Zombies Vampires and Philosophy

Author: Richard Greene
Publisher: Open Court Publishing
ISBN: 9780812696837
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Philosophy

"A collection of philosophical essays about the undead: beings such as vampires and zombies who are physically or mentally dead yet not at rest. Topics addressed include the metaphysics and ethics of undeath"--Provided by publisher.

Orange Is the New Black and Philosophy

Author: Richard Greene
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812699081
Release Date: 2015-08-17
Genre: Philosophy

This collection of eighteen chapters by talented philosophical minds probes some of the many lessons to be learned from Orange Is the New Black (mostly the addictive Netflix comedy-drama but with some attention to the best-selling real-life book by Piper Kerman). The show and the book that inspired it both dramatically highlight the troubling, stressful situation of millions of incarcerated Americans. How do the show’s shower scenes shed light on the classical mind-body problem? How can we make our lives meaningful when our options are curtailed by authority? What does it mean to manipulate someone, and why is it bad? What can we learn about the peculiarity of human beliefs from Pennsatucky’s notion of the gay agenda? Is Litchfield Prison a preparation for life outside—or just a scale model of life outside? What could the governors of Litchfield learn from Jeremy Bentham and his panopticon? How is it that even in prison we find ourselves condemned to be free? Why is one of the worst things about prison being forced to see who and what we really are? It so happens that life in prison is absolutely full and overfull of philosophical implications. Orange Is the New Black and Philosophy stays close to the characters and scenes of the TV show, applying insights from ethics, existentialism, metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy. The book is aimed at thoughtful fans of this amazingly fine TV show, who want to learn more about its disturbing issues.

The Undead and Philosophy

Author: Richard Greene
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
ISBN: 0812696018
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Philosophy

"A collection of philosophical essays about the undead: beings such as vampires and zombies who are physically or mentally dead yet not at rest. Topics addressed include the metaphysics and ethics of undeath"--Provided by publisher.

Ender s Game and Philosophy

Author: D. E. Wittkower
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698411
Release Date: 2013-10-21
Genre: Philosophy

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card’s award-winning 1985 novel, has been discovered and rediscovered by generations of science fiction fans and young adult readers, banned and challenged in schools, assigned in high school English classes, and adopted as reading by the US Marine Corps. Ender's Game and its sequels explores rich themes—the violence and cruelty of children, the role of empathy in war, and the balance of individual dignity and the social good—with compelling elements of a coming-of-age story and exciting and immersive battle scenes. 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.

Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy

Author: Richard Greene
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698398
Release Date: 2013-08-19
Genre: Philosophy

From Machiavellian city officials to big time mobsters (such as Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, and Al Capone) to corrupt beat cops to overzealous G-men to suffragettes to abolitionists to innocent citizens caught in the crossfire, Boardwalk Empire is replete with philosophically compelling characters who find themselves in philosophically interesting situations. 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.

Planet of the Apes and Philosophy

Author: John Huss
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698275
Release Date: 2013-05-20
Genre: Philosophy

What makes humans different from other animals, what humans are entitled to do to other species, whether time travel is possible, what limits should be placed on science and technology, the morality and practicality of genetic engineering—these are just some of the philosophical problems raised by Planet of the Apes. 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.

The Good Wife and Philosophy

Author: Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698299
Release Date: 2013-06-17
Genre: Philosophy

In The Good Wife and Philosophy, fifteen philosophers look at the deeper issues raised by this stirring TV drama. 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.

How I Met Your Mother and Philosophy

Author: Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698459
Release Date: 2013-11-18
Genre: Philosophy

Like philosophy itself, How I Met Your Mother has everyone thinking. How does a successful show that's been on the air for years suddenly become a hit in its fifth and sixth season? Have you ever wondered why you identify so strongly with Barney despite the fact that he’s such a douche? Or why your life story doesn’t make sense until you know the ending—or at least, the middle? Or where the Bro Code came from and why it’s so powerful? Or why you’d sooner miss the hottest date in your life than have to live in New Jersey? 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.

Neil Gaiman and Philosophy

Author: Tracy L. Bealer
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812697919
Release Date: 2012-06-19
Genre: Philosophy

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

Breaking Bad and Philosophy

Author: David R. Koepsell
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812697902
Release Date: 2012-06-20
Genre: Philosophy

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

Psych and Philosophy

Author: Robert Arp
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698268
Release Date: 2013-06-17
Genre: Philosophy

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

The Wire and Philosophy

Author: David Bzdak
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698282
Release Date: 2013-05-20
Genre: Philosophy

By many accounts, HBO’s The Wire was and remains the greatest and most important television drama of all time. Conceived by writers David Simon and ex-Baltimore homicide detective Ed Burns, this five-season, sixty-episode tour de force has raised the bar for compelling, intelligent television production. With each season addressing a different arena of life in the city of Baltimore, and each season’s narratives tapping into those from previous seasons, The Wire was able to reveal the overlapping, criss-crossing, and colliding realities that shape—if not control—the people, institutions, and culture of the modern American city. 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?

