Award-winning sci-fi writer to speak at Union

Publication Date

Ted Chiang’s science fiction has garnered high praise, including four Nebula awards, four Hugo awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His short story, “Story of Your Life,” was the basis of the 2016 film “Arrival.”

Ted Chiang

On Saturday, May 14, Chiang will give a Q&A as part of the Union College Philosophy Department workshop, “Ted Chiang and Philosophy.” To augment the conversation, students, faculty and staff are invited to a free screening of “Arrival” Thursday, May 12, in Karp Hall 105 (5 – 7 p.m.)

“I teach Ted Chiang’s writing in many of my philosophy classes. Colleagues in English, biology, and other disciplines teach his work as well,” said David Friedell, assistant professor of philosophy and organizer of the event. “Ted Chiang’s writing raises valuable questions about a variety of philosophical topics, including the metaphysics of time; aesthetics and the value of beauty; the ethics of technology and AI; the philosophy of math; and the philosophy of religion.”

“I’m thrilled and grateful that students and the entire Union community will be able to engage with such an important and excellent author,” he added.

The Q&A, also open to the public, will be held at 2 p.m. in Olin 115 on May 14.

On May 13 and the morning of May 14, Chiang will also participate in a closed seminar with nine visiting philosophers and two Union students. They will discuss the philosophical significance of Chiang’s work, with the goal of writing a book called Ted Chiang and Philosophy.

The visiting philosophers are Kiki Berk (Southern New Hampshire University), Rebecca Chan (San Jose State University), Noelle Leslie Dela Cruz (De La Salle University), Don Fallis (Northeastern University), Hannah Kim (Macalaster College), Ned Markosian (UMass Amherst), Bradley Rettler (University of Wyoming) and Katherine Ward (Bucknell University).

The event is supported by Union College, the Philosophy Department and the Ichabod Spencer Foundation.