Call for Abstracts: Philip K. Dick and Philosophy


Saw this in PhilUpdates this morning and thought those who read the blog might be interested. If I wasn’t already working on so many things over the Fall I’d love to contribute something to this.

Call for Abstracts
Philip K. Dick and Philosophy
Open Court Popular Culture and Philosophy Series

There are few authors as popular as Philip K. Dick who offer anything
even approaching the amount and quality of philosophical content that
his works contain. His novels and short stories not only reference,
but primarily concern central philosophical issues, and his career as
a whole took place at that point where existential dread meets
epistemology and metaphysics. Dick wrote of his work that “I am a
fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist . . . the core of my
writing is not art but truth.” For this volume we seek proposals that
will present and analyze Dick’s philosophical work in the spirit in
which he approached his writing: serious, careful, entertaining, and

We plan the release of the volume in Fall 2011, as soon as possible
after the release of The Adjustment Bureau. This means the entire
book is planned on a reduced schedule, and we will be seeking some
authors to volunteer to rewrite immediately after the movie debut,
March 4, in order to incorporate The Adjustment Bureau into their
chapters. These will likely be chapters dealing with issues of free
will and choice. For further information, watch the trailer here
(, read the short story here
(, and
feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

Chapters may concern any of Dick’s novels or stories, or movies based
upon them, although ideally we would prefer that there be some upfront
mention and discussion of one of his most famous movies—Blade Runner,
Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, or The Adjustment
Bureau. In addition to addressing the movies, we would be especially
interested in chapters also dealing with Do Androids Dream of Electric
Sheep?; Ubik; Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said; A Scanner Darkly;
Radio Free Albemuth; VALIS; “King of the Elves,” “Adjustment Team;”
and “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.”

Chapters should be interesting and engaging to readers who have only
seen the movies, while still providing insightful discussion and
elaboration for readers who have read his texts. To put it another
way, chapters should have the same relationship to Dick’s writing as
Dick found Blade Runner to have to his novel Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep?:
“After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and
looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who
started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started
with the movie would enjoy the novel.”

We welcome submissions from any philosophical tradition. Any number of
topics would work very well. Here are a few ideas:

• What is a ‘free will’?
• Is there ‘Elbow Room’ in The Adjustment Bureau and Minority Report?
• William James and David Norris’s Pragmatic Solution to the Problem
of Free Will
• Amor Fati, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Determinism
• Mortality and the “burned so very, very brightly” theodicy in Blade
• Foreknowledge, Divine and Otherwise, in The Adjustment Bureau and
Minority Report
• The Will to Believe . . . a pink beam of light?
• Epistemic responsibility, Gettier problems, and the pink beam
• How can I tell reality from Rekall?
• Does a Replicant have an essence?
• The Replicant’s Sickness Unto Death
• Means-ends rationality in A Scanner Darkly
• Personal identity in A Scanner Darkly
• Moral character, habits, and memory in A Scanner Darkly
• Memory and the self; Hume, Locke and Total Recall
• Is a Replicant a person?
• “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain:”
Roy Batty’s capacity for qualia
• The Man in the High Castle: On the Uses and Abuses of Alternate
History for Life

Please send a 200-300 word abstract to
prior to September 9th. Keep in mind that you’ll have to commit to
working on a tight schedule. Finished chapters, approx. 4000 words,
will be required by November 18th, with a rewrite due Jan 31st,

Address any questions to:



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3 responses to “Call for Abstracts: Philip K. Dick and Philosophy

  1. Pingback: Finally, Philip K. Dick and Philosophy | Open Geography

  2. horatiox

    Maybe some… and PKD and pragmatism as well, CLster:

    “Pitching your PK Dick project to Ho-wood insiders: a how-to-guide for aspiring Ridley Scotts”

    “Insider marketing secrets of Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report”

    “Off the pigs: Dick’s anti-statist, libertarian model of A Scanner Darkly”

    etc etc

    Actually….we may forward a prospectus, somethin’ like: “What a long strange trip it was: PKDick’s devolution from paranoid pulp to drug-induced psychosis”

    serio, most college-dweebs wouldn’t care to know what a fragmented, bitter story such as …A Scanner Darkly was really about, as in…authentically

  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful pleasure read-

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