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Philip K. Dick and Philosophy (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – 24 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (24 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812697340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812697346
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 707,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

D. E. Wittkower is Lecturer of Philosophy at Coastal Carolina University. He is the editor of Facebook and Philosophy, Mr. Monk and Philosophy, and iPod and Philosophy. He lives in Myrtle Beach, SC.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. D. OBRIEN on 23 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book.

The chapters are essays which examine PKD's work in relation to the philosophical concerns of his novels.

A lot of information on all the philosophical concerns of PKD's oeuvre.

Very good for students of literature/philosophy/critical theory. I used it for a Master's level essay which I got a good grade for.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Essential Resource for Philip K. Dick 13 Mar. 2012
By Horselover Fat - Published on
Format: Paperback
I spent more time Reading "Philip K. Dick and Philosophy: Do Androids Have Kindred Spirits?" than I expected to and it wasn't because I didn't enjoy the book. I spent time understanding the different philosophers and philosophies, and essentially re-adapting/reorganizing what I know about Philip K. Dick to the idea of the philosophizing storyteller (which is referred to several times in the book). I think looking at Dick's work from the eye of a philosopher in addition to the eye of a literary critic brings much value to his works that I never imagined before.

The book consists of a series of topics each containing about three to four essays on that topic. Each of the essays is written by different academics so there is variety in the work that you wouldn't have in a book written by one person. There were some essays that I didn't like as much as others but overall I enjoyed the writing and I learned about many different philosophers, some I'd heard of or knew about and some I hadn't. My background is in literature so I am accustomed to approaching writing from the literary critic or the English major/academic and this is the first philosophy of... book I've read so this shift of focus was new to me but I welcomed it.

Some of my criticisms of the book center around the essays that discussed the movies to explain philosophies (with exception of the section on Hollywood) but aren't clear that the movies may be more or less faithful to the original story. The most guilty of these movies and the most often discussed are Adjustment Bureau, Minority Report, and Total Recall. I also have a background in Film Studies and I generally to believe that the director is the "author" of the movie so the implication that the ideas are Dick's didn't work for me. Some essays pointed out both the movie and the story, and compared the two which I appreciated. But this is not an issue with a majority of the book only part of it.

Many sources discuss how much of a visionary Philip K. Dick was and sources discuss his storytelling themes and ideas but to my knowledge, until this book, his work was not explored using different philosophies which makes this an essential book for any student or fan of Philip K. Dick.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Great Break From The Everyday 21 Mar. 2012
By Adam J. Nicolai - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'll preface this review by saying I'm not a philosopher in the strictest sense: I never studied it in school beyond incidental exposure and a single 101 class, and I'm certainly not a professor. But I don't think you need to be to enjoy Philip K. Dick and Philosophy. There are a lot of cool ideas that dovetail off of those presented in Dick's work and the movies based off of them (after reading Ethan Mills' chapter "Hollywood Doesn't Know Dick" I am careful to draw that distinction!), so if you enjoy either, you'll probably enjoy the book as much as I did.

I did find myself skipping a chapter here and there ("Yes, I get it, I can't prove the world is real - but I only have a 30 minute lunch break, folks, let's get to something new!") but the vast majority of the essays here are novel, interesting, and thought-provoking. I particularly enjoyed "Just Who And How Many Are You?" by Richard Feist, which, in part, explores a study looking at the duality of the human brain. The ramifications of this study are fascinating. The two sides of your brain are far more independent than you probably realize. Different enough to bring up the question: Are you actually two people or one person?

The book delves deeply into the ideas presented in "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (or "Bladerunner" as we Hollywood Luddites may think of it); by the end of the book I was pretty well convinced that we probably ARE all robots, but that I really didn't mind.

Overall, it's well worth your time and nicely segmented, so if you do get philosophy overload but are still enjoying yourself, it's no big deal to put it down for a couple weeks and pick it up when your brain is ready for another thrashing. If you enjoy questioning the nature of reality, wish you'd looked a bit more into philosophy when you'd actually had time in your life to do so, or enjoyed any of the ideas presented by Philip K. Dick in his novels or the movies based off them, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's a cool read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great Fun 8 Feb. 2012
By Professor Eric Silverman - Published on
Format: Paperback
You don't have to be a deep thinker to enjoy this thought provoking book, but it helps. For those of us who love either Dick's original works and/or the many movie adaptions of them, these essay provide an opportunity to reflect upon the deeper philosophical messages and issues at the foundation of these stories. Do we really have free will? Could a robot count as a person? How can we be sure that we know what we think we know? How (un)faithful is Hollywood when making a movie out of a great story? The essays on these and many other issues are sure to please the science fiction enthusiast.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Popular Culture and Philosophy #63 26 July 2012
By Gregory Alan Wingo - Published on
Format: Paperback
A very good introduction into the works of Philip K. Dick. The book does not require familiarity with his written work but can be read by those who have run into his work due to Hollywood's love of Dick's ideas which have been featured in blockbuster versions such as Bladerunner, Total Recall, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau, and Next.

As stated by Fredric Jameson, Dick is perhaps the greatest science fiction writer of all time and, unfortunately, due to the ghettoized nature of the genre during his active period a prolific but sloppy author. His brilliance lies in his integration of philosophy into good storytelling. The contributing authors in this book explore the direct connection between Dick and the great thinkers of philosophy from Plato to the postmodernists. It is clear in retrospect why Dick was hugely popular among the French intelligentsia while largely ignored in American literary circles of the 50s, 60s, and 70s like most of his SF colleagues.

As a bonus the book also contains two of Dick's early short stories which have been out of print since the 1950s.
Insight into a unique author 31 Jan. 2015
By Robert S. Knapp - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being old enough to remember when PKD was alive and writing, I have seen his works fade, then be re-discovered. I liked them then, and have found more depth in them with the passage of time. This collection helps me understand why.
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