Political Myths in Plato and Asimov

Political Myths in Plato and Asimov

Nathaniel Goldberg

Washington and Lee University

Abstract

Works of science fiction tend to describe hypothetical futures, or counterfactual pasts or presents, to entertain their readers. Philosophical thought experiments tend to describe counterfactual situations to test their readers’ philosophical intuitions. Indeed, works of science fiction can sometimes be read as containing thought experiments. I compare one especially famous thought experiment from Plato’s Republic with what I read as two thought experiments from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. All three thought experiments concern myths used in political contexts, and comparing them permits me to analyze the morality of political mythologizing.

Published: 2020-01-08

Issue: Vol 2 (2019): Dystopian Caves and Galactic Empires: Social and Political Philosophy in SF Stories

Section: Yearly Theme

Copyright (c) 2019 Nathaniel Goldberg

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