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‘The incalculable potency of community’: the role of science fiction in religion and science


Lehmann Imfeld, Zoë Christina (2019). ‘The incalculable potency of community’: the role of science fiction in religion and science. Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences, 6(2):148-163.

Abstract

This article describes a role for science-fiction literature as a tool with which to explore the shared concerns of science and religion. Science fiction is not, however, simply a servant to theological or scientific truth claims. Science fiction demands a particular set of ontological rules, and it challenges both theology and science to carefully consider their own methods and claims. In describing a role for science fiction in science and religion studies, we will re-evaluate the terms 'fabulation' and 'myth,' as described by Henri Bergson and Paul Tillich. Through this I will suggest ways in which theology as an academic discipline can participate in what I will term 'speculative empiricism,' reinforcing the need for creativity. This speculative empiricism will require a hospitality towards 'fabulation' that understands it not as invention or 'making up,' but as part of reconciling knowledge and understanding. I will use readings of Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker and Last and First Men as models for this endeavour.

Abstract

This article describes a role for science-fiction literature as a tool with which to explore the shared concerns of science and religion. Science fiction is not, however, simply a servant to theological or scientific truth claims. Science fiction demands a particular set of ontological rules, and it challenges both theology and science to carefully consider their own methods and claims. In describing a role for science fiction in science and religion studies, we will re-evaluate the terms 'fabulation' and 'myth,' as described by Henri Bergson and Paul Tillich. Through this I will suggest ways in which theology as an academic discipline can participate in what I will term 'speculative empiricism,' reinforcing the need for creativity. This speculative empiricism will require a hospitality towards 'fabulation' that understands it not as invention or 'making up,' but as part of reconciling knowledge and understanding. I will use readings of Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker and Last and First Men as models for this endeavour.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords:Science fiction, religion and science, Olaf Stapledon, speculative empiricism
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:26 Nov 2019 14:08
Last Modified:26 Jan 2022 23:12
Publisher:Mohr Siebeck
ISSN:2195-9773
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1628/ptsc-2019-0016

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