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.
This masterly biography, meticulously researched and drawing on many previously unseen letters, firmly places Edith Sitwell in the literary tradition to which she belongs.
Few ancient works have been as influential as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and emperor of Rome (A.D. 161–180). A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, it remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus’s insights and advice—on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others—have made the Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style. For anyone who struggles to reconcile the demands of leadership with a concern for personal integrity and spiritual well-being, the Meditations remains as relevant now as it was two thousand years ago.
In Gregory Hays’s new translation—the first in thirty-five years—Marcus’s thoughts speak with a new immediacy. In fresh and unencumbered English, Hays vividly conveys the spareness and compression of the original Greek text. Never before have Marcus’s insights been so directly and powerfully presented.
With an Introduction that outlines Marcus’s life and career, the essentials of Stoic doctrine, the style and construction of the Meditations, and the work’s ongoing influence, this edition makes it possible to fully rediscover the thoughts of one of the most enlightened and intelligent leaders of any era.
The book begins with a section exploration of the major characters of the series. To begin, Nicole Pramik uses the philosophies of Aristotle to demonstrate why SpongeBob, more than any other character in the series, is defined by a life of well-being and flourishing. In chapter two, Timothy Dunn provides an assessment of SpongeBob’s best friend, Patrick Star, using the writings of J.S. Mill to ask if the life of simple pleasures preferable to the life of the mind, while in chapter three Natasha Liebig uses the German pessimist philosophers to reveal what it means to live the life of Squidward Q. Tentacles. Chapter four uses the competing philosophies of Ayn Rand and Karl Marx to evaluate the actions of SpongeBob’s boss, Mr. Eugene Krabs, while in chapter five Denise Du Vernay explains how Sandy Cheeks offers a brand of feminism that breaks down traditional assumptions about masculine and feminine identity and repackages them into constructive and empowering messages for young people. Concluding this section of the book, Nicholas Michaud uses the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche to ask us reconsider our belief that SpongeBob and his friends are somehow heroic by giving us insight into the “will to power” held by the powerful little protozoan, Plankton.
Section two of the book is dedicated to exploring the community of Bikini Bottom, starting with Shaun Young’s examination of Bikini Bottom as a representation of various theories of the just state. In chapter eight, Nathan Zook looks into whether we might learn something about theories of democracy and political participation from an election between SpongeBob and Squidward for “Royal Krabby,” while in chapter nine Adam Barkman uses the writings of Dante Alighieri to assess the monarchal rule of King Neptune. Chapter ten uses the legal philosophies of thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Rawls, and David Hume to answer whether Mr. Krabs has the proper philosophical basis upon which to claim an individual right to possess and profit from the secret Krabby Patty formula. Chapter eleven then takes us to the pristine Jellyfish Fields where Greg Ahrenhoerster uses literary naturalism and the works of transcendentalist thinkers to examine environmental ethics and an individual’s obligations to shared resources.
The third and final section uses SpongeBob to explore psychological and scientific questions that float around under the sea. In chapter twelve, Katie Anderson uses the episode “Sleepy Time” to explore Cartesian principles related to the philosophical questions that attempt to distinguish between dreams and reality, and in chapter thirteen Robert Kincaid continues the examination into philosophical issues related to the mind by using SpongeBob, Squidward, and Patrick to relate the theories of Sigmund Freud. Chapter fourteen is dedicated to an introduction into the philosophy of science by Wilson González-Espada, and Robert Vuckovich concludes the volume with an essay on SpongeBob’s
The Politics of Paradigms shows that America’s most famous and influential book about science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions of 1962, was inspired and shaped by Thomas Kuhn’s political interests, his relationship with the influential cold warrior James Bryant Conant, and America’s McCarthy-era struggle to resist and defeat totalitarian ideology. Through detailed archival research, Reisch shows how Kuhn’s well-known theories of paradigms, crises, and scientific revolutions emerged from within urgent political worries—on campus and in the public sphere—about the invisible, unconscious powers of ideology, language, and history to shape the human mind and its experience of the world.
“This book raises and explores important questions about the ideological background of some of the most important work in the philosophy of science in the twentieth century. It challenges conventional wisdom about the ideological neutrality of that work.” — Peter S. Fosl, editor of The Big Lebowski and Philosophy: Keeping Your Mind Limber with Abiding Wisdom
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.
