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Sci-Phi: Philosophy from Socrates to Schwarzenegger

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  269 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
The Philosopher at the End of the Universe (second edition: Sci-Phi) demonstrates how anyone can grasp the basic concepts of philosophy while still holding a bucket of popcorn. Mark Rowlands makes philosophy utterly relevant to our everyday lives and reveals its most potent messages using nothing more than a little humor and the plotlines of some of the most spectacular, ...more
Paperback, Second, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 12, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Colin, Michael, Brandon
I think I could easily put this into my top five favorite books ever...or at least slot it among those that had the biggest impact on my life. I picked it up out of curiosity from the "new" section of our local library years ago. It seemed like a good fit; I love science fiction films, and I've long had a passing interest in philosophy, without actually being familiar with all the "greats."

The book is written is an easy, conversational style by current professor of Philosophy at the University
Mar 02, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: me
I would read a chapter, and then go rent the movie. It was totally fun, and I'd recommend it!
Robert C.
Mar 04, 2015 Robert C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knowledge
It seems like, from my chapter by chapter progress reports, (see below (unless goodreads has rearranged stuff)) that I really enjoyed and engaged with this book, so it's slightly puzzling that I only gave it four stars.

I love the premise of the book - that it is possible to use Science Fiction movies as an aid to understanding certain aspects of philosophy. I love this not just because it's more engaging to study philosophy by watching movies, but because I genuinely feel that there are deeper w
Mar 04, 2009 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Sci-Phi book as opposed to Sci-fi. The author uses Sci-fi movies to make philosophical points. While there are many doubts that film producers are trying to make philosophical points when making movies one can read a lot of social commentary into them. Rowlands claims Arnold Schwartzenegger is perhaps the greatest Austrian philosopher of the 20th century. That is kind of a stretch, but the characters he plays can be used to discuss philosophical issues. The mind-body problem is exempli ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Ethan rated it really liked it
I'm planning to use this for teaching a college class on philosophy and film. I think it will work pretty well. Rowlands does more than just summarize philosophical ideas (although he does that rather well). He also makes some intriguing points of his own, which makes this a lot more philosophically interesting. I particularly enjoy the chapters on The Matrix, Minority Report, Independence Day/Aliens, and Bladerunner. Oh, Rowlands also has a great sense of humor (or, since it's a very British ty ...more
Oct 20, 2012 Huseyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book for those who'd like to enjoy philosophy with some popcorn. If you loved those Sci-Fi movies of the last two decades, you're gonna love this one. Recommended!
N Mursidi
Feb 27, 2009 N Mursidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buku-hadiah
Belajar Filsafat Sembari Nonton FIlm
(sumber: kedaulatan rakyat, Minggu tanggal tidak terlacak)

Judul buku : Menikmati Filsafat Melalui Film Science-Fiction
Penulis: Mark Rowlands
Penerbit : Mizan, Bandung
Cetakan : Pertama, 2004
Tebal buku : xxxix + 251 halaman

DALAM perdebatan filsafat, ada satu hal "krusial" yang selalu aktual dan jadi perdebatan tak kunjung usai; pertentangan dari dalam dan dari luar tentang cara manusia melihat dunia. Dari dalam, siapa pun akan melihat dia (manusia) adalah pusat d
Bernie Gourley
Aug 16, 2014 Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that’s designed to make tedious material palatable. Rowlands achieves this by conveying the concepts of erudite philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, Sartre, Laplace, Kant, Heraclitus, Wittgenstein, Hume, and Heidegger through the lens of popular speculative fiction movies (almost all Sci-fi.)

The book uses thirteen films as case studies to consider ten critical philosophical concepts (over ten chapters.) Virtually all sci-fi fans are likely to have seen most—if not a
Dec 08, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I like the premise, and sentences like these: "If Kevin Bacon attempts to kill his co-workers, is he doing anything wrong according to the social contract theory?"

