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Supervillains and Philosophy

Supervillains and Philosophy Author Ben Dyer
ISBN-10 9780812697803
Release 2011-09-30
Pages 288
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The devil gets his due in the latest entry in the Pop Culture and Philosophy series. Supervillains and Philosophy features an international cabal of philosophers and comics industry professionals conspiring to reveal the dark details — and deeper meanings — lurking behind today’s most popular comic book monsters. Whether it’s their moral justification for world domination or the wavering boundaries they share with the modern anti-hero, everyone's favorite villains generate as much attention as their heroic counterparts. The 20 essays in this accessible book explore the nature of supervillainy, examine the boundaries of good and evil, offer helpful advice to prospective supervillains, and untangle diabolical puzzles of identity and consciousness. All the legends are here, from Dr. Doom and the Spectre to the Joker and the Watchmen, reconsidered through the lens of classic and modern philosophy.



Superheroes and Philosophy

Superheroes and Philosophy Author Tom Morris
ISBN-10 9781459601130
Release 2010-10-01
Pages 468
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"Great Caesar's Ghost!! A team of Brainiacs! Superheroes and Philosophy is Kryptonite for those supervillains who diss the heroes as lightweights! Riddle me this, Batman: How are Gotham City and Metropolis like ancient Athens and modern Paris? Read this sensational book and find out!"



Comics as Philosophy

Comics as Philosophy Author Jeff McLaughlin
ISBN-10 1604730668
Release 2005
Pages 246
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Through the combination of text and images, comic books offer a unique opportunity to explore deep questions about aesthetics, ethics, and epistemology in nontraditional ways. The essays in this collection focus on a wide variety of genres, from mainstream superhero comics, to graphic novels of social realism, to European adventure classics. Included among the contributions are essays on existentialism in Daniel Clowes's graphic novel "Ghost World," ecocriticism in Paul Chadwick's long-running "Concrete" series, and political philosophies in Herge's perennially popular "The Adventures of Tintin." Modern political concerns inform Terry Kading's discussion of how superhero comics have responded to 9/11 and how the genre reflects the anxieties of the contemporary world. Essayists also explore the issues surrounding the development and appreciation of comics. Amy Kiste Nyberg examines the rise of the Comics Code, using it as a springboard for discussing the ethics of censorship and child protection in America. Stanford W. Carpenter uses interviews to analyze how a team of Marvel artists and writers reimagined the origin of one of Marvel's most iconic superheroes, Captain America. Throughout, essayists in Comics as Philosophy show how well the form can be used by its artists and its interpreters as a means of philosophical inquiry. Jeff McLaughlin is assistant professor of philosophy at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia."



Watchmen and Philosophy

Watchmen and Philosophy Author William Irwin
ISBN-10 0470730307
Release 2009-05-04
Pages 240
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Alan Moore's Watchmen is set in 1985 and chronicles the alternative history of the United States where the US edges dangerously closer to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Within this world exists a group of crime busters, who don elaborate costumes to conceal their identity and fight crime, and an intricate plot to kill and discredit these "superheroes." Alan Moore's Watchmen popularized the graphic novel format, has been named one of Time magazine's top 100 novels, and is now being made into a highly anticipated movie adaptation. This latest book in the popular Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series peers into Moore's deeply philosophical work to parse and deconstruct the ethical issues raised by Watchmen's costumed adventurers, their actions, and their world. From nuclear destruction to utopia, from governmental authority to human morality and social responsibility, it answers questions fans have had for years about Watchmen's ethical quandaries, themes, and characters.



Batman and Philosophy

Batman and Philosophy Author Mark D. White
ISBN-10 9780470532805
Release 2009-05-04
Pages 304
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Why doesn't Batman just kill the Joker and end everyone's misery? Can we hold the Joker morally responsible for his actions? Is Batman better than Superman? If everyone followed Batman's example, would Gotham be a better place? What is the Tao of the Bat? Batman is one of the most complex characters ever to appear in comic books, graphic novels, and on the big screen. What philosophical trials does this superhero confront in order to keep Gotham safe? Combing through seventy years of comic books, television shows, and movies, Batman and Philosophy explores how the Dark Knight grapples with ethical conundrums, moral responsibility, his identity crisis, the moral weight he carries to avenge his murdered parents, and much more. How does this caped crusader measure up against the teachings of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Lao Tzu?



