Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 2019-01-14T17:49:37-05:00 Alfredo Mac Laughlin, Ph.D. Open Journal Systems <h3>Vol 1 (2018): All Persons Great and Small: The Notion of Personhood in SF</h3> <ul class="menu"> <li class="show"><a href="/issue/current/showToc">Table of Contents</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div id="issueCoverImage"><a href="/issue/current/showToc"><img src="/public/journals/152/cover_issue_1489_en_US.jpg" alt="SFJP Vol 1 Cover" width="650" height="735"></a></div> <div id="issueCoverDescription">&nbsp;</div> <p>The<em>&nbsp;Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy</em>&nbsp;is a peer-reviewed, online, open access journal that aims&nbsp;to foster the appreciation of science fiction as a medium for philosophical reflection.&nbsp; It focuses on the&nbsp;analysis of philosophical themes in science fiction in all formats and on their use for the discussion, teaching, and narrative modeling of philosophical ideas.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The journal aims both to serve as a medium for academic dialogue and to attract and introduce a non-academic public to philosophical discussions. It invites submissions from any discipline in philosophy, including both analytic and continental approaches.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p align="center">* * * * * * * * * * * *&nbsp;* * * * * * * * * * * *&nbsp;* * * * * * * * * * * *&nbsp;* * * * * * * * * * * *&nbsp;* * * * * * * * * * *</p> <p align="center">&nbsp;<a href="/pages/view/persons_quiz" target="_self"><strong>Quiz: How many "persons" can you recognize on the cover of Volume 1?</strong></a></p> Editor's Notes: Vol. 1 (2018) 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Alfredo Mac Laughlin <p>1. The <em>What</em> and <em>Why</em> of this Journal</p><p>2. The Structure of the Journal: New Sections</p><p>3. In this Volume: Contributions and Acknowledgments</p> 2018-06-03T02:48:13-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## 1. The What and Why of this Journal 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Alfredo Mac Laughlin 2018-06-03T02:48:13-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2. New Sections: The Structure of the Journal 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Alfredo Mac Laughlin 2018-06-03T02:48:13-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## 3. In this Volume: Contributions and Acknowledgments 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Alfredo Mac Laughlin 2018-06-03T02:48:13-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Aesthetics in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Jerold J. Abrams <em></em><div><p class="Journal-Abstract">In Mary Shelley’s <em>Frankenstein</em> the brilliant scientist Viktor Frankenstein constructs and animates a gigantic and superhumanly powerful man. But upon animation, Frankenstein discovers he neglected beauty, and beholding his hideous creation flees in horror without even naming the man. Abandoned and alone the monster leaves society, yet secretly observing humanity learns language and philosophy and eventually discovers humanity’s self-understanding and his own self-understanding to be grounded in beauty rather than reason.</p></div> 2018-06-03T02:48:13-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Moreau’s Law in "The Island of Doctor Moreau" in Light of Kant’s Reciprocity Thesis 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Dan Paul Dal Monte In this paper, I explore a tension between the Law in the novel <em>The Island of Doctor Moreau</em>, by H. G. Wells, and Kant's reciprocity thesis. The Law is a series of prohibitions that Moreau has his beasts recite. Moreau devotes his time to transforming animals through a painful surgery into beings that resemble humans, but the humanized beasts are constantly slipping back into animalistic habits, and so Moreau promulgates the Law to maintain decorum. Kant's reciprocity thesis states that free will is the necessary and sufficient condition of moral practical laws. That is, in order for a moral practical law to be applicable, there must be free will, and, if free will is present, then there will be a moral practical law that sets a standard for the free will. However, in Wells's novel, the humanized beasts seem to lack free will. So, how can a law be applicable to them? By delving deeper into the mystery of Moreau's strange island, I will shed light on the otherwise cumbersome concepts of free will, natural impulses, and practical laws, as well as their interrelationships. The upshot will be a deeper understanding of personhood through an exploration of the instinctual nature of animals, moral law, and free will. 2018-06-03T02:48:13-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Carving a Life from Legacy: Free Will and Manipulation in Greg Egan's "Reasons to Be Cheerful" 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Taylor W. Cyr Many find it intuitive that having been manipulated undermines a person's free will. Some have objected to accounts of free will like Harry Frankfurt's (according to which free will depends only on an agent's psychological structure at the time of action) by arguing that it is possible for manipulated agents, who are intuitively unfree, to satisfy Frankfurt's allegedly sufficient conditions for freedom. Drawing resources from Greg Egan's "Reasons to Be Cheerful" as well as from stories of psychologically sophisticated artificial intelligence (such as Isaac Asimov's "The Bicentennial Man"), I rebut this objection to "structuralist" accounts of free will, arguing that the very possibility of free will for persons like us requires that we admit that a person can be free even when lacking control over the character from which she acts. I conclude with some implications for the freedom and personhood of artificial intelligences. 