Science fiction explores the wonderful, baffling and wildly entertaining aspects of a universe unimaginably old and vast, and with a future even more immense. It reaches into that endless cosmos with the tools of rational investigation and storytelling. At the core of both science and science fiction is the engaged human mind--a consciousness that sees and feels and thinks and loves. But what is this mind, this aware and self-aware consciousness that seems unlike anything else we experience? What makes consciousness the Hard Problem of philosophy, still unsolved after millennia of probing? This book looks into the heart of this mystery - at the science and philosophy of consciousness and at many inspiring fictional examples - and finds strange, challenging answers.The book's content and entertaining style will appeal equally to science fiction enthusiasts and scholars, including cognitive and neuroscientists, as well as philosophers of mind. It is a refreshing romp through the science and science fiction of consciousness.
Every age has characteristic inventions that change the world. In the 19th century it was the steam engine and the train. For the 20th, electric and gasoline power, aircraft, nuclear weapons, even ventures into space. Today, the planet is awash with electronic business, chatter and virtual-reality entertainment so brilliant that the division between real and simulated is hard to discern. But one new idea from the 19th century has failed, so far, to enter reality-time travel, using machines to turn the time dimension into a two-way highway. Will it come true, as foreseen in science fiction? Might we expect visits to and from the future, sooner than from space? That is the Time Machine Hypothesis, examined here by futurist Damien Broderick, an award-winning writer and theorist of the genre of the future. Broderick homes in on the topic through the lens of science as well as fiction, exploring some fifty different time-travel scenarios and conundrums found in the science fiction literature and film.
Intelligence Unbound explores the prospects, promises, and potential dangers of machine intelligence and uploaded minds in a collection of state-of-the-art essays from internationally recognized philosophers, AI researchers, science fiction authors, and theorists. Compelling and intellectually sophisticated exploration of the latest thinking on Artificial Intelligence and machine minds Features contributions from an international cast of philosophers, Artificial Intelligence researchers, science fiction authors, and more Offers current, diverse perspectives on machine intelligence and uploaded minds, emerging topics of tremendous interest Illuminates the nature and ethics of tomorrow's machine minds-and of the convergence of humans and machines-to consider the pros and cons of a variety of intriguing possibilities Considers classic philosophical puzzles as well as the latest topics debated by scholars Covers a wide range of viewpoints and arguments regarding the prospects of uploading and machine intelligence, including proponents and skeptics, pros and cons
Philosophy's Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress diagnoses the state of philosophy as an academic discipline and calls it to account, inviting further reflection and dialogue on its cultural value and capacity for future evolution. Offers the most up-to-date treatment of the intellectual and cultural value of contemporary philosophy from a wide range of perspectives Features contributions from distinguished philosophers such as Frank Jackson, Karen Green, Timothy Williamson, Jessica Wilson, and many others Explores the ways philosophical investigations of logic, world, mind, and moral responsibility continue to shape the empirical and theoretical sciences Considers the role of contemporary philosophy in political issues such as women's rights, the discrimination of minorities, and public health