Search results for: the-wizard-of-oz-and-philosophy

The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy

Author : Randall E. Auxier
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From the bedtime story by L. Frank Baum to the classic 1939 film, no story has captured the imaginations of generations of children — and adults — like The Wizard of Oz. The story of Dorothy’s journey through Oz, the colorful characters, places, songs, and dialogue have permeated popular culture around the world. The contributors to this volume take a very close look at The Wizard of Oz and ask the tough questions about this wonderful tale. They wonder if someone can possess a virtue without knowing it, and if the realm of Oz was really the dream or if Kansas was the dream. Why does water melt the Wicked Witch of the West and why does Toto seem to know what the other characters can’t seem to figure out? The articles included tackle these compelling questions and more, encouraging readers to have discussions of their own.

Doing Philosophy at the Movies

Author : Richard A. Gilmore
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Explores philosophical ideas through an examination of popular film.

Metaphysical Graffiti

Author : Randall E. Auxier
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Metaphysical Graffiti explores the philosophical themes prevalent in the music of the classic rock era. Each chapter is a detailed study of a classic rock performer or ensemble, applying insights from philosophers ancient and modern. It will appeal to an audience that was inspired by the music of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. In the words of the author, “Philosophy is in this music and it is of this music and for this music.” The author is an accomplished professor of philosophy and also an accomplished musician, who plays in the folk rock group, Bone Dry River Band. Among the chapters included in this book “Frenzy” applies Plato and mystery religion to the Rolling Stones, “An Everlasting Kiss: The Seduction of Wendy” applies Vico to Bruce Springsteen, “Warm Impermanence” applies Danto and Andy Warhol to David Bowie, “Magic Pages and Mythic Plants” applies Cassirer to Led Zeppelin, “A Touch of Grey: Gratefully Dead?” applies Kant and Whitehead to the Grateful Dead, “Yesterday’s Tom Sawyers” applies Suzanne Langer to Rush, and “Dead Reckoning and Tacking the Winds of Fortune and Fate” applies Machiavelli to Jimmy Buffett.

The Onion and Philosophy

Author : Sharon M. Kaye
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The Onion, with its unique brand of deadpan satirical humor, has become a familiar part of the American scene. The newspaper has a readership of over a million, and reaches millions more with its spin-off books and Onion News Network. The Onion has shown us that standard ways of thinking about the news have their grotesque and silly side, and this invites philosophical examination. Twenty-one philosophers were commissioned to provide witty philosophical perspectives on just what makes the Onion so truthful and insightful. Former Governor Sarah Palin reported: “I just couldn’t put it down. The Onion and Philosophy is the most exciting book I’ve read since Principia Mathematica.” Are the Onion writers truly cynical, or just cynically faking it? Does the Onion really have a serious point of view on religion? On sex? On politics? Who cares what Area Man thinks? If everyone’s so dumb, how come so many Onion readers keep on laughing at how dumb they are?

The Sopranos and Philosophy

Author : Richard Greene
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This collection of essays by philosophers who are also fans does a deep probe of the Sopranos, analyzing the adventures and personalities of Tony, Carmella, Livia, and the rest of television's most irresistible mafia family for their metaphysical, epistemological, value theory, eastern philosophical, and contemporary postmodern possibilities. No prior philosophical qualificationsor mob connections are required to enjoy these musings, which are presented with the same vibrancy and wit that have made the show such a hit.

The Wire and Philosophy

Author : David Bzdak
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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 Atkins Diet and Philosophy

Author : Lisa Heldke
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The Atkins diet has transformed the lives of millions of people, revolutionizing grocery store shelves, restaurant menus, and dinner-table conversations. But there are questions beyond its efficacy and longevity. Is the Atkins diet a new wrinkle in capitalist exploitation or a twisted expression of negative body images? Is it a symbol of super-masculinity? Has the Atkins diet really been around for centuries under other names? Can it increase intelligence, or cause global warming and melt the polar ice caps? How does Atkins fit into Kant’s conception of the moral life, or Rousseau’s vision of a kinder, gentler human society? The Atkins Diet and Philosophy wittily explores these and other pressing questions in sixteen entertaining essays. Following the same fun, readable approach as earlier volumes in this series, this book uses philosophy to put the Atkins diet under the microscope, and uses the Atkins diet to teach vital philosophical lessons for life.