Overall, though, this wasn't the greatest read. Not all of the film/theory pairings work well. I get the impression that this would make a fun lecture series for an "introduction to philosophy for non-majors" class, where there's a back-and-forth dialogue between the professor and his students.
João Lamas
Aug 10, 2011 João Lamas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The concept of this book is absolutely brilliant: to serve as an introduction to philosophy by way of popular science-fiction films. It does that an more, it binds old concepts with fresh, clearer examples that are simple to understand by every one. It's a doorway to a new world that is accessible to everyone.
Dec 13, 2009 Sophie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very entertaining, easy to read introduction to the most important philosophical questions with intelligible explanations. I also liked that the examples from the movies don't seem that far-fetched, compared with similar books on that topic that I've read. Recommended!
Apr 28, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
Better than I expected! Silly intro to a lot of different philosophical concepts using plots from Sci-Fi movies. Fun to read.
Cody Sexton
Jan 14, 2017 Cody Sexton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Absurdity is the defining feature of human existence.
The idea of absurdity revolves around the clash of two perspectives we have on ourselves, a view from the inside and a view from the outside. From the inside you are somebody, from the outside you are a joke.
Life is ultimately meaningless, but then so is the statement that says it is, but it still remains as the most meaningful thing that will ever happen to us, a paradox.
Our lives are meaningless but in order for it to be absurd requires c
Jesus Hills
I was first introduced to this book in an high school Science Fiction English class. We had to read snippets of the book to supplement the movies and books we were reading, and it was interesting to some extent but I was more interested in reading the actual books and watching the movies than paying attention the supplemental readings from this book. So to be honest the first time I as given this book to read I didn't really do it, and the readings I did do, I didn't really pay attention to. But ...more
Mar 24, 2010 Martin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I was looking up pictures of this author (Mark Rowlands) I was overcome with the feeling that I'd seen him before. After a few minutes it suddenly dawned on me that he's a doppelgänger for the drunk pilot from Independance Day (a film that's discussed in the book nonetheless) and a drunk pilot is probably a fair, though probably a bit too harsh, of an analysis of his writing style at times in this book.

I stole this book off a friend thinking that it looked like it may be an easy and enterta
drg Rifqie Al Haris
Nonton film itu bukan sekedar mengagumi spesial efek, aktor tampan dan cantik, atau cerita yang menyentuh. Percayalah, kalau anda masih mengharapakan penghiburan macam itu, berarti anda baru 50% nya meresakan manfaat hiburan dari film.

Mark Rowland menghadirkan esensi film yang menjadi pelengkap 50%-nya itu. Bahkan film-film terbesar dan paling terkenalpun ternyata memiliki pemikiran yang sangat luas tentang apa yang dibalik pesan cerita itu sendiri. Dalam buku ini, Rowland berhasil menggali sisi
Jun 12, 2008 Erik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philosopher Rowlands, who likes to veg in front of a movie with a cold beer, also likes to write about the philosophical themes of recent films. I think you could always pick other (better) films on this sci-phi theme, besides Frankenstein, Hollow Man, the Sixth Day and all that, but that's just taste and Rowlands tends toward the popular and commercial, including a bizarre fanatic fandom for Arnie, even attributing to him the "philosophy" that his films illustrate. So you won't find Solaris her ...more
May 14, 2011 Guthers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you love action films (especially Arnie's) and didn't realise the deep philosophical questions being probed within, or just want to have a new perspective next time you rewatch an old favourite for the 36th time, then you should read this. From Total Recall to The Truman Show, via the Matrix (natch), Blade Runner, The Minority Report and others, explore the very nature of reality, self identity and justice.

