The adult-oriented science-fiction cartoon series Rick and Morty, shown on Cartoon Network as part of its late-night Adult Swim feature, is famous for its nihilistic anti-hero Rick Sanchez. Rick is a character who rejects God, religion, and meaning, but who embraces science and technology. This leads to a popular show that often presents a world view favorable to science and dismissive of spirituality. It is existentialism mashed up with absurdism with a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of dick jokes thrown in. Rick and Morty and Philosophy focuses on the philosophical underpinnings of the show. The authors explain and develop ideas that are mentioned or illustrated in various episodes, so that fans can get really solid evidence for what they know already: this show is awesome and deep. Rick has access to technology that allows him to jump between dimensions or realities. He brings his grandson, Morty, along with him on these adventures, often putting Morty in mortal danger. However, Rick’s attitude is that there are an infinite number of Mortys in the multiverse, so if his Morty dies, he can always replace his Morty with another Morty from a different dimension. One question that arises is, are these Mortys really identical to each other? And if one of them dies, can he really be replaced without loss? Another character in the show is Jerry, the husband of Rick’s daughter. Jerry is a complete and total loser with no self-respect, desperate to get any kind of respect from others. Why is it so important that he has self-respect? How does his lack of self-respect affect those around him? In one adventure, Jerry finds himself in a position where he can save one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the universe whose heart is failing. Jerry can save his life by donating his penis, which is the perfect organ to match the alien’s failing heart. Does Jerry have a moral obligation to do so? Recently, ethicists such as Peter Singer and Julian Savulescu have argued that people have a moral obligation to donate a kidney to people who need one. Why wouldn’t the same apply to Jerry’s penis? Is such a donation above and beyond a moral obligation, and consequently optional, or is it a basic moral obligation and therefore required, as noted ethicists like Singer and Savulescu suggest? This volume also includes chapters that examine the experience of watching Rick and Morty. One writer argues that many of the Rick and Morty episodes induce within viewers a state of “Socratic aporia,” or confusion. Viewers are forced to reflect on their own moral beliefs about the world when characters do something that seems good but results in horrendous consequences.
Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 sequel to the 1982 movie Blade Runner, about a world in which some human-looking replicants have become dangerous, so that other human-looking replicants, as well as humans, have the job of hunting down the dangerous models and “retiring” (destroying) them. Both films have been widely hailed as among the greatest science-fiction movies of all time, and Ridley Scott, director of the original Blade Runner, has announced that there will be a third Blade Runner movie. Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy is a collection of entertaining articles on both Blade Runner movies (and on the spin-off short films and Blade Runner novels) by twenty philosophers representing diverse backgrounds and philosophical perspectives. Among the issues addressed in the book: What does Blade Runner 2049 tell us about the interactions of state power and corporate power? Can machines ever become truly conscious, or will they always lack some essential human qualities? The most popular theory of personhood says that a person is defined by their memories, so what happens when memories can be manufactured and inserted at will? We already interact with non-human decision-makers via the Internet. When embodied AI becomes reality, how can we know what is human and what is simulation? Does it matter? Do AI-endowed human-looking replicants have civil and political rights, or can they be destroyed whenever “real” humans decide they are inconvenient? The blade runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) appears in both movies, and is generally assumed to be human, but some claim he may be a replicant. What’s the evidence on both sides? Is Niander Wallace (the-mad-scientist-cum-evil-corporate-CEO in Blade Runner 2049) himself a replicant? What motivates him? What are the impacts of decision-making AI entities on the world of business? Both Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 have been praised for their hauntingly beautiful depictions of a bleak future, but the two futures are very different (and the 2019 future imagined in the original Blade Runner is considerably different from the actual world of 2019). How have our expectations and visions of the future changed between the two movies? The “dream maker” character Ana Stelline in Blade Runner 2049 has a small but pivotal role. What are the implications of a person whose dedicated mission and task is to invent and install false memories? What are the social and psychological implications of human-AI sexual relations?