The Onion and Philosophy

The Onion and Philosophy Author Sharon M. Kaye
ISBN-10 9780812697247
Release 2010-10-22
Pages 320
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The Onion, with its unique brand of deadpan satirical humor, has become a familiar part of the American scene. The newspaper has a readership of over a million, and reaches millions more with its spin-off books and Onion News Network. The Onion has shown us that standard ways of thinking about the news have their grotesque and silly side, and this invites philosophical examination. Twenty-one philosophers were commissioned to provide witty philosophical perspectives on just what makes the Onion so truthful and insightful. Former Governor Sarah Palin reported: “I just couldn’t put it down. The Onion and Philosophy is the most exciting book I’ve read since Principia Mathematica.” Are the Onion writers truly cynical, or just cynically faking it? Does the Onion really have a serious point of view on religion? On sex? On politics? Who cares what Area Man thinks? If everyone’s so dumb, how come so many Onion readers keep on laughing at how dumb they are?



Doctor Who and Philosophy

Doctor Who and Philosophy Author Courtland Lewis
ISBN-10 9780812697254
Release 2010-10-22
Pages 288
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Not only is Doctor Who the longest-running science fiction TV show in history, but it has also been translated into numerous languages, broadcast around the world, and referred to as the “way of the future” by some British politicians. The Classic Doctor Who series built up a loyal American cult following, with regular conventions and other activities. The new series, relaunched in 2005, has emerged from culthood into mass awareness, with a steadily growing viewership and major sales of DVDs. The current series, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is breaking all earlier records, in both the UK and the US. Doctor Who is a continuing story about the adventures of a mysterious alien known as “the Doctor,” a traveller of both time and space whose spacecraft is the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), which from the outside looks like a British police telephone box of the 1950s. The TARDIS is “bigger on the inside than on the outside”—actually the interior is immense. The Doctor looks human, but has two hearts, and a knowledge of all languages in the universe. Periodically, when the show changes the leading actor, the Doctor “regenerates.”



Halo and Philosophy

Halo and Philosophy Author Luke Cuddy
ISBN-10 9780812697285
Release 2011-04-12
Pages 288
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Since the Doom series, First Person Shooter (FPS) videogames have ricocheted through the gaming community, often reaching outside that community to the wider public. While critics primarily lampoon FPSs for their aggressiveness and on-screen violence, gamers see something else. Halo is one of the greatest, most successful FPSs ever to grace the world of gaming. Although Halo is a FPS, it has a science-fiction storyline that draws from previous award-winning science fiction literature. It employs a game mechanic that limits the amount of weapons a player can carry to two, and a multiplayer element that has spawned websites like Red vs. Blue and games within the game created by players themselves. Halo’s unique and extraordinary features raise serious questions. Are campers really doing anything wrong? Does Halo’s music match the experience of the gamer? Would Plato have used Halo to train citizens to live an ethical life? What sort of Artificial Intelligence exists in Halo and how is it used? Can the player’s experience of war tell us anything about actual war? Is there meaning to Master Chief’s rough existence? How does it affect the player’s ego if she identifies too strongly with an aggressive character like Master Chief? Is Halo really science fiction? Can Halo be used for enlightenment-oriented thinking in the Buddhist sense? Does Halo's weapon limitation actually contribute to the depth of the gameplay? When we willingly play Halo only to die again and again, are we engaging in some sort of self-injurious behavior? What is expansive gameplay and how can it be informed by the philosophy of Michel Foucault? In what way does Halo’s post-apocalyptic paradigm force gamers to see themselves as agents of divine deliverance? What can Red vs. Blue teach us about personal identity? These questions are tackled by writers who are both Halo cognoscenti and active philosophers, with a foreword by renowned Halo fiction author Fred Van Lente and an afterword by leading games scholar and artist Roger Ngim.



