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Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy

Auteur(s): The Great Courses
Durée: 13 h et 31 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (35 évaluations)

CDN$ 14,95 par mois; les 30 premiers jours sont gratuits. Annulable en tout temps.

Description

The science fiction genre has become increasingly influential in mainstream popular culture, evolving into one of the most engaging storytelling tools we use to think about technology and consider the shape of the future. Along the way, it has also become one of the major lenses we use to explore important philosophical questions.

The origins of science fiction are most often thought to trace to Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, a story born from a night of spooky tale-telling by the fireside that explores scientific, moral, and ethical questions that were of great concern in the 19th century - and that continue to resonate today. And, although novels and short stories built the foundations of science fiction, film and television have emerged as equally powerful, experimental, and enjoyable ways to experience the genre. Even as far back as the silent era, films like Fritz Lang's Metropolis have used science fiction to tell stories that explore many facets of human experience.

In Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy, Professor of Philosophy David Kyle Johnson, of King's College, takes you on a 24-lecture exploration of the final frontiers of philosophy across several decades of science fiction in film and television. From big-budget blockbusters to television series featuring aliens in rubber masks, Professor Johnson finds food for philosophical thought in a wide range of stories. By looking at serious questions through astonishing tales and astounding technologies, you will see how science fiction allows us to consider immense, vital - and sometimes controversial - ideas with a rare combination of engagement and critical distance. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.  

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

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Moyenne des évaluations de clients

Au global

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Trier :
  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

To Be and Beyond, what is Science

I loved this. I loved this so so much. I love using science fiction stories to explain historical philosophical theories. I feel like they can explain them better than what options were historically used at contemporary times because what we know is not always the same that they expected. It was awesome, I want a lot more of these.

#Audible1

4 personnes sur 5 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

Best mashup ever! This course is a gem.

Whether you're a sci-fi nerd, armchair philosopher, (or like me, both!), this course is gold. Not only Prof Johnson engaging, knowledgeable and funny, but the accompanying PDF guidebook gives a well-laid-out summary of each module.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

David K Johnson is my favourite GC presenter

I really enjoy Johnson’s geeky humour and presentation style. He never really raises or drops his voice — i.e. his delivery is usually very equal and thus requires no fiddling with volume — and while that may seem to be a minor issue I find it very refreshing.
He’s quite erudite and obviously well versed in more than just academic subjects.
This lecture does replicate some information in his other two courses but he’s so entertaining that it still seems fresh.
Please, Great Courses, encourage this man to make more offerings! I will buy them ALL!

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

Why? Why not?

Philosophy is more interesting than one may consider. Throw in scifi as examples any it is amazing.

Using scifi as a back drop to try to answer some of life's great questions it brilliant. Oh course I suppose one must be a scifi fan to truly see the point of the comparison.

I don't thing you have to be a scifi fan to truly appreciate these lectures however.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

exciting interpretation of Science fiction

I can't see looking at science fiction any more other than with new eyes and much more respect. this book covered it all in human psychology. profound ideas and thorough explanations, never a dull moment, and now a lot of movies to rewatch. I can't wait until a new lecture series is done.

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars

A great course

Thank you Professor Johnson. You have definitely blown my mind with the topics covered in your course. I need to go back and take my time to listen to this course again. There is so much information to process and to be honest I found the course to be so stimulating at times that I wanted to quit my job and devote my life to the pursuit of truth. I look forward to listening to your audiobook again and again and hope that the Great Courses will have you back. I promise that I won't be hasty and quit my job, but, I think I've found a new side hustle. Thank you very much for your efforts. Cheers!

Trier :
  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Marcos Trujillo Cue
  • Miami
  • 2018-06-14

It only scratches the surface

It only scratches the surface of what the topic could yield, but the professor's time is clearly restrained as he mentions at the end of the course. If you're new to the concept of philosophy and are a science fiction buff the course is definitely worth it.

10 personnes sur 10 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marc
  • 2018-09-24

Fun to listen to, even with its limitations

This is one of the better "Great Courses" I have listened to - the lecturer turns his limited view (only US- and Britain based movies/TV series are considered "SF", the rest of the world is being completely ignored) into an advantage by assigning some more or less dull movies deeper meaning than even their directors probably ever thought of.

This I mean in the most respectful, positive way.

