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Category Archives: guest post
Far further back than I care to admit, the large newspaper I worked for sent me to Amsterdam to attend a trade show. In among the many adventures I had on that trip, I discovered the incredible variety of cuisines … Continue reading
I recently attended a writing workshop with Kim Stanley Robinson via the Locus Writers Workshop series. The workshop was in Oakland, California (where I live), near the Locus offices, and Kim Stanley Robinson is one of my favorite authors. Signing … Continue reading
As I drank my morning coffee and scrolled through Twitter one morning, I stumbled upon a preview for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. At first, I didn’t quite realize where it was from. The name sounded familiar, them it hit … Continue reading
I was one of the very few kids who were able to graduate early from high school. Very few high schools in Minnesota had been doing this during my last year of school. My school, a fairly large school in … Continue reading
A bit of a preamble. I often say things which are completely true, only to be confronted by people who flat out claim that I’m only making it up. That I *must* be making it up. There’s no way the … Continue reading
Everyone says that indie publishing is the wave of the future. Avoiding gatekeepers, who are often prejudiced against particular ideas or demographics, and putting your work out there to see if it will sink or swim on its own, puts … Continue reading
I remember being in middle school and how easy it was to for me to keep my writing organized. I had this blue and white composition notebook which I wrote in every night. Middle school me filled that whole notebook … Continue reading
It’s difficult being someone my age who says she writes. Especially when I explain to people what kind of stories I like to write. Then, when I try to advertise my work that I post online, I always get the … Continue reading
Guest Post: Eric Schwitzgebel Gives One-Point-Five Cheers for a Hugo Award for a TV Show about Ethicists’ Moral Expertise
When The Good Place episode “The Trolley Problem” [won one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards, the Hugo, in the category of best dramatic presentation, short form, I celebrated. I celebrated not because I loved the episode (in fact, I had so far only seen a couple of The Good Place’s earlier episodes) but because, as a philosophy professor aiming to build bridges between academic philosophy and popular science fiction, the awarding of a Hugo to a show starring a professor of philosophy discussing a famous philosophical problem seemed to confirm that science fiction fans see some of the same synergies I see between science fiction and philosophy.
I do think the synergies are there and that the fans see and value them – as also revealed by the enduring popularity of The Matrix, and by West World, and Her, and Black Mirror, among others – but “The Trolley Problem”, considered as a free-standing episode, fumbles the job. (Below, I will suggest a twist by which The Good Place could redeem itself in later episodes.)
Yeah, I’m going to be fussy when maybe I should just cheer and praise. And I’m going to take the episode more philosophically seriously than maybe I should, treating it as not just light humor. But taking good science fiction philosophically seriously is important to me – and that means engaging critically. So here we go.