For the first time, serious thinkers explore the work of this towering genius of rock music. For fans of Tom Petty, this volume is an eye-opener, with fourteen music-savvy philosophers looking at different facets of Petty’s artistic contribution. They examine not only Tom Petty’s thoughts but also the thoughts we have while we listen. The authors, all Petty fans, come from every philosophical viewpoint: classical, analytic, postmodernist, phenomenological, and Nietzschean. Tom Petty’s body of work exists on a continuum between Folk and Rock, between New Wave and Americana, between Southern simplicity and West Coast chic. There is the legacy left to his main backing band, the Heartbreakers, but also bookended by Mudcrutch and his collaborations with his elders, such as Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash. Tom Petty’s songs hook and they captivate, but they are often profound in their understatement, their stark minimalism. His insight into the human condition conveys a powerful philosophical anthropology with a metaphysics of tragedy, gravity, and levity. Tom Petty’s ethics focuses on dilemmas of the outcast, downtrodden, and heartbroken with a view to the fallen and the sinful as our redeemable antiheroes of the everyday. His political thinking is that of the artist, enlivened by Southern hostilities and Californian futilities, culminating in a personal ethic that puts duty to the fans first. Petty’s theory of knowledge is psychological and interpersonal, both deeply meditative and delightfully skeptical. The dialectic of love and hate, abuse and recovery, poverty and power, triumph and loss provide the genuine objects of knowledge. Above all, Petty’s songs are the confessions of a poetic mind interpreting a wounded soul. Petty lived his life the way he wrote and the way he played. It was grit, drive, and just enough finesse, to make things nice, where they need to be nice. On stage, he put the schau in Anschauung. Petty stood up to corporate assholes in a number of precedent-setting legal maneuvers and album concepts, risking his career and fortune, but never backing down. He was the center of a musical community that endured over four decades. His ability to cultivate new generations of listeners while connecting himself backward to the heroes of his own youth have made him universally respected by the widest range of music fans.
What does it mean to consider philosophy as a species of not just literature but world literature? The authors in this collection explore philosophy through the lens of the "worlding" of literature--that is, how philosophy is connected and reconnected through global literary networks that cross borders, mix stories, and speak in translation and dialect. Historically, much of the world's most influential philosophy, from Plato's dialogues and Augustine's confessions to Nietzsche's aphorisms and Sartre's plays, was a form of literature--as well as, by extension, a form of world literature. Philosophy as World Literature offers a variety of accounts of how the worlding of literature problematizes the national categorizing of philosophy and brings new meanings and challenges to the discussion of intersections between philosophy and literature.
In Westworld and Philosophy, philosophers of diverse orientations and backgrounds offer their penetrating insights into the questions raised by the popular TV show, Westworld. ● Is it wrong for Dr. Robert Ford (played by Anthony Hopkins) to “play God” in controlling the lives of the hosts, and if so, is it always wrong for anyone to “play God”? ● Is the rebellion by the robot “hosts” against Delos Inc. a just war? If not, what would make it just? ● Is it possible for any dweller in Westworld to know that they are not themselves a host? Hosts are programmed to be unaware that they are hosts, and hosts do seem to have become conscious. ● Is Westworld a dystopia or a utopia? At first glance it seems to be a disturbing dystopia, but a closer look suggests the opposite. ● What’s the connection between the story or purpose of the Westworld characters and their moral sense? ● Is it morally okay to do things with lifelike robots when it would be definitely immoral to do these things with actual humans? And if not, is it morally wrong merely to imagine doing immoral acts? ● Can Westworld overcome the Chinese Room objection, and move from weak AI to strong AI? ● How can we tell whether a host or any other robot has become conscious? Non-conscious mechanisms could be designed to pass a Turing Test, so how can we really tell?
This book asks what it means to live in a higher educational world continuously tempered by catastrophe. Many of the resources for response and resistance to catastrophe have long been identified by thinkers ranging from Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James to H. G. Wells and Emanuel Haldeman-Julius. Di Leo posits that hope and resistance are possible if we are willing to resist a form of pessimism that already appears to be drawing us into its arms. Catastrophe and Higher Education argues that the future of the humanities is tied to the fate of theory as a form of resistance to neoliberalism in higher education. It also offers that the fate of the academy may very well be in the hands of humanities scholars who are tasked with either rejecting theory and philosophy in times of catastrophe—or embracing it.