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy

Author : Gregory Bassham
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The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures of Aslan, the Pevensie children, and the rest of the colorful cast. Do the spectacular events in Narnia give readers a simplistic view of human choice and decision making? Does Aslan offer a solution to the problem of evil? What does the character of Susan tell readers about Lewis’s view of gender? How does Lewis address the Nietzschean “master morality” embraced by most of the villains of the Chronicles? With these and a wide range of other questions, this provocative book takes a fresh view of the world of Narnia and expands readers’ experience of it.

The Good Wife and Philosophy

Author : Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray
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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.

The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy

Author : Gregory Bassham
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The Lord of the Rings is intended to be applicable to the real world of relationships, religion, pleasure, pain, and politics. Tolkien himself said that his grand tale of wizards, orcs, hobbits, and elves was aimed at truth and good morals in the actual world. Analysis of the popular appeal of The Lord of the Rings (on websites and elsewhere) shows that Tolkien fans are hungry for discussion of the urgent moral and cosmological issues arising out of this fantastic epic story. Can political power be wielded for good, or must it always corrupt? Does technology destroy the truly human? Is it morally wrong to give up hope? Can we find meaning in chance events? In The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, seventeen young philosophy professors, all of them ardent Tolkien fans and most of them contributors to the four earlier volumes in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series, address some of these important issues and show how clues to their solutions may be found in the imaginary world of Middle-earth. The book is divided into five sections, concerned with Power and the Ring, the Quest for Happiness, Good and Evil in Middle-earth, Time and Mortality, and the Relevance

Planet of the Apes and Philosophy

Author : John Huss
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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.

Facebook and Philosophy

Author : D. E. Wittkower
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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.

The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy

Author : Keith Dromm
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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.

Halo and Philosophy

Author : Luke Cuddy
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Since the Doom series, First Person Shooter (FPS) videogames have ricocheted through the gaming community, often reaching outside that community to the wider public. While critics primarily lampoon FPSs for their aggressiveness and on-screen violence, gamers see something else. Halo is one of the greatest, most successful FPSs ever to grace the world of gaming. Although Halo is a FPS, it has a science-fiction storyline that draws from previous award-winning science fiction literature. It employs a game mechanic that limits the amount of weapons a player can carry to two, and a multiplayer element that has spawned websites like Red vs. Blue and games within the game created by players themselves. 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.

Rush and Philosophy

Author : Jim Berti
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The progressive/hard rock band Rush has never been as popular as it is now. A documentary film about the band, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which was released in the summer of 2010 has been universally well received. They had a cameo in the movie I Love You Man. Their seven-part song “2112” was included in a version of “Guitar Hero” released in 2010. The group even appeared on The Colbert Report. Even legendary trios such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, and The Police don’t enjoy the commitment and devotion that Rush’s fans lavish on Alex, Geddy, and Neil. In part, this is because Rush is equally devoted to its fans. Since their first album in 1974, they have released 18 additional albums and toured the world following nearly every release. Today, when other 70s-bands have either broken up or become nostalgia acts, Rush continues to sell out arenas and amphitheatres and sell albums—to date Rush has sold over 40 million albums. They are ranked fourth after The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band. Rush’s success is also due to its intellectual approach to music and sound. The concept album 2112 made Rush a world-class band and cemented its reputation as the thinking-person’s progressive rock trio. Rush’s interest in political philosophy, mind-control, the nature of free-will, of individuality, and our relationship to machines makes Rush a band that matters and which speaks to its fans directly and honestly like no other. Lyricist Niel Peart has even built a following by writing books, both about his motorcycle travels and about the tragic death of his daughter, which have only furthered the respect Rush’s fans have for (arguably) rock’s greatest drummer and lyricist. Fiercely independent of trends, Rush has maintained a clear mission and purpose throughout their career. With the unique “Rush sound,” the band has been able to blend thought-provoking lyrics and music for almost four decades. The Rush style of music can trigger the unusual combination of air-drumming, air-guitar, singing along, and fist-pumping, just as much as it can thoughtful reflection and deep thinking, making Rush “The Thinking Man’s Band.” Rush and Philosophy does not set out to sway the public’s opinion, nor is it an awkward gushing of how much the authors love Rush. Rush and Philosophy is a fascinating look at the music and lyrics of the band, setting out to address thought-provoking questions. For example, elements of philosophical thinking from the likes of Jean Paul-Sartre, Ayn Rand, and Plato can be found in Peart’s lyrics; does this make Peart a disciple of philosophy? In what ways has technology influenced the band through the decades? Can there be too much technology for a power-trio? Can listening to Rush’s music and lyrics lead listeners to think more clearly, responsibly, and happily? Is the band’s music a “pleasant distraction” from the singing of Geddy Lee? In what ways is Rush Canadian? How can a band that has been referred to as “right-wing” also criticize big government, religion, and imperialism? Rush and Philosophy is written by an assortment of philosophers and scholars with eclectic and diverse backgrounds who love Rush’s music and who “get” the meaning and importance of it. They discuss Rush with the enthusiasm of fan. The book will be a must-read for the many fans who have long known that Rush deserves as much respect as the ideas, concepts, and puzzles about human existence they write and compose music about.