Inception and Philosophy

Inception and Philosophy Author Thorsten Botz-Bornstein
ISBN-10 9780812697384
Release 2011-10-14
Pages 288
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You have to go deeper. Inception is more than just a nail-biting heist story, more than just one of the greatest movies of all time. The latest neuroscience and philosophy of mind tell us that shared dreams and the invasion of dreams may soon become reality. Inception and Philosophy: Ideas to Die For takes you through the labyrinth, onto the infinite staircase, exploring the movie’s hidden architecture, picking up its unexpected clues. How will Inception change your thinking? You can’t imagine. How will Inception and Philosophy change your life? You simply have no idea.



Transformers and Philosophy

Transformers and Philosophy Author John R. Shook
ISBN-10 9780812698145
Release 2012-03-30
Pages 384
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Transformers began with toys and a cartoon series in 1984 and has since grown to include comic books, movies, and video games — its science fiction story has reached an audience with a wide range second only to that of Star Wars. Here, in Transformers and Philosophy, a dream team of philosophers pursues the fascinating questions posed by humankind’s encounter with an artificially intelligent mechanical civilization: Is genuine artificial intelligence possible? Would a robotic civilization come with its own morality and artistic life, and would it find a need for romantic love? Should we be more careful about developing robots that may eventually develop ideas of their own? Transformers and Philosophy puts Transformers under a microscope and exposes its philosophical implications in an instantly readable way.



Dexter and Philosophy

Dexter and Philosophy Author Richard Greene
ISBN-10 9780812697261
Release 2011-04-12
Pages 288
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What explains the huge popular following for Dexter, currently the most-watched show on cable, which sympathetically depicts a serial killer driven by a cruel compulsion to brutally slay one victim after another? Although Dexter Morgan kills only killers, he is not a vigilante animated by a sense of justice but a charming psychopath animated by a lust to kill, ritualistically and bloodily. However his gory appetite is controlled by “Harry’s Code,” which limits his victims to those who have gotten away with murder, and his job as a blood spatter expert for the Miami police department gives him the inside track on just who those legitimate targets may be. In Dexter and Philosophy, an elite team of philosophers don their rubber gloves and put Dexter’s deeds under the microscope. Since Dexter is driven to ritual murder by his “Dark Passenger,” can he be blamed for killing, especially as he only murders other murderers? Does Dexter fit the profile of the familiar fictional type of the superhero? What part does luck play in making Dexter who he is? How and why are horror and disgust turned into aesthetic pleasure for the TV viewer? How essential is Dexter’s emotional coldness to his lust for slicing people up? Are Dexter’s lies and deceptions any worse than the lies and deceptions of the non-criminals around him? Why does Dexter long to be a normal human being and why can’t he accomplish this apparently simple goal?



Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy

Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy Author Josef Steiff
ISBN-10 9780812697360
Release 2011-10-11
Pages 384
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This entertaining collection of essays shows that Sherlock Holmes sees things others don’t. He sees the world in a different way, and by so doing, allows us to see that same world – and human behavior – in different ways as well. Oh, sure, there have been countless detectives who have followed in his footsteps and who seem to rival his abilities. Just turn on the TV or browse the local bookshop and you’ll find idiosyncratic super sleuths using forensics and reasoning to solve a whole host of crimes and misdeeds. And yet no one rivals our dear, dear Holmes. Why does Sherlock reign, even more than a century later, as king? Can this mystery be solved? Unable to reach either Holmes or Watson (or Doyle for that matter, though we’ve tried every medium we can think of), we’ve been forced to gather our own team of investigators to practice their powers of observation and perception, to apply their own reasoning and methodologies to the task at hand. The results, I fear, have led us to a number of cases that must be solved first. Is Holmes simply eccentric or a sociopath? Is he human or something from the holodeck? Is he as dangerous on the page as he is in person? Wait – does he even exist? For that matter, do you? (I fear several investigators have been forced to take a much needed holiday after wrestling with that one.) What is the source of his faculty of observation and facility for deduction? Systematic training as Watson surmises? Genetic? Or is he just really lucky? And is this whole logic thing compatible with emotions? Are Holmes and Watson good friends or soul mates? Just what is the nature of friendship? Do they complete each other or just get on each other’s nerves? And why all the secrecy? Disguises? Deceptions? The plot thickens. What is the essence of consciousness? Is the observable world subject to our intentions? Why does Holmes debunk mysticism when Doyle so readily embraces it? Why is Holmes our favorite drug user? Our notebooks are filled with clues and, dare I say, answers. Is there more than one way to define the concept, justice? Is hope necessary in the world? Is boredom? Play? Can any thing really be understood? Objectively? And just what is the last unresolved mystery involving Sherlock Holmes? The game that's afoot isn't just the thing being pursued but the fun to be had as well.