2018-06-03T02:48:14-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Persons and a Metaphysics of the Navel 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Dennis M. Weiss <div><p class="Journal-Abstract">Naturalist views of persons, such as those of the philosophers Annette Baier and Marjorie Grene, emphasize that human persons are cultural animals: We are living, embodied, organic beings, embedded in nature, the product of Darwinian evolution, but dependent on culture. Such naturalist views of persons typically eschew science fiction and look askance at the philosophical fantasies and thought experiments that often populate philosophical treatments of personal identity. Marge Piercy’s dystopian, cyberpunk, science fiction novel <em>He, She and It</em> weaves a complex tale around the debate over the status of its central character Yod, a cyborg created in a lab but humanized through the efforts of two women, Malkah Shipman and her granddaughter Shira Shipman. Is Yod a person, despite having been engineered in a lab for a specific purpose? Piercy’s tale both challenges and ultimately supports a naturalist view of persons while simultaneously forewarning us of possible new styles of persons to come.</p></div> 2018-06-03T02:48:14-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Creolizing Genre of SF and the Nightmare of Whiteness in John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?" 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 Bernabe S. Mendoza <p>The alien in science fiction has not often been seen as part of an imperial colonial discourse. By examining John W. Campbell’s founding golden age SF text, “Who Goes There?” (1938), this paper explores the ways in which the alien adheres to an invisible mythos of whiteness that has come to be seen through a colonizing logic as isomorphic with the human. Campbell’s alien-monster comes to disseminate and invade both self and world and as such serves as an interrogation of what whites have done through colonization. It is thus part and parcel of imperial domination and discourse and appears as the very nightmare of whiteness in the form of its liminal and estranged shadow side. Part of what has made Campbell’s text so influential is that it offers a new type of alien invasion in the figure of “contagion,” which speaks “to the transition from colonial to postcolonial visions of modernity and its attendant catastrophes” (Rieder), and which can be further examined as a race metaphor in American SF—indeed, as the white man’s fear of racial mixing that has a long and dehumanizing history. Through its threat of mixture, I read the alien as a creolizing figure that both troubles and undoes the white/black, human/nonhuman binary in science fiction, which I also read as being a creolizing, i.e., hybrid and plastic, genre.</p> 2018-06-03T02:48:14-04:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Teaching Firefly 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 James Rocha <p>Philosophers often rely on their own examples and intuitions, which can be problematic since philosophers are a small group with their own set of biases and limitations. Science fiction can assist with this problem through the provision of examples that are both designed by non-philosophers and intended to be thought-provoking and plausible. In particular, when philosophers teach, we can use science fiction for examples that raise relevant issues in interesting contexts, while also being fully fleshed out. In this paper, I explain how I use Joss Whedon’s <em>Firefly </em>to teach political philosophy, ethics, and existentialism. I hope to show the usefulness of good science fiction for the purpose of teaching philosophy in new and engaging ways.</p> 2018-12-28T23:02:59-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Teaching Firefly: Companion Material. A Class Schedule for a Course on Joss Whedon and Philosophy 2019-01-14T17:31:44-05:00 James Rocha <p>This schedule, provided as a companion to my "Teaching <em>Firefly</em>" article, was used for a sophomore level philosophy course that was populated mostly by non-majors. The original idea for the course was to develop a popular culture philosophy course that would attract students from all over campus, which was meant to both introduce them to multiple philosophical ideas and theories and hopefully convince some of them to major or minor in philosophy. The course was quite successful at drawing Whedon fans from across the university (after a certain amount of advertising through posters and social media). Students were very engaged with both discussions of episodes and the readings.</p> 2018-12-28T23:30:52-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Westworld and Philosophy: If You Go Looking for the Truth Get the Whole Thing 2019-01-14T17:49:37-05:00 Stefano Bigliardi Book Review 2018-12-29T00:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##