In this “landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself” (The New York Times Book Review) social psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to conservatives and liberals alike.
Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.
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.
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.
Michael J. Sandel's "Justice" course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard. Up to a thousand students pack the campus theater to hear Sandel relate the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day, and this fall, public television will air a series based on the course. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one that invites readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, the moral limits of markets—Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these con?icts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.
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).
The chapters in The Rolling Stones and Philosophy celebrate the Stones’ place in our lives by digging into the controversies, the symbols, and meanings the band and its songs have for so many. What might you mean (and what did Mick mean) by “sympathy for the Devil”? Did the Stones share any of the blame for the deaths at Altamont, as critic Lester Bangs charged they did in Rolling Stone magazine? What theories of ethics and personality lay behind the good-boy image of the Beatles and the bad-boy reputation the Stones acquired? If Keith Richards really had his blood replaced four separate times, does that make him a zombie? How do the Glimmer Twins help us refine our understanding of friendship? Written by a dozen philosophers and scholars who adore the Rolling Stones not only for their music, this book will become required reading for anyone seeking maximum satisfaction from "the world's greatest rock and roll band."
In his most provocative and practical book yet, one of the foremost thinkers of our time redefines what it means to understand the world, succeed in a profession, contribute to a fair and just society, detect nonsense, and influence others. Citing examples ranging from Hammurabi to Seneca, Antaeus the Giant to Donald Trump, Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows how the willingness to accept one’s own risks is an essential attribute of heroes, saints, and flourishing people in all walks of life.
As always both accessible and iconoclastic, Taleb challenges long-held beliefs about the values of those who spearhead military interventions, make financial investments, and propagate religious faiths. Among his insights:
• For social justice, focus on symmetry and risk sharing. You cannot make profits and transfer the risks to others, as bankers and large corporations do. You cannot get rich without owning your own risk and paying for your own losses. Forcing skin in the game corrects this asymmetry better than thousands of laws and regulations.
• Ethical rules aren’t universal. You’re part of a group larger than you, but it’s still smaller than humanity in general.
• Minorities, not majorities, run the world. The world is not run by consensus but by stubborn minorities imposing their tastes and ethics on others.
• You can be an intellectual yet still be an idiot. “Educated philistines” have been wrong on everything from Stalinism to Iraq to low-carb diets.
• Beware of complicated solutions (that someone was paid to find). A simple barbell can build muscle better than expensive new machines.
• True religion is commitment, not just faith. How much you believe in something is manifested only by what you’re willing to risk for it.
The phrase “skin in the game” is one we have often heard but rarely stopped to truly dissect. It is the backbone of risk management, but it’s also an astonishingly rich worldview that, as Taleb shows in this book, applies to all aspects of our lives. As Taleb says, “The symmetry of skin in the game is a simple rule that’s necessary for fairness and justice, and the ultimate BS-buster,” and “Never trust anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game. Without it, fools and crooks will benefit, and their mistakes will never come back to haunt them.”
As he writes in his contribution to this book, Klosterman “enjoys writing about big, unwieldy ideas” as they circulate in culture, in people, in music, and in sports. The twenty-two other philosophers writing alongside Klosterman couldn’t agree more. They offer their own take on the concepts and puzzles that fascinate him and take up many of Chuck’s various challenges to answer brain-twisting "hypertheticals" or classic ethical quandaries that would arise if, say, Aristotle wandered backstage at a Kiss concert.
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.
In Lying, best-selling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie. He focuses on "white" lies—those lies we tell for the purpose of sparing people discomfort—for these are the lies that most often tempt us. And they tend to be the only lies that good people tell while imagining that they are being good in the process.
The Walking Dead is both a hugely successful comics series and a popular TV show. This epic story of a zombie apocalypse is unique. It focuses on the long-term individual, social, and moral consequences of survival by small groups of humans in a world overrun by infected zombies.
Guns, chainsaws, and machetes are not enough for survival: humans also need agreement on rules of conduct. Can equality or fairness have any polace in the post-apocalyptic world? Do theft or even assault and murder become okay under desperate circumstances? Who should be recognized as having political authority? What about eating human flesh? Should survivors have children?
