Fluid selfhood, human and otherwise: Hindu and Buddhist themes in science fiction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Science fiction has creatively imagined future and alternative worlds in which Hindu and Buddhist concepts figure prominently. Rebirth is a particularly rich idea, manifested both literally and metaphorically in the literary works considered here. The distinctive Indic understandings of human consciousness that underlie the Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions' conceptions of human nature lend themselves to literary incarnations of artificial intelligence in a variety of ways. Traditional Hindu and Buddhist religious discourses on selfhood and rebirth have been adapted and integrated into the science fiction works discussed in this article in their reflections on human nature and artificial intelligence. However, this fiction also presents science and technology as implicitly religious, as being means to attain traditional religious goals such as immortal life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-508
Number of pages20
JournalImplicit Religion
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Buddhist
Selfhood
Science Fiction
Artificial Intelligence
Religion
Human Nature
Rebirth
Literary Works
Religious Traditions
Human Consciousness
Religious Discourse
Incarnation
Immortal
Conception
Fiction

Keywords

  • Anil Menon
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Ian McDonald
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Niranjan Sinha
  • Rebirth
  • Reincarnation
  • Roger Zelazny
  • Science fiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

Cite this

Fluid selfhood, human and otherwise : Hindu and Buddhist themes in science fiction. / Sullivan, Bruce M.

In: Implicit Religion, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2014, p. 489-508.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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