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Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way (Popular Culture and Philosophy) [Kindle Edition]

Tom Morris , Matt Morris , William Irwin

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Product Description


"Superman's costume always bugged me when I was a kid... So you need a secret identity -- cool. But what's the deal with all the rainbow-hued Spandex masks and costumes?... I found the answer to this great metaphysical dilemma in the book Superheroes and Philosophy, edited by Tom Morris and Matt Morris. In various essays, college philosophy professors and others ruminate on profound issues raised by the superhero lifestyle, such as how Batgirl reflects Nietzsche's moral perfectionism." -- Rick de Yampert, Daytona Beach News-Journal, December 15, 2006

Product Description

The comic book naratives of superheroes wrestle with profound and disturbing issues in original ways: the definitions of good and evil, the limits of violence as an effective means, the perils of enforcing justice outside the law, the metaphysics of personal identity, and the definition of humanity.
Superheroes and Philosophy tackles these and other philosophical questions in an intellectual yet engaging way suitable for any comic book fan.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 555 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812695739
  • Publisher: Open Court (1 Jun 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003S3RL62
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #448,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy With Some POW! WHAM! ZAP! 19 July 2005
By Mouldy Pilgrim - Published on
I am not a great fan of comic books and have never really been into them in any way. I have also not really been impressed by the movies made from the more popular comic book heroes, (though X-Men was very cool). "Superheroes and Philosophy" proved to be an excellent choice of read despite these issues for me.

If you are likewise someone who has never read a comic book, or does not have Daredevil Issue #134, don't worry! Even if you missed the movies, don't worry! The contributors to the book have written their essays in such a way that anyone can enjoy them. Also, some superheroes are such cultural icons that any familiarity with the comics or the movies is basically unnecessary. The essays quote some of the comic books, but even the most unfamiliar characters pose no problem due to the explanations given.

Another aspect that was notable is that not all of the contributors are philosophers in the strict sense. Some of them are working in the industry of the superheroes for the companies that publish the books themselves. Shattering my previously held mythical belief that people who wrote comics were just adults going through prolonged puberty, some these contributors made the most astute and detailed observations about their craft. I was singularly impressed with the reflections they made on their own work, and the characters with which they dealt.

Other contributors made their essays relevant by focusing on the challenges that superheroes present to us and the questions they raise over how we live life. Bringing the more personal element into philosophy as shown through various heroes drew the concepts into reality and made them less abstract and more "concrete". This was something this volume achieved more than other volumes that I have read in the same series.

Comic fan or not, this is a book that fits well with the high standard set by other books in the "Popular Culture and Philosophy" series. As the 13th volume, it makes a worthy contribution to the series and is completely recommended.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and really gained a lot from it. All in all, a fantastic book that covers a large range of topics within the framework of a universe with superheroes and super-villians. I loved every page!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Philosophy! 21 May 2006
By J. J. Kwashnak - Published on
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It With the concepts of the selfless fight for others, the need and use of secret identities for personal protection and the tendency of wearing one's underwear on the outside in your costume, the area of superheroes is a rich vein of topics for the discussion of philosophy. Anyone who has read comics as a kid (or an adult), watched the cartoons or movie exploits of super heroes can relate to the topics presented in these essays. Using "everyday life" of these heroes the authors look at why heroes would use powers for good, or even why be costumed heroes at all instead of using abilities for personal gain. And are the heroes and their everyday identities the same person, or are the secret identity and the superhero two distinct entities? The examinations cover the "zap" "pow" of classic superheroes like Superman, to the darker and more questionable "heroes" of more recent work such as The Watchmen. With such a broad and rich area to work with, it is refreshing to see so many essays mining different examples of superherodom to examine. Not all essays are great, but overall the book is interesting and fun reading, and yet again helps examine philosophical ideas through more popular arenas's Philosophy.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is a good thing to help others 21 July 2005
By Mark Alfred - Published on
It's a good read that will stimulate some little grey cells. Topics such as moral relativism, identity (is Banner or Hulk the "real" one?), why do what's right, and so on are addressed in a pretty interesting way.

I agree with Eliott S! Maggin when he said "There is a right and a wrong in the universe, and most of the time it is not that hard to tell the difference."

If you also agree about the unexamined life not being worth living, look into this book. Even the author biographies are funny!

This is a much much better investment than those dopey The Science of Superheroes or ...Villains etc books.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Fascinating! 6 July 2006
By J. M. Richards - Published on
I might be biased, since I did major in Philosophy and Religion...but I loved this book. Each essay was interesting and well-written, providing just enough background on the philospohies being discussed that it was easy to follow. Philosophy can be stodgy and dizzying at times, but pairing it with the themes found in popular comic books (and movie counterparts) makes it a much easier read. Thought-provoking and fun, this collection of essays will have you not only analyzing the lives of your favorite heroes, but your own life as well.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid, Fun Resource For Any Comics Fan 19 Mar 2006
By Peter Jurchen - Published on
I used to read comics as a kid, but didn't really get "into" the messages they gave (Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns) until college. This book, a collection of essays detailing certain philosophical aspects of characters, motives, etc., is great backup material for anyone wishing to dig more into the entire genre of comics. Even though the authors of the essay are, for the most part, very educated people, the philosophy terms used are clear and the writing itself enjoyable to read. I read it in a weekend on a bus, but there was enough "meat" in it to make it worth reading again.
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