As zombies have low IQs, terrible manners, and the overpowering urge to eat people, do they have any rights at all? Am I still me if I become a zombie? Do zombies know anything? are they rational? Would it be ethical to train a zombie and keep it as a pet? What the heck are P-zombies? And why would we all jump at the chance
What makes Larry a monster, and why doesn’t he know that he’s a monster? Curb Your Enthusiasm and Philosophy discusses several answers to these questions.
This book revolves around Curb-Larry, the character that the real Larry David plays on HBO’s popular television series: his outlook on life, his unusual ways of interacting with people, his inability or unwillingness to conform to the world. Many of the chapters discuss ethical and existential issues, such as whether Larry is a “bad apple.”
Larry doesn’t ask questions about free will, or wonder whether the world outside our minds really exists because he’s more like Socrates than Descartes. He tells bitter truths about how we live our lives. There's something heroic about Larry's independence from social conventions, and something tragic about his tendency to hurt people with his frankness. It's hard not to ask, should we curb our enthusiasm?
Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious faith. It is also the primary reason why so many secularists and religious moderates feel obligated to "respect" the hardened superstitions of their more devout neighbors.
In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape." Because there are definite facts to be known about where we fall on this landscape, Harris foresees a time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of "morality"; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible.
Bringing a fresh perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong and good and evil, Harris demonstrates that we already know enough about the human brain and its relationship to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality.
Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our "culture wars," Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.
Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy presents twenty-one chapters by different writers, all D&D aficionados but with starkly different insights and points of view. It will be appreciated by thoughtful fans of the game, including both those in their thirties, forties, and fifties who have rediscovered the pastime they loved as teenagers and the new teenage and college-student D&D players who have grown up with gaming via computer and console games and are now turning to D&D as a richer, fuller gaming experience.
The book is divided into three parts. The first, “Heroic Tier: The Ethical Dungeon-Crawler,” explores what D&D has to teach us about ethics and about how results from the philosophical study of morality can enrich and transform the game itself. Authors argue that it’s okay to play evil characters, criticize the traditional and new systems of moral alignment, and (from the perspective of those who love the game) tackle head-on the recurring worries about whether the game has problems with gender and racial stereotypes. Readers of Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy will become better players, better thinkers, better dungeon-masters, and better people.
Part II, “Paragon Tier: Planes of Existence,” arouses a new sense of wonder about both the real world and the collaborative world game players create. Authors look at such metaphysical questions as what separates magic from science, how we express the inexpressible through collaborative storytelling, and what the objects that populate Dungeons and Dragons worlds can teach us about the equally fantastic objects that surround us in the real world.
The third part, “Epic Tier: Leveling Up,” is at the crossroads of philosophy and the exciting new field of Game Studies. The writers investigate what makes a game a game, whether D&D players are artists producing works of art, whether D&D (as one of its inventors claimed) could operate entirely without rules, how we can overcome the philosophical divide between game and story, and what types of minds take part in D&D.
One premise of The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy is that the ease and sincerity with which readers identify with Holden Caulfield rests on Salinger’s attention to the nuances and qualities of experience in the modern world. Coupled with Salinger’s deft subjective, first-person style, Holden comes to seem more real than any fictional character should. This and other paradoxes raised by the novel are treated by authors who find answers in philosophy, particularly in twentieth-century phenomenology and existentialism--areas of philosophy that share Salinger’s attention to lived, as opposed to theorized, experience. Holden’s preoccupation with “phonies,” along with his constant striving to interpret and judge the motives and beliefs of those around him, also taps into contemporary interest in philosophical theories of justice and Harry Frankfurt’s recently celebrated analysis of "bullshit."
Per Salinger’s request, Catcher has never been made into a movie. One measure of the devotion and fanatical interest Catcher continues to inspire, however, is speculation in blogs and magazines about whether movie rights may become available in the wake of Salinger’s death in 2010. These articles remain purely hypothetical, but the questions they inspire--Who would direct? And, especially, Who would star as Holden Caulfield?--are as vivid and real as Holden himself.