Neil Gaiman and Philosophy

Neil Gaiman and Philosophy Author Tracy L. Bealer
ISBN-10 9780812697919
Release 2012-06-19
Pages 288
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Neil Gaiman is the imaginative wizard behind the best-selling novels American Gods (soon to be an HBO series) and The Anansi Boys, the graphic series The Sandman, and popular children’s books like Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman and Philosophy looks at Gaiman’s work through a philosophical lens. How does fantasy interact with reality and what can each tell us about the other? Do we each have other selves who embody different personal qualities? If the unknown influences the known, is the unknown just as real as the known? What makes people truly valuable? In Neil Gaiman and Philosophy, eighteen philosophers explore Gaiman’s best-loved and unforgettable worlds: The Graveyard Book, a macabre parallel to The Jungle Book, in which the boy Bod is raised by the supernatural inhabitants of a graveyard. Coraline, in which a girl neglected by her parents finds another world with an Other Mother who pays her a lot of attention, but then turns out to be evil and won’t let her go. Neverwhere, in which a London man discovers a magical parallel city, London Below. The Sandman, best-selling comic books in which the Lord of Dreams attempts to rebuild his kingdom after years of imprisonment. Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett) treats biblical prophecy, the Antichrist, and the End Times as a hilarious comic tale, filled with sly but good-humored twists and turns. MirrorMask, where a young circus girl finds that the pictures she has drawn have given her access to a fantastic world of light and shadow, populated with characters who have designs on her.



The Sopranos and Philosophy

The Sopranos and Philosophy Author Richard Greene
ISBN-10 9780812698084
Release 2012-03-30
Pages 352
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This collection of essays by philosophers who are also fans does a deep probe of the Sopranos, analyzing the adventures and personalities of Tony, Carmella, Livia, and the rest of television's most irresistible mafia family for their metaphysical, epistemological, value theory, eastern philosophical, and contemporary postmodern possibilities. No prior philosophical qualificationsor mob connections are required to enjoy these musings, which are presented with the same vibrancy and wit that have made the show such a hit.



Philip K Dick and Philosophy

Philip K  Dick and Philosophy Author D. E. Wittkower
ISBN-10 9780812697391
Release 2011-10-17
Pages 288
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Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick (1928–1982) is the giant imagination behind so much recent popular culture—both movies directly based on his writings, such as Blade Runner (based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau plus cult favorites such as A Scanner Darkly, Imposter, Next, Screamers, and Paycheck and works revealing his powerful influence, such as The Matrix and Inception. With the publication in 2011 of volume 1 of Exegesis, his journal of spiritual visions and paranoic investigations, Dick is fast becoming a major influence in the world of popular spirituality and occult thinking. In Philip K. Dick and Philosophy thirty Dick fans and professional thinkers confront the fascinating and frightening ideas raised by Dick’s mind-blowing fantasies. Is there an alien world behind the everyday reality we experience? If androids can pass as human, should they be given the same consideration as humans? Do psychotics have insights into a mystical reality? Would knowledge of the future free us or enslave us? This volume will also include Dick's short story "Adjustment Team," on which The Adjustment Bureau is based. Philip K. Dick and Philosophy explores the ideas of Philip K. Dick in the same way that he did: with an earnest desire to understand the truth of the world, but without falsely equating earnestness with a dry seriousness. Dick’s work was replete with whimsical and absurdist presentations of the greatest challenges to reason and to humanity—paradox, futility, paranoia, and failure—and even at his darkest times he was able to keep some perspective and humor, as for example in choosing to name himself ‘Horselover Fat’ in VALIS at the same time as he relates his personal religious epiphanies, crises, and delusions. With the same earnest whimsy, we approach Philip K. Dick as a philosopher like ourselves—one who wrote almost entirely in thought-experiments and semi-fictional world-building, but who engaged with many of the greatest questions of philosophy throughout the Euro-American tradition. Philip K. Dick and Philosophy has much to offer for both serious fans and those who have recently learned his name, and realized that his work has been the inspiration for several well-known and thought-provoking films. Most chapters start with one or more of the movies based on Dick’s writing. From here, the authors delve deeper into the issues by bringing in philosophers' perspectives and by bringing in Dick’s written work. The book invites the reader with a casual familiarity with Dick to get to know his work, and invites the reader with little familiarity with philosophy to learn more. New perspectives and challenging connections and interpretations for even the most hard-core Dick fans are also offered. To maximize public interest, the book prominently addresses the most widely-known films, as well as those with the most significant fan followings: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, and The Adjustment Bureau. Along with these “big five” films, a few chapters address his last novels, especially VALIS, which have a significant cult following of their own. There are also chapters which address short stories and novels which are currently planned for adaptation: Radio Free Albemuth (film completed, awaiting distribution), The Man in the High Castle (in development by Ridley Scott for BBC mini-series), and “King of the Elves” (Disney, planned for release in 2012).



Psych and Philosophy

Psych and Philosophy Author Robert Arp
ISBN-10 9780812698268
Release 2013-06-17
Pages 288
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“I’m getting something,” says Shawn, assuming a look of intense concentration and pressing his fingertips to the sides of his head. Shawn Spencer uses lies, pretense, and distraction to get at the truth. But can pseudoscience and fakery really be so helpful? And if they can be, is it ethical to employ them? Psych and Philosophy takes an entertaining tour through the philosophical issues raised by a fake psychic. Can faulty logic get to the truth quicker than good logic? Are other people to blame for Shawn’s deceptions, because they’re more ready to credit him with supernatural powers than with superior natural powers? Is instinct more important than smart thinking—in police work and in life? Is it ethical to tell lies to promote the truth (and protect the public from criminals)? Almost every episode of Psych revolves around a grisly death, treated humorously by the repartee between Shawn and Gus. The show has much to tell us about human ways of coping with death, as well as about the problem of justified knowledge, the ethics of law enforcement, and the interaction of love, friendship, loyalty, and professionalism.



Breaking Bad and Philosophy

Breaking Bad and Philosophy Author David R. Koepsell
ISBN-10 9780812697902
Release 2012-06-20
Pages 288
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Breaking Bad, hailed by Stephen King, Chuck Klosterman, and many others as the best of all TV dramas, tells the story of a man whose life changes because of the medical death sentence of an advanced cancer diagnosis. The show depicts his metamorphosis from inoffensive chemistry teacher to feared drug lord and remorseless killer. Driven at first by the desire to save his family from destitution, he risks losing his family altogether because of his new life of crime. In defiance of the tradition that viewers demand a TV character who never changes, Breaking Bad is all about the process of change, with each scene carrying forward the morphing of Walter White into the terrible Heisenberg. Can a person be transformed as the result of a few key life choices? Does everyone have the potential to be a ruthless criminal? How will we respond to the knowledge that we will be dead in six months? Is human life subject to laws as remorseless as chemical equations? When does injustice validate brutal retaliation? Why are drug addicts unsuitable for operating the illegal drug business? How can TV viewers remain loyal to a series where the hero becomes the villain? Does Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty rule our destinies? In Breaking Bad and Philosophy, a hand-picked squad of professional thinkers investigate the crimes of Walter White, showing how this story relates to the major themes of philosophy and the major life decisions facing all of us.