Science fiction offers a fertile ground for the exploration and study of ethical issues, but is often set in dystopian or utopian cultures very different from our own. This coure intends to utilize the near-present science fiction television series Stargate:SG1 to explore issues of applied ethics as they relate to our contemporary society. Set only a week or two ahead of our own time, this show offers an ideal framework to explore a broad variety of culturally relevent ethical issues.
A variety of applied ethical topics will be discussed, including (but not limited to) human torture, just war theory, bioethics, environmental ethics and population control. We will read from a variety of classical and contemporary sources, including Thomas Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham, Daniel Dennett, and Brian Massumi, and discuss the readings in relation to individual issues of the episode, which will be viewed at the beginning of class each week.
Students will be expected to write a final 3-5 page paper and participate in weekly class discussions in order to receive credit for this course. Knowledge of Stargate:SG1 is not required. Some philosophy or critical theory background is encouraged, but also not required.