Because of this personal and intellectual investment, most Jeopardy! fans are devout. Watching the show is valued as a daily ritual in which genuine intellectual skill and encyclopedic knowledge (as opposed to thin Hollywood depictions such as those in Big Bang Theory or Rain Man) are not only respected and placed in the spotlight, but also rewarded with national prestige and prize winnings. Champion Ken Jennings (who contributes to this volume) has won over three million dollars and remained champion seventy-four times. For those who embrace Jeopardy! as an intellectual oasis in the arid desert of popular culture, it is the geeks who shall inherit the earth.
Jeopardy!’s celebration of intellect and forward-thinking is well recognized throughout popular culture and among all age groups. Ken Jennings, Chuck Forrest, and other all-time champions are near celebrities, while the show itself regularly reaches out through special tournaments to different segments of American culture, such as actors and musicians (Celebrity Jeopardy!), high-school and college students (Teen Tournament and College Championship Jeopardy!) and senior citizens (Senior Tournament Jeopardy!). Still, despite its widespread respect and, some might complain, smug self-respect, neither the show nor its fans take themselves too seriously. Jokes about host Alex Trebek’s hair and famous parodies of Jeopardy! on Saturday Night Live are as familiar as Weird Al Yankovic’s MTV-mainstay “I Lost on Jeopardy!” (to the tune of “Our Love’s in Jeopardy”):
Don't know what I was thinkin' of,
I guess I just wasn't too bright.
Well, I sure hope I do better
Next weekend on The Price Is Right.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE ECONOMIST
With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives.
Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade.
Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.
“Joy,” David Brooks writes, “is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.”
Praise for The Road to Character
“A hyper-readable, lucid, often richly detailed human story.”—The New York Times Book Review
“This profound and eloquent book is written with moral urgency and philosophical elegance.”—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon
“A powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”—The Guardian
“Original and eye-opening . . . Brooks is a normative version of Malcolm Gladwell, culling from a wide array of scientists and thinkers to weave an idea bigger than the sum of its parts.”—USA Today
The Wire and Philosophy celebrates this show’s realism as well as its intellectual and philosophical clarity. Selected philosophers who are fans of The Wire tap into these conflicts and interconnections to expose the underlying philosophical issues and assumptions and pursue questions, such as, Can cops really tell whether they are smarter than their perps? Or do they fall victim to intellectual vanity? Do individuals really have free will to resist the temptations—of gangs, of drugs, or corruption—that surround them? Is David Simon a modern-day Marx who sees capitalism leading ultimately to its own collapse, or is Baltimore’s story uniquely its own?
Planet of the Apes and Philosophy looks at all the deeper issues involved in the Planet of the Apes stories. It covers the entire franchise, from Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel Monkey Planet to the successful 2012 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The chapters reflect diverse points of view, philosophical, religious, and scientific.
The ethical relations of humans with animals are explored in several chapters, with entertaining and incisive observations on animal intelligence, animal rights, and human-animal interaction. Genetic engineering is changing humans, animals, and plants, raising new questions about the morality of such interventions. The scientific recognition that humans and chimps share 99 percent of their genes makes a future in which non-human animals acquire greater importance a distinct possibility.
Planet of the Apes is the most resonant of all scientific apocalypse myths.
While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to--and obtain absolution from--a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing. But even years after the way had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing? What would you have done in his place?
In this important book, fifty-three distinguished men and women respond to Wiesenthal's questions. They are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Their responses, as varied as their experiences of the world, remind us that Wiesenthal's questions are not limited to events of the past.
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.
features a revised translation (with little editorial intervention),
expanded notes (including a summary of the argument of each chapter), an
expanded Introduction, and a revised glossary.
The Good Wife gives us courtroom battles in the tradition of Perry Mason, with the added dimension of a political intrigue and a tormented personal story. We witness the interplay between common morality and legal correctness; sometimes following one violates the other. Lawyers operate within the law and within legal ethics, yet routinely do harmful things in pursuit of their clients’ interests. The adversarial system leads to such strategies as stringing out a case to exhaust the other side’s resources and bringing suits ostensibly because of wrongdoing by defendants but really to curtail the defendants as a competitive threat to some important client’s interest.
