The Rejection of Rationalism in Recent Science Fiction Films

  • Author(s): Lane Roth
  • When: 1981-06
  • Where: Philosophy in Context
  • Human self-understanding in technological society has been the subject of recent philosophical inquiry. Don Ihde has argued the importance of films like Star Wars as technologically embodied, imaginative rituals of contemporary self-interpretation. Film as a technological art approaches its apotheosis in the science fiction genre, because of its accent on special effects, which have been called "the arena of filmmaking that incorporate the widest range of science and technology." William Barrett has designated technology as a "material incarnation of rationalism." The link between rationalism and science fiction film has been noted by Bruce Cook. Gary Wolfe emphasizes that "more than any other modern genre, science fiction provides a narrative realization of this new dogma of reason for reason's sake." This study seeks to demonstrate that current science fiction films communicate values that reject rationalism as articulated in the period known as the Enlightenment or the Age of Reason.

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