Back to the Future and Philosophy: Call for Abstracts

deadline for submissions: 
January 22, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
McFarland and Co. Publishers Inc.

Call for Abstracts!

Back to the Future and Philosophy: This is Heavy!

Edited by Joshua Heter and Richard Greene

Abstracts are sought for a collection of essays on any philosophical topic related to Back to the Future (i.e., any of the 3 films) to be published with McFarland and Co. Publishers Inc. Potential contributors may want to examine previously published volumes from Heter and Greene such as Westworld and PhilosophyThe Princess Bride and PhilosophyThe Godfather and Philosophy, and Better Call Saul and Philosophy. We are hoping to receive a number of interesting and unique submissions centered around time and time travel (especially as they relate specifically to the films). However, we are also hoping to receive submissions on a number of other topics as well. These may include…

Philosophy of friendship: what is it about Doc and Marty’s friendship that is so special?

Free Will vs Determinism: is it really true that our life is “whatever we make it”? Is it true that our “future hasn’t been written yet?” How does the possibility of time travel affect this?

Time travel and Gettier cases: does traveling through time undermine knowledge?  Are there specific cases in the Back to the Future franchise that illustrate the Gettier Problem particularly well?

Being a slacker: what is a slacker; is Marty a slacker?  If so, does it matter?

Nostalgia: what is nostalgia, and why do we have it?

Motherly love: what’s the deal with Jocasta and/or Oedipus complexes?

Psychology: why does Marty care so much about being called a chicken?  What could he learn from (for instance) philosophers like the Stoics? Why does Biff act the way that he does (as a bully)?

Parental Ethics: what obligations do parents have about being honest (or dishonest) with their kids about their youthful debauchery?

Epistemology: Does the distinction between thinking with your “heart” vs. thinking with your “head”: hold up?

Philosophy of Science: is Doc a good scientist? Does he use science properly?

Cartesian Skepticism: can Marty ever know whether or not it was all just a dream?

The Ethics of Technology: does Doc have a moral obligation to inform the world of his invention? Does he have an obligation to destroy the time machine?

Ethics in Sports (Gambling): what are the ethics of gambling based on future knowledge (via the Sports Almanac)?

… and many more!

Abstracts and eventual essays should be written for an educated but non-specialized audience (with an approximate length of 3,000 –  3,500 words).

Contributor Guidelines:

Mail abstracts (and any questions) to:

            1. Abstracts should be between 100 – 500 words.

            2. Potential contributors must include a resume/CV for each author/coauthor.

            3. Initial submissions should be made by e-mail as either a Word doc. or a PDF.

            4. Deadlines:

                        Abstracts due by: January 15, 2024

                        First drafts due by April 22, 2024

                        Final drafts due by July 15, 2024                                   

                          (Early submissions are encouraged and welcomed!)