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Philosophy of Science-Fiction

General data

Course ID: WT-DTE-WJP Erasmus code / ISCED: 08.2 / (unknown)
Course title: Philosophy of Science-Fiction Name in Polish: Philosophy of Science-Fiction
Department: Institute of General Theology
Course groups:
Course homepage:
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
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Language: English
Subject level:


Learning outcome code/codes:






Short description:

This course aims at understanding of the philosophical topics present in popular culture. Science Fiction novels and movies are one of the biggest current in modern culture. Directors and authors very often use and refer to philosophical issues and consider them in very specific Science Fiction form. The questions, which were asked at the philosophical literature are in certain aspects translated to the modern language and are often hidden in the narration. This philosophical background shows that some issues are always interesting for every man regardless of his education and cultural background. This course will consider Science Fiction version of questions like:

- What does it mean to be a human being?

- What makes me who I am?

- What does it mean to think, can computer think like a man?

- What should be the way to organize human society?

- Does God exist, and what is His nature?

- What is religion and its function in society and human life?

Full description:

Main specific topics of the course:

- What is science fiction and why it has any relation to philosophy?

- History and development of Science Fiction genre.

- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - philosophical aspects of the first science fiction novel.

- The Time Machine and the sociocriticism (H.G. Wells and socialism).

- Utopia and dystopia - from Plato’s Republic to Orwell’s 1984.

- Terry Pratchett and philosophy - Ass of the dwarf’s king and the Auditors of the Universe.

- Hall 9000 - Can computer think like a human being?

- Bladerunner and Total recall - does your memories makes you human?

- Phillip K. Dick - The Golden Man - does law makes you human?

- Night of the living dead - zombies and the problem of consciousness.

- Mr Spock and the teleporter - Star Trek the problem of personal identity.

- Solaris and God of Science Fiction.

- Two faces of the force - Star Wars and the problem of dualism.

- Frank Herbert’s Dune - Bene Gesserit and religion as a tool.

- Matrix and the Evil Demon of Descartes.

- Samuel R. Delany - Babel-17 - Science Fiction and the philosophy of language.


- Science fiction and philosophy. From time travel to superintelligence, ed. S. Schneider, Blackwell Publishing 2009.

- Alkon, Paul, Science Fiction Before 1900, New York: Routledge, 2001.

- Huntington, John, The Logic of Fantasy: H. G. Wells and Science Fiction, New
York 1982.

- Paul J. Nahin, Holy Sci-Fi! Where Science Fiction and Religion Intersect, New York 2014.

- Ender’s Game and Philosophy. Genocide is Child’s Play, ed. D.E. Wittkower and L. Rusch, Chicago 2013

- Game of Thrones and Philosophy. Logic cuts deeper than Swords, ed. H. Jacoby, John Wiley & Sons 2012.

- The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy, The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview, ed. G. Bassham and J.L. Walls, Chicago 2005.

Learning outcomes:

KNOWLEDGE: Student knows the most famous Science Fiction novels and films. Student knows the definition of Science Fiction genre and knows the criteria which must be fulfilled for the novel or film to be acknowledged as Science Fiction. He can show how they are related to certain topic of philosophy of language, philosophical anthropology and philosophy of society.

ABILITIES: Student can refer critically impact of Science Fiction to modern culture. He can show the importance of discussion of vital topics of the meaning of human life the relation of individual to society and the ambivalence of science and technology. Student understands the limits of human nature and constant struggle of man to achieve freedom from natural conditions and oppression of society.

SOCIAL COMPETENCES: Student can debate on philosophical aspects of ordinary act of life. He can argue on importance of asking the right questions and seeking for an answer. He can interpret the importance of mass culture in human life.


preparation to lectures, learning necessary terms: 30

participation in lecture: 30

preparation of presentation for exam: 60

Sum of work hours: 120
Number of ECTS: [120:25 = 4]

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Short essay on paper about the philosophical aspect found by student in any Science Fiction book or movie. Topic can be related to the course contents or invented by student himself.


-3 student knows basic science fiction authors and contents of the novels and stories written by them

-4 student can recognize philosophical topics in SF literature and knows their basic issues

-5 student found by himself the philosophical problems in the SF literature and film and can refer them.


-3 Students can discuss on basic philosophical themes in SF literature

-4 Student can discuss basic philosophical themes in SF literature and film, and can refer to them with critical approach.

-5 Student can discuss basic philosophical themes in SF literature and film, and can refer to them with critical approach. Student can find the sources of those problems and propose his own solutions.

This course is not currently offered.
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