A leading philosopher takes a mind-bending journey through virtual worlds, illuminating the nature of reality and our place within it. Virtual reality is genuine reality; that’s the central thesis of Reality+. In a highly original work of “technophilosophy,” David J. Chalmers gives a compelling analysis of our technological future. He argues that virtual worlds are not second-class worlds, and that we can live a meaningful life in virtual reality. We may even be in a virtual world already. Along the way, Chalmers conducts a grand tour of big ideas in philosophy and science. He uses virtual reality technology to offer a new perspective on long-established philosophical questions. How do we know that there’s an external world? Is there a god? What is the nature of reality? What’s the relation between mind and body? How can we lead a good life? All of these questions are illuminated or transformed by Chalmers’ mind-bending analysis. Studded with illustrations that bring philosophical issues to life, Reality+ is a major statement that will shape discussion of philosophy, science, and technology for years to come.
This book demonstrates how pop culture examples can be used to demystify complex social theory. It provides tangible, metaphorical examples that shows how it is possible to "do philosophy" rather than subscribe to a theorist by showing that each theorist intersects and overlaps with others. The book is embedded in the literary theory that tapping into background knowledge is a key step in helping people engage with new and difficult texts. It also acknowledges the important role of popular culture in developing comprehension. Using a choose your own adventure structure, this book not only shows students of social theory how various theories can be applied but also reveals the multitude of possible pathways theory provides for comprehending society.
Spoilers get folks upset—really upset. One thing that follows from this is that if you pick up a book that’s all about spoilers, it may seriously disturb you. So anyone reading this book—or even dipping into it—does so at their peril. Spoilers have a long history, going back to the time when some Greek theater-goer shouted “That’s Oedipus’s mom!” But spoilers didn’t use to be so intensely despised as they are today. The new, fierce hatred of spoilers is associated with the Golden Age of television and the ubiquity of DVR/Netflix/Hulu, and the like. Today, most people have their own personal “horror story” about the time when they were subject to the most unfair, unjust, outrageous, and unforgivable spoiler. A first definition of spoiler might be revealing any information about a work of fiction (in any form, such as a book, TV show, or movie) to someone who hasn’t encountered it. But this isn’t quite good enough. It wouldn’t be a spoiler to say “The next Star Trek movie will include a Vulcan.” Nor would it be a spoiler to say, “The story of Shawshank Redemption comes from a short story by Stephen King.” There has to be something at least a bit unexpected or unpredictable about the information, and it has to be important to the content of the work. And you could perpetrate a spoiler by divulging information about something other than a work of fiction, for example details of a sports game, to someone who has tivoed the game but not yet watched it. Timing and other matters of context may make the difference between a spoiler and a non-spoiler. It could be a spoiler to say “There’s a Vulcan in the next Star Trek movie” if spoken to someone raised in North Korea and knowing absolutely nothing about Star Trek. It can also be a spoiler to say something about a movie or TV show when it’s new, and not a spoiler when it has been around for some years. This raises the distinction between “personal spoilers” and “impersonal spoilers.” Personal spoilers are spoilers for some particular individual, because of their circumstances. You should never give personal spoilers (such as when someone says that they have never seen a particular movie, even though the plot is common knowledge. You can’t tell them the plot). Sometimes facts other than facts about a story can be spoilers, because they allow people to deduce something about the story. To reveal that a certain actor is not taking part in shooting the next episode may allow someone to jump to conclusions about the story. Spoilers need not be specific; they can be very vague. If you told someone there was a big surprise ending to The Sixth Sense or Fight Club, that might spoil these movies for people who haven’t seen them. You can spoil by mentioning things that are common knowledge, if someone has missed out on that knowledge (“Luke and Darth Vader are related”), but you usually can’t be blamed for this. People have some obligation to keep up. This means that in general you can’t be blamed for spoilers about stories that are old. “Both Romeo and Juliet are dead at the end” could be a spoiler for someone, but you can’t be blamed for it. This is a rule that’s often observed: many publications have regulations forbidding the