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Green Lantern and Philosophy: No Evil Shall Escape This Book (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) [Paperback]

Jane Dryden , Mark D. White , William Irwin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 May 2011 The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series (Book 21)
The first look at the philosophy behind the Green Lantern comics—timed for the release of the Green Lantern movie in June 2011 The most recent Green Lantern series— Blackest Night —propelled GL to be the top–selling comic series for more than a year, the latest twist in seven decades of Green Lantern adventures. This book sheds light on the deep philosophical issues that emerge from the Green Lantern Corps′s stories and characters, from what Plato′s tale of the Ring of Gyges tells us about the Green Lantern ring and the desire for power to whether willpower is the most important strength to who is the greatest Green Lantern of all time. Gives you a new perspective on Green Lantern characters, story lines, and themes Shows what philosophical heavy hitters such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant can teach us about members of the Green Lantern Corp and their world Answers your most pressing Green Lantern questions, including: What motivates Hal Jordan to be a Green Lantern? Does the Blackest Night force us to confront old male/female stereotypes? What is the basis for moral judgment in the Green Lantern Corps? Is Hal Jordan a murderer? Whether you′re a new fan or an elder from Oa, Green Lantern and Philosophy is a must–have companion.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470575573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470575574
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 718,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Back Cover

Is Hal Jordan a murderer? What kind of strength is willpower? Do emotions help or hurt a Green Lantern? Can a Green Lantern power ring do anything imaginable—and should we worry if it can? How can insects, mathematical equations, and planets be Green Lanterns? Green Lanterns and their awesome power rings inspire a sense of possibility and wonder that can last a lifetime. Anyone who dreams of how to make the world a better place can imagine ways to make that dream come true with a Green Lantern ring. Green Lantern and Philosophy shines an emerald light on the many philosophical questions raised in the comics, the films, and the animated series, tackling issues from Aristotle′s view of the effect of emotions on virtue, to what Plato′s tale of the Ring of Gyges tells us about Green Lanterns and the lust for power, to deciding who is the greatest Green Lantern of all time. So whether you′re a fan of Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, or Alan Scott—and let′s not forget Soranik Natu, Kilowog, Katma Tui, Salaak, Mogo, and even Sinestro— Green Lantern and Philosophy will bring enlightenment to help turn the blackest night into the brightest day!

About the Author

Jane Dryden is an assistant professor of philosophy at Mount Allison University. Mark D. White is a professor in the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. He coedited Batman and Philosophy and edited Watchmen and Philosophy and Iron Man and Philosophy . William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King′s College in Wilkes–Barre, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles including Batman and Philosophy , House and Philosophy, and Mad Men and Philosophy.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Relentlessly Cheerful Book 11 Feb 2012
By Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If you can read the following and not weep, then you have the ability to overcome great fear and loathing, and this might be a book for you -

"Green Lantern and Philosophy shines an emerald light on the many philosophical questions raised in the comics, the films, and the animated series, tackling issues from Aristotle's view of the effect of emotions on virtue, to what Plato's tale of the Ring of Gyges tells us about Green Lanterns and the lust for power, to deciding who is the greatest Green Lantern of all time!"

This is an introduction to philosophy written for comic book fans, or a book about comic book characters written for philosophy students - if you happen to be a philosophy student or a comic book fan not interested in the other subject, then flee now. The authors have done their comic book research, as demonstrated by their detailed references to the various comic book stories they use to explain various philosophical theories and ideas; you may take it for granted that they know their philosophy. There is an interesting chapter [page 81] called "There should be no forgiveness for Hal Jordan" by Nicolas Michaud, which looks at Hal Jordan's actions as Parallax, as viewed through Action Theory, "that among other things, addresses the problem of responsibility".

"No trivia shall escape my sight"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Relentlessly Cheerful Book 22 Jan 2014
By Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If you can read the following and not weep, then you have the ability to overcome great fear and loathing, and this might be a book for you -

"Green Lantern and Philosophy shines an emerald light on the many philosophical questions raised in the comics, the films, and the animated series, tackling issues from Aristotle's view of the effect of emotions on virtue, to what Plato's tale of the Ring of Gyges tells us about Green Lanterns and the lust for power, to deciding who is the greatest Green Lantern of all time!"

This is an introduction to philosophy written for comic book fans, or a book about comic book characters written for philosophy students - if you happen to be a philosophy student or a comic book fan not interested in the other subject, then flee now. The authors have done their comic book research, as demonstrated by their detailed references to the various comic book stories they use to explain various philosophical theories and ideas; you may take it for granted that they know their philosophy. There is an interesting chapter [page 81] called "There should be no forgiveness for Hal Jordan" by Nicolas Michaud, which looks at Hal Jordan's actions as Parallax, as viewed through Action Theory, "that among other things, addresses the problem of responsibility".

"No trivia shall escape my sight"
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Enlightment Shall Escape my Sight 9 Jun 2011
By Amazon customer 101 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being a comic book fan who is an adult I have always loved that comics (and other elements of popular culture) are able to make sense of complicated issues. This series, along with the Green Lantern and Philsophy addition are positive examples of tools that laymen in the philosophical mindset can use to make sense of often times tricky concepts.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Relentlessly Cheerful Book 11 Feb 2012
By Mr. Mice Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you can read the following and not weep, then you have the ability to overcome great fear and loathing, and this might be a book for you -

"Green Lantern and Philosophy shines an emerald light on the many philosophical questions raised in the comics, the films, and the animated series, tackling issues from Aristotle's view of the effect of emotions on virtue, to what Plato's tale of the Ring of Gyges tells us about Green Lanterns and the lust for power, to deciding who is the greatest Green Lantern of all time!"