The idea for The Good Wife came from the recurring news drama of wives standing by their husbands when scandal breaks: the wives of Bill Clinton, Elliott Spitzer, and John Edwards. Often these politicians’ spouses are themselves lawyers who have had to cope with the gray areas of legal battles and maneuvering. Following her husband’s disgrace and imprisonment, Alicia Florrick has to return to the law, which she abandoned for the sake of being a full-time wife and mother.
As Boardwalk Empire is based on historical events, political figures and mobsters, the philosophical issues raised bear on “real life” in the way the few fictional television shows and movies do. We see parallels with the events in Boardwalk Empire and contemporary political events, and between the characters in Boardwalk Empire (good, bad, and ambiguous) and contemporary figures. It is one of the most popular HBO television shows ever and its popularity is on the rise.
In this volume, twenty philosophers address issues in political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, feminism, and metaphysics. Gregory Littman analyzes Nucky Thomson as a Machiavellian Prince. In contrast, Richard Greene casts Thomson in the role of a Nietzschean superman. Michael Da Silva looks at the complex relationship between Nucky and Jimmy (Nucky’s young protégé). Jimmy feels resentment towards Nucky for the role he played in bringing together Jimmy’s father and his very young mother. Is this resentment justified given that Jimmy would never have come into existence had his parents not met? Is there a moral difference between the harm that Nucky allowed to happen and the direct harm caused by Jimmy’s father? Don Fallis considers the ethics of lying in the seedy world of bootlegging. Agent Van Allen’s unique religious attitudes bring a warped sense of morality to the Boardwalk universe. Roberto Sirvent brings to light the moral character of Van Alden’s God. Thomson advises to “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Rod Carveth explores the role that storytelling pays in the series and Cam Cobb illustrates the role of deception. Pat Brace and Maria Kingsbury address “Outsiders, Alcohol and All That Jazz”—the aesthetics of Boardwalk Empire and the prohibition era. Margaret Schroeder is used as a vehicle for the female voice of the era. Rachel Robison-Greene discusses the role that gender plays in the direction of the series. Ron Hirschbein lends a Freudian Analysis.
This book is directed at thoughtful fans of Boardwalk Empire. It’s the only book to address the popular show from a thoughtful yet instantly readable perspective.
Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading.
Can organic life be reanimated using electricity or genetic manipulation? If so, could Frankenstein’s monster really teach itself to read and speak as Mary Shelley imagined? Do monsters have rights, or responsibilities to those who would as soon kill them? What is it about music that so affects Frankenstein’s monster, or any of us? What does Mel Brook’s Frau Blucher say to contemporary eco-feminism? Why are some Frankenstein’s flops and others historic successes? Is there a true Frankenstein? Why are children, but not adults, drawn to Shelley’s monster? And what is a “monster,” anyways?
Frankenstein and Philosophy brings 25 philosophers to stitch together these and other questions as they apply the history of philosophy to history’s greatest horror franchise. Some chapters treat the Frankenstein films, others the original novel, and yet others the many comic books, novels, and modern adaptations. Together they pay tribute to perhaps the most enduring pop culture icon and the fundamental fears, hopes, questions, and puzzles it raises.
Ender’s Game and Philosophy brings together over thirty philosophers to engage in wide-ranging discussion on the troubling, exciting, and fascinating issues raised in and amidst the excitement and fear of Orson Scott Card’s novels and Gavin Hood’s film.
Authors address issues such as:
the justifiability of pre-emptive strikes, how Ender’s disconnected and dispassionate violence is mirrored in today’s drone warfare, whether the end of saving the species can justify the most brutal means, the justifiability of lies and deception in wartimes, how military schools produce training in virtue, how Ender as the “good student” is held to a different educational standard, which rules can be broken in games and which cannot, Ender’s world as a mirror of our own surveillance society, the moral hazards of child warriors, the value of Ender’s ability to sympathize with his enemies, the meaning of a “hive-mind,” the limits of our ability to relate to one, the relationship between Ender’s story and Card’s Mormonism.
The authors of Ender’s Game and Philosophy challenge readers to confront and work through the conceptual and emotional challenges that Ender’s Game presents, bringing a new light on the idea of a just war, the virtues of the soldier, the nature of childhood, the social value and moral corruption of lies and deception, the practices of education and of leadership, and the serious work of playing games.