Yes, I would have wished for more respect to the often much older European or Russian stories that most of the movies the lecturer discusses are based on or developed of, especially when the lecturer claims those modern movies to be somewhat "original". But still, the philosophical questions, the lines of thought that the movies invite you to follow are interesting, fascinating, thrilling. No matter who came up first with the ideas.
I really enjoyed the mostly up-to-date state of the course with respect to physics and philosophy. Most "Great" Courses I
listened to sound like 50 years behind, not taking in any development in their respective field that has happened after the Americas have been rediscovered (I am, slightly, exaggerating).
Instead, this course takes place "today" (2018 that is, for any reader from the future), mentions current views on quantum physics, probabilities, recent discussions in philosophy and history. That I really appreciate.

I liked most of the narration, subtracting one star for the fact that the narrator *is* the professor who created the course and his "ignorance" of, sometimes, "better" approaches to the topics he discusses outside the (originally) English speaking world and his neglecting of SF books (which, in my world, often are more consistent and believable, as they don't have to cater that much to an audience with an attention span of 7 seconds like some observers consider movie audiences to have).

The major critic I have about the content ("Story" in Audible's stars-bar) is that quite often the lecturer does not discuss obvious flaws in philosophical ideas or thought experiments he presents. In that respect, he is TOO MUCH movie/show-centered: As long as the action works, don't care about the story. No, with philosophy, the action should be third, not first.
A simple example (and really just one of many) is the "20% probability of us living in a simulated world". Even if this is excused to be a subjective probability, its explanation doesn't hold up, since most "possible states we live in" are objectively identical or overlap. Not only sets that the calculation plain wrong, but it also diminishes the plausibility and believability of the argument. It's not that the thought is *wrong*, but if you want to turn a thought into an argument, it should hold enough water.

Again, in sum, this is definitely one of the better Great Courses, well worth the time and triggering interest in looking into philosophy authors mentioned throughout the discussions. Just don't think this course can make those movies better. Read a book instead.

6 personnes sur 7 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Brad
  • 2018-07-07

Nerd, Defined.

Our professor professes to be a Science Fiction nerd; and he is. What you must know before you purchase: What is a Science Fiction Nerd? Science Fiction Nerds don't read any Science Fiction. I did not know this. In Nerd World, SF exists only on film ( this includes TV, obviously ). Nerd SF does not include any science fiction novels, short stories, novellas, etc, UNLESS the book has been adapted for film - and then, only the film adaptation is considered. Yes. The SF nerd is a very limited creature. They wanna watch. This will include zero SF novels. But boy oh boy, if your SF is "Star Wars" (meh), "Star Trek" (goofy), "Star Trek; Next Gen" (YAWN - they carpeted the Enterprise for this spin-off, perfect for lulling you to sleep). "Dr. Who" ( Not even shot with 35mm film. They used video tape. That's why "Dr. Who" looks just like General Hospital.

7 personnes sur 9 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-01-02

such a geeky arm chair philosopher's jam. loved it

This is such a geeky arm chair philosopher's jam. I loved it, it informs on multiple levels and is interesting.

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • criticaltom
  • 2018-08-06

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together ...

From Orson Scott Card I learned to call science fiction and fantasy "speculative literature." Thus it is probably from my life long love of science fiction that I also developed a keen interest in philosophy. Both stimulate the mind and push us into the realm of "what if?"; not always for the sake of escapism, but often for the sake of speculating about many issues that face humanity now and always. You can imagine, then, what a boon it was for me to find this new series of lectures by David Kyle Johnson of King's College (PA). Dr. Johnson delivers 24 thought-provoking lectures on important issues current in society that have been speculated on in science fiction movies, television, etc. The difficult issues and arguments--all handled thoroughly and in a balanced manner--are nicely illustrated by the references to science fiction. And as a bonus, I was more than once glad to receive a very convincing and clarifying interpretation of several of my favorites, including Inception and Metropolis. Any such lecture series is usually stronger or weaker by individual lectures, but these are pretty consistent throughout. Whether I agree totally or in part with Dr. Johnson's views, I have certainly enjoyed this stimulating course.

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kayleigh Thesenvitz
  • 2018-06-09

A lot to think about

There was so much good content I listened almost non-stop. Please bring this professor back and do more.

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • KENDRA GOODMAN
  • 2018-11-22

Weak philosophy loaded with misapplied facts and personal bias

1) The lectures do very little actual philosophy and spends far more time fetishizing the stories of science fiction and confusing them with reality.

2) An obvious personal bias toward religion and consistent condescending remarks toward religious people, especially Christianity. The lecturer is consistently more generous toward his own interests (ie. the scientific possibility of time travel vs. the scientific possibility of theism) and paints a broad, negative caricature of religion (ie. the Christian punk band he heard as a teen and then applied to religious as a whole). This seems to come from some personal negative experience he had and alludes to — a personal agenda not philosophy or sci-fi ... especially in the Handmaidens Tale lecture.

