Terminator and Philosophy: I'll Be Back, Therefore I Am
William Irwin, Kevin S. Decker
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A timely book that uses science fiction to provoke reflection and discussion on philosophical issues
From the nature of mind to the ethics of AI and neural enhancement, science fiction thought experiments fire the philosophical imagination, encouraging us to think outside of the box about classic philosophical problems and even to envision new ones. Science Fiction and Philosophy explores puzzles about virtual reality, transhumanism, whether time travel is possible, the nature of artificial intelligence, and topics in neuroethics, among other timely issues. This thought-provoking volume is suitable for students and general readers but also examines new and more advanced topics of interest to seasoned philosophers and scientists.
Susan Schneider (Hometown TK) is Assistant Professor in the department of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and an Affiliated Faculty Member at the Institutes for Research in Cognitive Science and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.
Terminator’s stock in trade. As Sarah Connor tries in vain to impress on Dr. Silberman, “they have been built to do one perfect thing: to kill you” (SCC, “The Demon Hand”). Of course, we also know that Terminators can be reprogrammed to do one other “perfect thing”: keep you alive, at least if your name happens to be John Connor or Kate Brewster. But the fact that a machine could be designed to perform one of these tasks much more reliably and expertly than any human being wouldn’t persuade
. . . and I don’t even like cats. —Sarah Connor, The Terminator As the storyline of The Terminator grows, I continue to be drawn to Sarah Connor. To me, Sarah Connor represents Everywoman, a woman minding her own business, living as an average person until unavoidably confronted with an extraordinary situation. Just consider her amazing transformation from ordinary waitress to determined warrior between The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a personality she maintains in Terminator: The
situation once and for all when it says to Sarah, “Without John your life has no purpose” (SCC, “Heavy Metal”). In order for John to have a hope for a better future, Sarah gave up her own life, her old dreams, and her chance to live free of the stain caused by the violence of the future inﬂicted upon the present. Warriors and mothers, now and in times past, have made such sacriﬁces to better their societies. With greatness thrust upon her, Sarah did not have much of a choice. Still, we admire her
examining them. In the case of Dyson, our frustrated inability to pin blame on anyone for the Skynet incident might sway us toward accepting the consequentialist’s view that it would be better to kill him in order to reclaim the lives of so many others. In order to evaluate this position, we have to examine c12.indd 164 3/2/09 10:07:38 AM W H AT ’ S S O T E R R I B L E A B O U T J U D G M E N T D AY ? 165 the underlying assumptions of the belief, and this returns us to our question, “What
Rise of the Machines closes with these words, spoken by John Connor: “Maybe the future has been written. I don’t know. All I know is what the Terminator taught me: never stop ﬁghting. And I never will. The battle has just begun.” Just-war theory sets forth the rules by which we can legitimately enter into war, with the understanding that its ultimate purpose must be peace. War is not something to stumble into. It’s a last-ditch measure that aims to subdue an c13.indd 187 3/2/09 10:08:31 AM