Fall 2024

Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Science Fiction of Freedom

Prereq: none
Units: 3-0-9 HASS-H

What does it mean to be free? Is freedom a state of mind? An inalienable property of the self? The absence of coercive or oppressive structures?

Such questions often inspire philosophers to develop thought experiments about alternative worlds. These same questions also lie at the heart of many major works in science fiction. This subject will put the two together—philosophy and science fiction—to consider speculative techniques for imagining freedom. Students will consider work by Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Kazuo Ishiguro, Isaiah Berlin, Robert Nozick, Saidiya Hartman, and many others.