About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rationally Speaking podcast: On Science Fiction and Philosophy

By its very nature, science fiction has always been particularly suited to philosophical exploration. In fact, some of the best science fiction novels, short stories, movies, and TV shows function like extended philosophical thought experiments: what might cloning tell us about our views on personal identity?

If we could all take a pill to be happy, would we want to do that? In this episode, Massimo and Julia recall some of their favorite philosophically-rich science fiction, and debate the potential pitfalls in using science fiction to reach philosophical conclusions.

Julia's pick: "3 Worlds Collide"
Massimo's pick: "Four kinds of philosophical people"

The Philosophical Roots of Science Fiction
Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence


  1. Great podcast,thanks!

    Julia, I started reading Ted Chiang at lunch today and I second your recommendation!

  2. I very enjoy your podcast and specifically this episode, thank you!

  3. I agree, great show. Of course the topic was one of the reasons, but I really enjoy how Massimo and Julia create a conversation. I just realized I like the non-guest shows better, because a guest just gets in the way of your conversation. Bravo!


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