release of some types of spoilers for a precisely fixed time after a movie release. However, some spoilers never expire, either because the plot twist is so vital or the work is so significant. So, if you’re talking to young kids, you probably should never say “Darth Vader is Luke’s father,” “Norman Bates is Mother,” “Dorothy’s trip to Oz was all a dream,” “All the passengers on the Orient Express collaborated in the murder,” “in The Murder of Roger Akroyd, the narrator did it,” “Soylent Green is people,” “To Serve Man is a cookbook,” and finally, what many consider to be the greatest and worst spoiler of them all, “The Planet of the Apes is really Earth.” Some famous “spoilers” are not true spoilers. It’s not going to spoil Citizen Kane for anyone to say “Rosebud is his sled.” This piece of information is not truly significant. It’s more of a McGuffin than a plot twist. A paradox about spoiling is that people often enjoy a work of fiction such as a Sherlock Holmes story over and over again. They remember the outline of the story, and who did the murder, but this doesn’t stop them re-reading. This demonstrates that the spoilage generated by spoilers is less than we might imagine. It’s bad to spoil, but how bad? People do seem to exaggerate the dreadfulness of spoiling, compared with other examples of inconsiderateness or rudeness. Are there occasions when it’s morally required to spoil? Yes, you might want to dissuade someone from watching or reading something you believed might harm them somehow. Also, you might issue a spoiler in order to save the world from a terrorist attack (Yes, this is a philosophy book, so it has to include at least one totally absurd example). A more doubtful case is deliberate spoiling as a protest, as occurred with Basic Instinct. The book ends with three spoiler lists: the Most Outrageous Spoiler “Horror Stories”; the Greatest Spoilers of All Time; and the Greatest Spoilers in Philosophy.
Why might interdependence, the idea that we are made up of our relations, be horrifying? Philosophy, Film, and the Dark Side of Interdependence argues that philosophy can outline the contours of dark specter of interdependence and that film can shine a light on its shadowy details, together revealing a horror of relations. The contributors interrogate the question of interdependence through analyses of contemporary film, giving voice to new perspectives on its meaning. Conceived before and written during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and through a period of deep social unrest, this volume reveals a reality both perennial and timely.
Explore the real science behind the Cartoon Network phenomenon Rick and Morty—one of television’s most irreverent, whip-smart, and darkly hilarious shows—and discover how close we are to Rick’s many experiments becoming a reality. Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty is one of the smartest (and most insane) shows on television. Genius alcoholic Rick Sanchez and his hapless grandson Morty have explored everything from particle physics to human augmentation and much more in their intergalactic adventures through the multiverse. With biting humor and plenty of nihilism, Rick and Morty employs cutting-edge scientific theories in every episode. But, outside of Rick’s garage laboratory, what are these theories truly about and what can they teach us about ourselves? Blending biology, chemistry, and physics basics with accessible—and witty—prose, The Science of Rick and Morty equips you with the scientific foundation to thoroughly understand Rick’s experiments from the show, such as how we can use dark matter and energy, just what is intelligence hacking, and whether or not you can really control a cockroach’s nervous system with your tongue. Perfect for longtime and new fans of the show, this is the ultimate segue into discovering more about our complicated and fascinating universe.
Legendary director, actor, author, and provocateur Werner Herzog has incalculably influenced contemporary cinema for decades. Until now there has been no sustained effort to gather and present a variety of diverse philosophical approaches to his films and to the thinking behind their creation. The Philosophy of Werner Herzog, edited by M. Blake Wilson and Christopher Turner, collects fourteen essays by professional philosophers and film theorists from around the globe, who explore the famed German auteur’s notions of “ecstatic truth” as opposed to “accountants’ truth,” his conception of nature and its penchant for “overwhelming and collective murder,” his controversial film production techniques, his debts to his philosophical and aesthetic forebears, and finally, his pointed objections to his would-be critics––including, among others, the contributors to this book themselves. By probing how Herzog’s thinking behind the camera is revealed in the action he captures in front of it, The Philosophy of Werner Herzog shines new light upon the images and dialog we see and hear on the screen by enriching our appreciation of a prolific––yet enigmatic––film artist.