The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy

Author: Keith Dromm
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812698022
Release Date: 2012-10-09
Genre: Philosophy

Few novels have had more influence on individuals and literary culture than J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Published in 1951 and intended by Salinger for adults (early drafts were published in the New Yorker and Colliers), the novel quickly became championed by youth who identified with the awkwardness and alienation of the novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Since then the book and its reclusive author have been fixtures of both popular and literary culture. Catcher is perhaps the only modern novel that is revered equally by the countless Americans whom Holden Caulfield helped through high school and puberty and literary critics (such as the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik who insisted as recently as 2010 that Catcher is a "perfect" twentieth-century novel). 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.

Facebook and Philosophy

Author: D. E. Wittkower
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812697209
Release Date: 2010-09-15
Genre: Philosophy

Facebook and Philosophy is an entertaining, multi-faceted exploration of what Facebook means for us and for our relationships. With discussions ranging from the nature of friendship and its relationship to "friending," to the (debatable) efficacy of "online activism," this book is the most extensive and systematic attempt to understand Facebook yet. And with plenty of new perspectives on Twitter and Web 2.0 along the way, this fun, thought-provoking book is a serious and significant contribution for anyone working with social media, whether in academia, journalism, public relations, activism, or business. Exploring far-reaching questions — Can our interactions on Facebook help us care about each other more? Does Facebook signal the death of privacy, or (perhaps worse yet) the death of our desire for privacy? — Facebook and Philosophy is vital reading for anyone involved in social networks today.

Mr Monk and Philosophy

Author: D. E. Wittkower
Publisher: Open Court
ISBN: 9780812697438
Release Date: 2011-04-15
Genre: Philosophy

Mr. Monk and Philosophy is a carefully and neatly organized collection of eighteen chapters divided into exactly six groups of precisely three chapters each. Drawing on a wide range of philosophers—from Aristotle and Diogenes, to Siddhartha Gautama and St. Thomas Aquinas, to David Hume and Karl Popper—the authors ask how Adrian Monk solves his cases, why he is the way he is, how he thinks, and what we can learn from him. Some of the authors suggest Monk is a kind of tragic hero, whose flaws help us live out and expunge the fear and anxiety we all experience; that he is more than just his personality or memories, but something more individual and indefinable; and that his most distinctive traits are not the traits that make him a detective, but those that make him a friend. His most notable trait is the dedication he shows to his late wife, Trudy. Other authors explore how Monk encounters the world, arguing that his genius comes not from logic or reasoning, but from his ability to see his surroundings in a pre-conceptualized way; that there isn’t as much distance between his rational beliefs about crimes and evidence and his irrational phobic beliefs as there might seem; and that his phobias have themselves made him approach himself and the world as something to be overcome. Just how does Mr. Monk come to his conclusions? Does he use inductive, deductive, or abductive reasoning? Is he dependent on a false notion of the law of noncontradiction? Is it possible that his reasoning might have more to do with constructing harmonious stories than it does with evidence, causes, or insights? Some contributors ponder Monk's name and what it means given his views on religion. Some authors argue that Mr. Monk's approach to the world is fundamentally similar to that of medieval monastic orders; that his rituals and deductive ‘dancing’ show how he exhibits a kind of shamanism; and that he acts in accordance with the Bodhisattva ideal, bringing others to enlightenment through circumstances and by accident, even though he has no such intention or goal. In one chapter, the author asks how the character Monk is related to other similar characters, arguing that Monk and House are closely related characters, each based on the conflict between reason and emotion which exemplifies the motif of the “troubled genius;” that Monk and House both pursue ethical practices and goals even as they fail at the everyday face-to-face ethics of normal social interactions; and that great detectives all, through their flaws, help us to understand and forgive ourselves for our flaws. And finally, there are several chapters in which the authors consider Monk from the psychologist’s perspective, discussing how Monk’s relationship with Trudy, while having unhealthy codependent elements, demonstrates some important aspects of successful romantic partnerships; how laughter plays a difficult role in mental illness, and the difficult position that the show and therapists are placed in when having to treat seriously disorders that are both tragic and comic; and how, from a psychoanalytic perspective, Monk’s inability to mourn shows us why we both reject and are drawn towards death. In the words of author D. E. Wittkower, "In order to be sure that the reader is able to enjoy the book, every chapter will have an even number of words. You’ll thank me later."