegger and Husserl seems more rewarding but not as fun as reading graphic novels on Spiderman or children's literature. Thus, I want to develop a syllabus for philosophy and science fiction. In my future professional life (hopefully someone will hire me), I can still be a geek and a philosopher.

So, do you have any suggestions?


Roman Altshuler said...

Completely off-topic suggestions, since they mostly either don't pertain to movies, or don't pertain to sci-fi movies:

1. "The Limey" is a brilliant movie. It's not sci-fi at all, but it is exceptionally neat in terms of what it does with memory and personal responsibility, not to mention the weird time-lapsed dialogs throughout, suggesting that every event in the movie is already only a memory even as it is occurring; that, and the way the movie integrates old footage of Terrence Stamp, and draws on Stamp and Fonda as icons of a bygone age.

2. This is obvious: Star Trek. Aside from constant ethics references, there are plenty on personal identity, involving both fission and fusion cases, as well as a two episodes (Next Generation) on radical translation. Sadly, the Star Trek movies are just never as good when it comes to philosophical content.

3. But since I'm just listing obvious things, here's one that is a sci-fi movie: Minority Report, on free will and foreknowledge.

4. Incidentally, while I think it's garbage as a movie, Terminator 3 adds a nice fatalist aspect to the series, countering the optimistic "there is no fate but the fate we make for ourselves" motto of the first two.

Carbondale Chasmite said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Roman.

I was really hoping more people would find this by google.