Now, Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers, and each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-drive design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped the world.
The Stoic writings of the philosopher Seneca, who lived from c. 5 BC to AD 65, offer powerful insights into the art of living, the importance of reason and morality, and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and timeless wisdom. This selection of Seneca's orks was taken from the Penguin Classics edition of Dialogues and Letters, translated by C.D.N. Costa, and includes the essays On the Shortness of Life, Consolation to Helvia, and On Tranquility of Mind.
Of course you have, or if you haven’t, you’ll clearly remember from now on that you have. How I Met Your Mother and Philosophy answers all these questions and a whole lot more, including one or two that even you may not have thought of.
Twenty of the awesome-est philosophers ever congregated in one bar have come together to quaff a few drinks—and to analyze this most awesomely philosophical of sit-coms. They poke, prod, and sniff at such momentous matters as the metaphysics of possimpible worlds, the misdeeds of Goliath National Bank, the ontology of waiting to get slapped, the epistemology of sexual attraction, why the Platinum Rule is to never love thy neighbor, the authenticity of censoring yourself, the ethics of doing bad things with partly good intentions, why future Ted’s opinions matter to present-day Ted, whether it’s irrational to wait for the Slutty Pumpkin, and why Canadians have that strange Canadian slant on things.
This book shows that viewers of How I Met Your Mother and Philosophy know that philosophy is much more than a song and dance routine.
Too many of us believe that the search for meaning is an esoteric pursuit—that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to discover life’s secrets. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us—right here, right now.
To explore how we can craft lives of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith synthesizes a kaleidoscopic array of sources—from psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists to figures in literature and history such as George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle, and the Buddha. Drawing on this research, Smith shows us how cultivating connections to others, identifying and working toward a purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and seeking out mystery can immeasurably deepen our lives.
To bring what she calls the four pillars of meaning to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, and more. She also introduces us to compelling seekers of meaning—from the drug kingpin who finds his purpose in helping people get fit to the artist who draws on her Hindu upbringing to create arresting photographs. And she explores how we might begin to build a culture that leaves space for introspection and awe, cultivates a sense of community, and imbues our lives with meaning.
Inspiring and story-driven, The Power of Meaning will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking a life that matters.
The new scientific information we could gain by bringing back T. Rex or other dinosaurs is immense, including greater understanding of biology leading to immeasurable medical benefits, but should we choose to let sleeping dinosaurs lie? And if we do bring them back by reconstituting them from ancient DNA, are they really what they were, or is something missing? If life will find a way, then why isn’t the Dodo still around?
How close are we, as a matter of fact, to achieving Jurassic Park? Are we really likely to see reconstituted dinosaurs or other ancient species in the near future? How do the different forces—human curiosity, profitability, and philanthropy—interact to determine what actually happens in such cases? What moral standards should be applied to those who try to bring back lost worlds? If velociraptors could talk, what would they tell us?
The idea of bringing back the dead and the powerful is not limited to biological species. It also applies to bringing back old gods, old philosophies, old institutions, and old myths. If revived and once again let loose to walk the Earth, these too may turn out to be more dangerous than we bargained for.
Through the lenses of Jung, Kant, Kundera, Balkan, Plato, Bradwardine, Aristotle, Hume, Blackburn, Descartes, Lavey, Thoreau, and Aquinas, The Devil and Philosophy take a philosophical look at one of time's greatest characters. Are there any good arguments for the actual existence of the Devil? Does demonic evil thrive in Gotham City? Can humans really be accountable for all evil? Which truths about the Devil are actual facts? Is Milton correct, in that the Devil believes he is doing good?
Every so often, you meet people who radiate joy—who seem to know why they were put on this earth, who glow with a kind of inner light. Life, for these people, has often followed what we might think of as a two-mountain shape. They get out of school, they start a career, and they begin climbing the mountain they thought they were meant to climb. Their goals on this first mountain are the ones our culture endorses: to be a success, to make your mark, to experience personal happiness. But when they get to the top of that mountain, something happens. They look around and find the view . . . unsatisfying. They realize: This wasn’t my mountain after all. There’s another, bigger mountain out there that is actually my mountain.