Absolutely brilliant. I was forced to watch films I had never even previously considere
Jamie Nelson
Jul 05, 2013 Jamie Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author builds a highly effective plot line. I enjoyed the story and readers who like character driven plots with lots of action will too. This sci-fi story draws the reader in as you come to care about the principal players. No spoilers from me.
This book is a great entre into "Sci-Phi" or how science fiction is based on some basic fundamental makes watching the movies discussed even more interesting!
Tom Latham
Jun 20, 2007 Tom Latham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-nonfiction
A look at major philosopical issues and how they relate to box office sci-fi movies.
Nessar Ahmad
Mar 30, 2013 Nessar Ahmad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb introduction to philosophy through sci-fi or ''sci-phi'', want to read it again for the second and third time.
May 04, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I had to read this book for my Sci-Fi seminar. It had the potential to be an interesting book, but the author rambles on at times and it becomes a bit tiresome.
Martin Baylis
Jul 19, 2013 Martin Baylis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it, going to buy it again, read it years ago
Sean Walsh
Oct 14, 2012 Sean Walsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book deals with some relay big and complex philosophical questions in a fun and easy to understand way.
Sep 01, 2011 Antiloquax rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Wonderful book about SF films and philosophy.
Ihor Kolesnyk
Aug 10, 2015 Ihor Kolesnyk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Загалом цікава вступна книжка для тих, хто цікавить філософськими проблемами фантастики і фантастичних фільмів.
Jan rated it liked it
Sep 29, 2012
Quicchote rated it liked it
Mar 26, 2010
Jake Casella
Jake Casella rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2014
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Mark Rowlands was born in Newport, Wales and began his undergraduate degree at Manchester University in engineering before changing to philosophy. He took his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University and has held various academic positions in philosophy in universities in Britain, Ireland and the US.

His best known work is the book The Philosopher and the Wolf about a decade of his life he sp
More about Mark Rowlands...

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“Além disso, somos individualmente o produto de forças que não escolhemos e que mal compreendemos. Não escolhemos nossos pais nem a época em que nascemos, e assim recebemos uma determinada herança genética sobre a qual não temos controle algum, mas que, até um ponto significante, tem controle sobre nós. Essa herança determina, em parte, as doenças a que somos suscetíveis e os limites de nossas capacidades intelectuais, atléticas e morais. Talvez não totalmente, mas o suficiente. Nascemos num ambiente que vai preencher o pouco espaço que sobra do que foi determinado geneticamente, um ambiente que, novamente, não escolhemos e sobre o qual mal temos controle, pelo menos durante nossos anos de formação. A maneira como somos e aquilo que fazemos são resultados de nossos genes e nosso ambiente, que, juntos, exercem em nós uma influência que compreendemos de forma bastante nebulosa. Era isso que os filósofos existencialistas, com Jean-Paul Sartre, por exemplo, queriam dizer quando afirmavam que somos jogados no mundo.” 3 likes
“Essas duas histórias - a do lado de dentro e a do lado de fora - podem ser contadas sobre cada um de nós. Ao chamá-las de 'histórias' não pretendo diminuí-las. Algumas são, apesar de tudo, verdadeiras. O problema é que temos muita dificuldade em ver como ambas as histórias que contamos sobre nós podem ser verdadeiras. O efeito da segunda história, aquela contada do lado de fora, parece uma drástica realocação do nosso papel na trama. Longe de sermos o personagem principal da história, estamos reduzidos a um figuração. A história do lado de dentro gira ao nosso redor, mas na outra história cada um de nós é apenas um simples personagem em meio a muitos outros, um personagem cuja entrada em cena é determinada por outras pessoas e que não tem nenhum controle real sobre a hora da sua saída do palco. As coisas que impulsinam nossas vidas, as coisas que queremos, nossos planos, projetos e metas - aquilo que podemos chamar de nossa motivação - são o resultado de forças que não controlamos. Aparentemente, nosso papel foi escrito por outra pessoa. Temos pouco controle sobre o seu conteúdo e não temos a menos ideia de qual é o seu sentido.

O choque das duas histórias é às vezes chamado de condição humana.”
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