This is an introduction to philosophy written for comic book fans, or a book about comic book characters written for philosophy students - if you happen to be a philosophy student or a comic book fan not interested in the other subject, then flee now. The authors have done their comic book research, as demonstrated by their detailed references to the various comic book stories they use to explain various philosophical theories and ideas; you may take it for granted that they know their philosophy. There is an interesting chapter [page 81] called "There should be no forgiveness for Hal Jordan" by Nicolas Michaud, which looks at Hal Jordan's actions as Parallax, as viewed through Action Theory, "that among other things, addresses the problem of responsibility".

"No trivia shall escape my sight"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good one! 21 April 2012
By Luis Alberto Medina Juarez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a perfect companion for GL readers. Maybe a little repetitive but that's common in this kind of books. Buy it if you love the last GL stories, for example Blackest Night and The Sinestro Corps War
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green light means go, but always use caution changing lanes, and obey those speed limits! 27 Jan 2012
By John V. Karavitis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall, this entry in Blackwell's "Philosophy and Popular Culture" series is a solid effort that explores philosophical themes found in the Green Lantern comic book series. It is well-structured, and covers a number of different areas in philosophy: reason vs. emotion, ethics, friends and relationships, duty, metaphysics and power. There is a Notes section after each chapter, nine of which refer the reader to other essays in the collection. The number of Green Lantern comics referred to in the Notes sections show that either an incredible amount of research went into these essays, or that the contributors must really know Green Lantern inside and out. This book has two editors, and four of the contributors wrote two essays. (Both editors are in this group.) Personally, I find this a bit worrisome. I wonder why this happened, and if it affected the range and quality of the essays, and if it should have been avoided.

As is usual in any collection of essays, some are weak, a few are excellent, and most fall in between. In my opinion, weak essays were ones that loaded up on philosophers and read like a survey course or encyclopedia entry (chps. 2, 3, 15), may have identified solid themes yet failed to develop them in an engaging manner (chps. 7, 13, 16), or had no mention of any philosophers (chp. 4). Leonard Finkleman's "All for One and One for All" (chp. 15) asks how the power ring could identify a prospective Green Lantern candidate. Although an excellent theme, nevertheless, the essay was pedantic and exhausting in its execution. It felt like the History of Philosophy in eleven pages! Paul R. Jaissle's "Green Mind: The Book of Oa, the Lantern Corps, and Peirce's Theory of Communal Mind" (chp. 16) looks at how each and every Green Lantern relies on the combined knowledge of the entire Green Lantern Corps. However, it merely presents Charles Sanders Peirce's ideas on the subject, and does not develop the theme. Andrew Terjesen's "Will They Let Just Anybody Join?: Testing for Moral Judgment in the Green Lantern Corps" (chp. 4) did not mention any philosophers. I feel that it is important that essays such as these mention at least one philosopher. Doing so "anchors" the essay. To do otherwise is to simply present one's unsupported opinions. I don't need to buy a book to get one of those.

Three essays stood out as being excellent. They were excellent in that they each indentified a theme and wove it together with at least one philosopher's ideas. Jane Dryden's "The Greatest Green Lantern: Aesthetic Admiration and the Praiseworthy Hero" looked at three Green Lanterns and applied Hegel's definition of the tragic hero. Tragic heroes may be aesthetically pleasing to the audience, but their actions bring about their downfall. Nicolas Michaud's "There Should Be No Forgiveness for Hal Jordan" uses three contemporary philosophers to explore the theme of moral responsibility. Adam Barkman's "The Ring of Gyges, the Ring of the Green Lantern, and the Temptation of Power" uses Plato's theory of desire and power to determine whether three Green Lanterns behaved immorally for reasons other than ignorance. For Plato, ignorance is the cause of immorality.

If there was one essay that disappointed me, it was Ruth Tallman's and Jason Southworth's "The Oaths of Soranik Natu: Can a Doctor Be a Green Lantern?" This essay strangely asks whether one can be both a good doctor and a good Green Lantern. Reading further into the essay, one learns about Soranik Natu, who was a doctor before she became a Green Lantern. The essay is concerned about the ethical issues involved when a person has sworn two oaths that might conflict under some circumstances. On the one hand, targeting the Green Lantern oath as a theme was brilliant, as this is more than likely the first thing that comes to mind when anyone thinks of the Green Lantern. "In brightest day, in blackest night..." However, the execution of the essay was poor, indeed sloppy and haphazard, with two contemporary philosophers being introduced, briefly, at the last minute. I feel that, given the theme, Kant's deontological ethics could have been applied, or even the concept of "principalism" from biomedical ethics. The theme of this essay, that one can swear two oaths that may conflict, is a perfect example of how different moral rules may conflict. Kant's deontological ethics has been criticized for its failure to address what one should do when such rules conflict, whereas in biomedical ethics, it's acknowledged that there should be some rank ordering of virtues, that is, given the situation, some virtues are more important than others. So, what is probably the most relevant theme in the Green Lantern universe, the oath, was handled sloppily. Not what I've come to expect from an essay that was crafted (in part) by Ruth Tallman. Perhaps this is an argument for essays having only one author each?

In re typos, I only have three questions. (1) Right after the cover page, "Spider-Man and Philosophy" is listed. However, the Wiley-Blackwell website shows this as coming out in May 2012. (2) P. 261, "location" s/b "locations". (3) In the "Contributors" section, should Terjesen's entry have "without" or "with" fear of clowns?

A solid entry in the Blackwell series, but I feel that it will appeal more to Green Lantern fans. Four stars. John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product! 15 Jan 2012
By N/A - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My Husband & I bought this for our son for Christmas & he loves it! He read it in less than a week!
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