From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to Ridley Scott's Bladerunner, science fiction films, books and short stories have long been used to explore alternative possibilities and futures for ourselves, our societies and our planet. This unit exploits this body of work to explore various key philosophical issues, such as time travel, the mind-body problem, personal identity, bioethics and global justice, through various works of science fiction. In addition, our enquiry extends beyond the works themselves to the meta-philosophical question of the epistemic role of fictions, thought experiments, imaginings and models in philosophy and other disciplines such as biology, economics and physics. What, if anything, can thinking about alternative possibilities tell us about the world? Why?
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Identify and articulate key philosophical issues as presented in works of science fiction.
- Engage in philosophical discussion and debate on those philosophical issues.
- Critically assess arguments about the epistemic role of fictions, thought experiments, imaginings and models in human enquiry.
- Clearly and persuasively present their own viewpoint regarding that epistemic role.
Short writing exercise 1, 1000 words, 20% (Learning Outcomes 1 & 2)
Short writing exercise 2, 1000 words, 20% (Learning Outcomes 1 & 2)
Essay, 2000 words, 40% (Learning Outcomes 3 & 4)
Tutorial participation, 20% (Learning Outcomes 1-4)
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings and Dates
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|3510||24 Feb 2020||02 Mar 2020||31 Mar 2020||29 May 2020||In Person||N/A|