3) Makes poor, unsubstantiated generalizations such as “most philosophers agree”, “some scientists think” which can bolster any weak argument without the heavy lifting of actual research

4) Cherry picks perspectives to present that support his view without considering opposing views (ie. just about everything he says about quantum mechanics).

5) A non-physicist who paints a poor picture of quantum mechanics with several factual errors (ie. spin properties of entangled particles, particle and wave properties, etc). The worst offense is his lack of connection from the particle world to the aggregated (real) world and any functioning philosophy of why that might be important.

5) Weird attempts at humor detract from the course and further erodes the lecturer’s credibility. That said, the reviews of sci-fi films and shows is pretty entertaining apart from the bizarre personality.

All in all, this course is bad work from what appears to be a relatively untalented philosopher. Best to avoid.

2 personnes sur 3 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Fullerton, California, United States
  • 2018-06-11

Very good, extensive survey, well told

I really enjoyed this well-told survey of common themes in science fiction. The author/professor does a great job of presenting both or multiple sides of philosophical arguments fully, except for one key area. It's almost forgivable considering the work he does in all the other areas. The course comes with lengthy notes in a nicely published and organized PDF.

2 personnes sur 3 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matt Arnold
  • Cazenovia, NY, US
  • 2018-12-11

Good, but the instructor's bias may annoy you

This was a quite good survey of modern philosophy covering all major modern philosophical debates in enough detail to wet the appetite, in a fun and engaging way. If you're a nerd get ready for a fresh new look at some of your favorite stories and characters, and to fall in love with new franchises. If you're not a nerd, well enjoy the ride and prepare for assimilation, as the author's passion for the material and breath of coverage means you are sure to find something you enjoy in the vast world of science fiction.

I have two issues with this title however first is the instructor's voice which gets high pitched when he's excited (practically all the time) it gets a bit hard to understand at times. More seriously is the instructor adheres to what philosophers call a materialist epistemology. Meaning he holds that it is rational to believe only those things which can be demonstrated to be true by Science or those things which do not conflict with it. This in itself is not a problem, Materialism is a very popular philosophic position. But he uses it to attack religious belief in such a ham handed way that one can't help but think he's biased against religion in general and Christianity in particular

First he dismisses as irrational belief in the Resurrection of Jesus explicitly in lecture five. And then he makes out that the best counter to his argument against faith is an idea of Stephen J Gould's, which even professional Theist philosophers laugh at. There is no discussion of Neo Thomism or Theistic Neoplatanism. No mention of Paul Tillich, Bob Backer, Karl Roner, Blessed Pius XII, St Pius X, St Thomas Aquinas or St. Bonaventure. Roger Bacon, Kenneth Miller, or George Coyne. All of whom have proposed and defended better philosophical arguments counter to his position. He makes a hand wave an Non Overlaping Truths, and a pivot to attack the centeral doctrine of Christianity. My only conclusion is that he seeks to sneak this premise under the listener's intellectual radar without the listener's active engagement which is a hallmark of bias.

Full Disclosure I'm a committed Roman Catholic and ex Atheist so i too have a bias, but I just told you about it. Dr Johnston fails to do likewise and i find that a seriously troubling misstep in a professional academic

As i said a good listen but you may want to seek out other viewpoints for the topics covered in lectures 4,5,10 and 15.

3 personnes sur 5 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • Little Falls, MN USA
  • 2018-07-27

Get your nerd on, but not your Philosophy!

Professor Johnson is a self proclaimed nerd and has lots of evidence to back that up in this sci fi packed course. As far as Philosophy goes though, he lost me after just a few lectures. He gets his terms right and has picked great topics for lectures, but it is like listening to a community college PHIL 101 teacher push a liberal, Atheist agenda. He points out numerous fallacies throughout this course and then continues to back up his own arguments using the exact fallacies he cried about when talking about what he consideres the wrong view (even when his view is held by most others). He openly admits that he was a Christian as a kid and then spends numerous lectures spouting Dawkins and other New Athiest sound bites, even when the topic at hand has nothing to do with theism. He claims to not take sides on a topic and then uses fallacies to show why his philosophical position on it is the only right and enlightened position (wait until you hear the climate change lecture were he denounces Lukewarmers for not appealing to the right authority, then claims Philosophy the right authority and then how appealing to authority is fallacious). He also gives numerous definitive interpretations of various plots, meanings and scenes in numerous movies that are far fetched, weak and even deceiving, to make his arguments sound stronger. With all of that said, this course is still very entertaining, especially for those who love Science Fiction. Worth the listen, but not without a large grain of salt.

4 personnes sur 7 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente