In Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy, philosophers explore the momentous issues and the fascinating puzzles raised by Marvel’s compelling series of movies: ● Is the Thanos snap truly an answer to overpopulation and famine, or is it simply indefensible mass murder on a cosmic scale? ● Are the Avengers who try to stop Thanos dishing out justice or merely fighting a man who is himself just? ● Captain America or Tony Stark—which leader holds the key to a civilized society? ● Dr. Strange claims to sees 14,000,605 possible futures, in one of which Thanos is defeated. What does this tell us about the true nature of reality? ● Sometimes your best just isn’t enough. How can we cope with inevitability? ● How can the Soul Stone and the Binding of Isaac by Abraham help us understand the Infinity War saga? ● Is Thanos a utilitarian? And if so, is his utilitarian calculus logically sound? ● Would it be possible for a group like the Avengers to amass enormous power to fight for humankind, without themselves becoming a corrupt ruling class? ● Can the past Nebula shooting the future Nebula cause her to cease to exist? Can you change the future by communicating with yourself or your family in the past? ● Can Thanos be seen as the epitome of non-self-serving behavior, or is Thanos masking his own egoism with the lie that his altruistic mission is to bring the universe into balance? ● Does Thanos show us the danger of living by an absolute moral compass, which allows us to see only what we believe to be “the right” with no variations or nuances?
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which began as The Children’s Corner in 1953 and terminated in 2001, left its mark on America. The show’s message of kindness, simplicity, and individual uniqueness made Rogers a beloved personality, while also provoking some criticism because, by arguing that everyone was special without having to do anything to earn it, the show supposedly created an entitled generation. In Mister Rogers and Philosophy, thirty philosophers give their very different takes on the Neighborhood phenomenon. ● Rogers’s way of communicating with children has a Socratic dimension, and is compared with other attempts to cultivate philosophy in children. ● Wonder is the origin of philosophy and science, and Mister Rogers always looked for wonder. ● Did Mister Rogers unwittingly create the Millennials by his message that everyone is special? ● What Martin Buber’s I-Thou philosophy can tell us about Fred Rogers’s attempt to rehabilitate children’s television. ● X the Owl obsesses, Daniel Tiger regresses, Lady Elaine displaces anger, King Friday controls––how puppets can be used to teach us about feelings. ● Fred Rogers’s indirect communication is key to the show, and most evident in the land of make-believe, where he doesn’t make himself known. ● How Mister Rogers helps us see that the ordinary world is extraordinary, if we’re willing to open ourselves up to it. ● How does Mister Rogers’s method of teaching compare with Maria Montessori’s? ● Fred Rogers and Carl Rogers have a lot in common: The Neighborhood is observed in the light of Rogerian therapy. ● Mister Rogers’s view of evil is closer to Rousseau than to Voltaire. ● Fred Rogers gave a non-philosophical interpretation of the philosophical approach known as personalism. ● Daoism helps us understand how Fred Rogers, the antithesis of a stereotypical male, could achieve such success as a TV star. ● In the show and in his life, we can see how Rogers lived “the ethics of care.” ● Puppets help children understand that persons are not isolated, but interconnected. ● Mister Rogers showed us that talking and singing about our feelings makes them more manageable.
As RuPaul has said, this is the Golden Age of Drag—and that’s chiefly the achievement of RuPaul’s Drag Rac,/i>e, which in its eleventh year is more popular than ever, and has now become fully mainstream in its appeal. The show has an irresistible allure for folks of all persuasions and proclivities. Yet serious or philosophical discussion of its exponential success has been rare. Now at last we have RuPaul’s Drag Race and Philosophy, shining the light on all dimensions of this amazing phenomenon: theories of gender construction and identity, interpretations of RuPaul’s famous quotes and phrases, the paradoxes of reality shows, the phenomenology of the drag queen, and how the fake becomes the truly authentic. Among the thought-provoking issues examined in this path-breaking and innovative volume: ● What Should a Queen Do? Marta Sznajder looks at RuPaul’s Drag Race from the perspective of rationality. Where contestants have to eliminate each other, the prisoner’s dilemma and other well-known situations emerge. ● Reading Is Fundamental! Lucy McAdams analyzes two different, important speech acts that regularly appear on Drag Race—reading and throwing shade. ● The Values of Drag Race. Guilel Treiber observes two competing sets of values being presented in Drag Race. The more openly advertised “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent,” advancing the skills of every single contender, are opposed by the fading set of “acceptance, support, solidarity, and empowerment,” which has historically been the cornerstone of the LGBTI+ community. ● The Importance of Being Fabulous. Holly Onclin challenges the preconceived notion that drag queens are mainly about female impersonation and instead proposes to understand drag queens as impersonators of celebrity. ● RuPaul Is a Better Warhol. Megan Volpert compares RuPaul and Andy Warhol in their shared pursuit of realness. ● Is Reading Someone to Filth Allowed? Rutger Birnie asks whether there are ethical restrictions on reading someone, since reads are ultimately insults and could cause harm. ● Serving Realness? Dawn Gilpin and Peter Nagy approach the concept of realness in Drag Race, to discuss the differences between realness, authenticity and the nature of being. ● Death Becomes Her. Hendrik Kempt explores the topic of death both in philosophy and in Drag Race, starting from the claim that “Philosophy is training for death.” ● We’re All Born Naked. Oliver Norman follows up on Ru’s mantra, “We are all born naked and the rest is drag.” ● Fire Werk with Me. Carolina Are looks into the fan-subcultures of Drag Race and Twin Peaks, which have come together to form a unique sub-subculture, in which members of both fan-subcultures create memes and idiosyncrasies. ● Towards a Healthier Subjectivity? Ben Glaister looks at the way Drag Race contestants adopt their drag personae almost as second selves, without finding themselves violating their other self. ● RuPaul versus Zarathustra. Julie and Alice van der Wielen ask the question, Who would win an intellectual lip-sync battle—RuPaul or Nietzsche’s Zarathustra? ● Playing with Glitter? Fernando Pagnoni and pals explore the game and play elements of Drag Race. ● The Origins of Self-Love. Anna Fennell expounds upon RuPaul’s question, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” ● The Sublime. Sandra Ryan thinks about Kant’s concept of the sublime and explores how we find its applications in Drag Race. ● You Want to Be Anonymous? You Better Work! Alice Fox watches Drag Race through the lens of criminal law and the problem of decreasing anonymity through ubiquitous data surveillance. Drag Race can teach us how to create misleading patterns of online behavior and public presentation to render the blackbox persona useless. ● Drag and Vulnerability. Anneliese Cooper contrasts Drag Race’s demand for vulnerability and perceived authenticity with the inherent inauthenticity of creating a new persona.
In 1933 the crime writer Erle Stanley Gardner, himself a practicing lawyer, unleashed the character Perry Mason in the novel The Case of the Velvet Claws. Perry Mason entered into public consciousness as a new conception of the role of the defense lawyer, so that millions of Americans came to expect every criminal trial to have its “Perry Mason moment.” In the 1950s the Perry Mason TV show had a phenomenal success, and Mason came to be identified with Raymond Burr. Now Perry Mason has again been restored to life in the HBO series starring Matthew Rhys and John Lithgow. Meanwhile, the eighty-two original Erle Stanley Gardner novels continue to sell thousands of copies each week. Perry Mason gave America a new conception of the trial lawyer, as someone who was always loyal to his client and always prepared to use dirty tricks such as misdirection and withholding of evidence to protect the innocent and secure the ends of Justice. The Mason of the novels is less scrupulous than the Raymond Burr Mason, and would sometimes be in danger of going to jail if the trial didn’t turn out right—which it always did, largely because of Mason’s cleverness. The Perry Mason icon raises many philosophical issues explored by seventeen different philosophers in this book, including: ● Can we defend Paul Drake’s claim (The Case of the Blonde Bonanza) that Mason is “a paragon of righteous virtue” despite his predilection for skating on thin legal ice? ● Can complex murder cases be solved by facts alone—or do we also need empathy? ● The most convincing way to give a TV episode a surprise ending is by the guilty person suddenly confessing. But in reality, is a confession necessarily so convincing? ● Does Perry Mason represent the Messiah? ● How does the Raymond Burr Perry Mason compare with the more recent TV character Saul Goodman (Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul)? ● Is it morally okay to mislead the police if this helps your client and your client is innocent? ● How does Perry Mason help us understand the distinction between natural law and positive law? ● Do the Perry Mason stories comply with Aristotle’s recipe for a good work of fiction? ● Does life imitate art, when Perry Mason is cited in real-life courtroom arguments? ● How much trickery can be justified by loyalty to one’s client? ● Can evidence in murder trials be evaluated by probability theory? ● Perry Mason is officially a lawyer and unofficially a detective. But isn’t he really a historian and a psychgoanalayst? ● Della Street is a competent legal secretary, but is she something more? ● Mason often says that “Eye-witness testimony is the worst kind of evidence” and occasionally that “Circumstantial evidence is the best evidence we have.” Can these claims be defended?
The Good Place is a fantasy-comedy TV show about the afterlife. Eleanor dies and finds herself in the Good Place, which she understands must be mistake, since she has been anything but good. In the surprise twist ending to Season One, it is revealed that this is really the Bad Place, but the demon who planned it was frustrated, because the characters didn’t torture each other mentally as planned, but managed to learn how to live together. In ,i>The Good Place and Philosophy, twenty-one philosophers analyze different aspects of the ethical and metaphysical issues raised in the show, including: ● Indefinitely long punishment can only be justified as a method of ultimately improving vicious characters, not as retribution. ● Can individuals retain their identity after hundreds of reboots? ● Comparing Hinduism with The Good Place, we can conclude that Hinduism gets things five percent correct. ● Looking at all the events in the show, it follows that humans don’t have free will, and so people are being punished and rewarded unjustly. ● Is it a problem that the show depicts torture as hilarious? This problem can be resolved by considering the limited perspective of humans, compared with the eternal perspective of the demons. ● The Good Place implies that even demons can develop morally. ● The only way to explain how the characters remain the same people after death is to suppose that their actual bodies are transported to the afterlife. ● Since Chidi knows all the moral theories but can never decide what to do, it must follow that there is something missing in all these theories. ● The show depicts an afterlife which is bureaucratic, therefore unchangeable, therefore deeply unjust. ● Eleanor acts on instinct, without thinking, whereas Chidi tries to think everything through and never gets around to acting; together these two characters can truly act morally. ● The Good Place shows us that authenticity means living for others. ● The Good Place is based on Sartre’s play No Exit, with its famous line “Hell is other people,” but in fact both No Exit and The Good Place inform us that human relationships can redeem us. ● In The Good Place, everything the humans do is impermanent since it can be rebooted, so humans cannot accomplish anything good. ● Kant’s moral precepts are supposed to be universal, but The Good Place shows us it can be right to lie to demons. ● The show raises the question whether we can ever be good except by being part of a virtuous community.
Stranger Things and Philosophy is an important book, the first of its kind to examine the fantastical world of this award-winning, widely beloved, phenomenal show with a philosophical lens. This is important precisely because the show rests so heavily on a complex and thought-provoking mythos based around secretive government experiments and a parallel dimension that darkly reflects readers' own. The series as a whole has asked more questions than it has delivered answers, and the chapters in this volume will explore these topics. From the deepest recesses of the Upside Down, its tunnels snaking beneath the local bookstores of Hawkins, Indiana and who knows where else, this collection of philosophical musings on the world of Stranger Things promises to enlighten readers. This volume considers many of the philosophically related ideas that that come up in the show such as: What are the moral implications of secret government projects? What is the nature of friendship? Does scientific research need to be concerned with ethics? What might it be like to experience the world from the perspective of the Mind Flayer? Is it possible to understand the metaphysics of the Upside Down?
An engaging look at the philosophical underpinnings of Earth's Mightiest Heroes Avengers assemble! Tackling intriguing dilemmas and issues that no single great philosopher can withstand, this powerful book enlists the brainpower of an A-list team of history's most prominent thinkers to explore the themes behind the action of Marvel Comics' all-star superhero team. Arms you with new insights into the characters and themes of The Avengers Deepens your appreciation both of The Avengers comics and the Joss Whedon movie adaptation Answers the philosophical questions you've always had about Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including: Can a reformed criminal become a superhero? Can an android love a human? If a hero beats his wife, is he still a hero? Helps you think differently about the members of the superhero team—Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the others This thought-provoking book will help you understand this band of superheroes better, whether you've followed the Avengers for years or are a Joss Whedon fan just getting to know them.
Explore the mind and world of the brilliant neurosurgeon-turned-Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Stephen Strange Marvel Comics legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko first introduced Doctor Stephen Strange to the world in 1963—and his spellbinding adventures have wowed comic book fans ever since. Over fifty years later, the brilliant neurosurgeon-turned-Sorcerer Supreme has finally travelled from the pages of comics to the big screen, introducing a new generation of fans to his mind-bending mysticism and self-sacrificing heroics. In Doctor Strange and Philosophy, Mark D. White takes readers on a tour through some of the most interesting and unusual philosophical questions which surround Stephen Strange and his place in the Marvel Universe. Essays from two-dozen Philosophers Supreme illuminate how essential philosophical concepts, including existentialism, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics, relate to the world of Doctor Strange. Fans will find answers to all their Strange questions: How does Doctor Strange reconcile his beliefs in science and magic? What does his astral self say about the relationship between mind and body? Why is he always so alone? And what does he mean when he says we’re just “tiny momentary specks within an indifferent universe”—and why was he wrong? You won’t need the Eye of Agamotto to comprehend all that is wise within. Doctor Strange and Philosophy offers comic book fans and philosophers alike the chance to dive deeper into the world of one of Marvel’s most mystical superheroes.
Marvel Studios has provided some of the biggest worldwide cinematic hits of the last eight years, from Iron Man (2008) to the record-breaking The Avengers (2012), and beyond. Having announced plans to extend its production of connected texts in cinema, network and online television until at least 2028, the new aesthetic patterns brought about by Marvel's 'shared' media universe demand analysis and understanding. The Marvel Studios Phenomenon evaluates the studio's identity, as well as its status within the structures of parent Disney. In a new set of readings of key texts such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the thematics of superhero fiction and the role of fandom are considered. The authors identify milestones from Marvel's complex and controversial business history, allowing us to appraise its industrial status: from a comic publisher keen to exploit its intellectual property, to an independent producer, to successful subsidiary of a vast entertainment empire.
Comic books and superhero stories mirror essential societal values and beliefs. We can be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Ham, Black Panther or Rocket Raccoon through our everyday choices. We can't fly, fix hyper drives or hear human heartbeats a mile away, but we can think about what Matt Murdock would do in a conflict, how Superman would respond to natural disasters and how Captain America would handle humanitarian crises. This book analyzes the impact of dozens of comics by examining the noble personalities, traits and actions of the main characters. Chapters detail how superheroes, comic books and other pop culture phenomena offer more than pure entertainment, and how we can better model ourselves after our favorite heroes. Through our good deeds, quick thinking and positive choices, we can become more like superheroes than we ever imagined.