And so they embark on a new journey. On the second mountain, life moves from self-centered to other-centered. They want the things that are truly worth wanting, not the things other people tell them to want. They embrace a life of interdependence, not independence. They surrender to a life of commitment.
In The Second Mountain, David Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. Our personal fulfillment depends on how well we choose and execute these commitments. Brooks looks at a range of people who have lived joyous, committed lives, and who have embraced the necessity and beauty of dependence. He gathers their wisdom on how to choose a partner, how to pick a vocation, how to live out a philosophy, and how we can begin to integrate our commitments into one overriding purpose.
In short, this book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom, that tells us to be true to ourselves, at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme—and in the process we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments. In The Second Mountain, Brooks shows what can happen when we put commitment-making at the center of our lives.
Want to know what Cohen and Kierkegaard have in common? Or whether Cohen rivals the great philosophical pessimist Schopenhauer? Then this book is for you. It provides the first thorough analysis of Cohen from various (philosophical) positions. It is intended not only for Cohen fans but also undergraduates in philosophy and other areas. It explores important neglected aspects of Cohen’s work without attempting to reduce them to academic tropes, yet nonetheless will also be useful to academics—or anyone—beguiled by the enigma that is Leonard Cohen.
But these questions are only a few among many that are explored in the shadowy spy-filled world of Homeland. Through the lenses of Rawls, Kant, Arendt, Foucault, Heidegger, Sartre, and Kierkegaard, among others, Homeland and Philosophy considers the ethics of drone warfare; whether or not Carrie Mathison's personality changes and psychological disorder make her an interesting character study in the metaphysics of personhood; at what point is privacy only an illusion; and concepts of torture, punishment, and discipline.
Nicholas Brody is a Marine, a terrorist, a double agent, a congressman, a father, a husband, a lover, and a friend...but who is Nicholas Brody?
In What Money Can't Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don't belong? What are the moral limits of markets?
In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life—medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be?In his New York Times bestseller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can't Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society—and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don't honor and that money can't buy?
In Girls and Philosophy, a team of diverse yet always sensitive, empathic, and ept philosophers approach the world of Girls from a variety of angles and philosophical points of view. Underlying this New York world is the new reality of ambitious yet unfocused young people from comparatively advantaged backgrounds having their expectations chilled by the severe and prolonged economic recession.
The writers attack many fascinating issues arising from Girls, including the meaning of authenticity in the twenty-first century, coming of age in a society with no clear guidelines for most of what matters in life,Girls as the only TV show the pop-culture-hating professor Theodor Adorno might have admired, feminist appraisals of these not-very-feminist characters and their frustrations, what the wardrobes of the four mean philosophically, how each of the four deals with the anxiety that comes from inescapable freedom, whether we need to amend the traditional list of seven deadly sins in the context of present-day New York, how the speech of the Millennials illustrates Austin’s theory of speech acts, how the learning of Hannah, Shoshanna, Jessa, and Marnie compares with the ancient Greek theory of the education of the young, and of course, why we once again find it natural to think of women in their early- to mid-twenties as ‘girls’.
Deputy Marshal Givens wears a white hat and fights the "bad guys" so he must be a "good guy," right? His opponents are violent drug dealers, white supremacists, and thieves. Givens carries a badge, but when he shoots or kills people, is it always justified? What other choice does he have? Would any other method be as effective in rural eastern Kentucky where criminal activity is one of the few viable options for making a living?
The coal-mining culture of Harlan County, Kentucky is an important backdrop to Justified, and the issues surrounding the coal industry are addressed in some chapters. Some of them include health problems like black lung, the dissolution of communities, the reduction in employment alternatives, the destruction of the environment with mountain-top removal and fracking, and the increase in crime and poverty. If Boyd Crowder robs the coal company responsible for exploiting his community, is that justified?
The relationship between Boyd and Raylan dates back to a childhood friendship. Then when they older, they worked in the mines together. One chapter explores the character and motivation of both men and argues that each follows a different moral compass. Another chapter discusses the importance of family to the character of Mags Bennett and how that guides her actions and sense of duty. Another topic of discussion is whether the end justifies the means when Boyd and his gang destroy a meth lab and end up killing one of the meth cookers.
Other chapters delve into a variety of fascinating philosophical themes that emerge in this modern-day cowboy show.