Doctor Who and Philosophy

Author : Courtland Lewis
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Not only is Doctor Who the longest-running science fiction TV show in history, but it has also been translated into numerous languages, broadcast around the world, and referred to as the “way of the future” by some British politicians. The Classic Doctor Who series built up a loyal American cult following, with regular conventions and other activities. The new series, relaunched in 2005, has emerged from culthood into mass awareness, with a steadily growing viewership and major sales of DVDs. The current series, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is breaking all earlier records, in both the UK and the US. Doctor Who is a continuing story about the adventures of a mysterious alien known as “the Doctor,” a traveller of both time and space whose spacecraft is the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), which from the outside looks like a British police telephone box of the 1950s. The TARDIS is “bigger on the inside than on the outside”—actually the interior is immense. The Doctor looks human, but has two hearts, and a knowledge of all languages in the universe. Periodically, when the show changes the leading actor, the Doctor “regenerates.”

Mr Monk and Philosophy

Author : D. E. Wittkower
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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."

Martial Arts and Philosophy

Author : Graham Priest
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Socrates, an Athenian soldier, was a calmly efficient killing machine. His student Plato was an accomplished and broad-shouldered wrestler. Martial arts and philosophy have always gone hand in hand, as well as fist in throat. Philosophical argument is closely parallel with hand-to-hand combat. And all of today’s Asian martial arts—like Karate, Kung-Fu, Judo, or Aikido—were developed to embody and apply philosophical ideas. The Japanese martial tradition of Budo, for instance, was influenced by the three philosophical traditions of Shinto, Confucianism, and Zen Buddhism, and these philosophies are still taught in Japanese martial arts schools all across the world. As Damon Young explains in his chapter, the Japanese martial arts customs of courtesy are derived from Shinto purity, Confucian virtues, and the loving brutality of Zen. In his interview with Bodidharma (included in the book), Graham Priest brings out aspects of Buddhist philosophy behind Shaolin Kung-Fu—how fighting monks are seeking Buddhahood, not brawls. But as Scott Farrell’s chapter reveals, Eastern martial arts have no monopoly on philosophical traditions. Western chivalry is an education in and living revival of Aristotelian ethical theories. The Western martial art of fencing is explored by Nick Michaud, who looks at the morality of selfishness in fencing, and Christopher Lawrence and Jeremy Moss, who try to pin down what makes fencing unique: is it the sword, the techniques, the footwork, the aristocratic aura, or something else? Jack Fuller argues that his training in Karate was an education in Stoicism. Travis Taylor and Sasha Cooper reveal the utilitarian thinking behind Jigoro Kano’s Judo. Kevin Krein maintains that the martial arts are a reply to the existentialist’s anxiety about the meaninglessness of life. Patricia Peterson examines Karate’s contribution to feminism, and Scott Beattie analyzes the role of space in the martial arts school. Joe Lynch pits the Western ideas of Plato against the Eastern ideas of the Shaolin monks. Bronwyn Finnigan and Koji Tanaka uncover the meaning of human action as it appears in Kendo. Rick Schubert explains the meaning of mastery in the fighting arts. Moving to ethical issues, Tamara Kohn discovers what we owe to others in Aikido. Chris Mortensen questions whether his own Buddhist pacifism is compatible with being a martial artist. In different ways, Gillian Russell and John Haffner and Jason Vogel assess the ways in which martial arts can morally compromise us. How can the sweaty and the brutal be exquisitely beautiful? Judy Saltzman looks into the curious charm of fighting and forms, with help from Friedrich Nietzsche.

U2 and Philosophy

Author : Mark A. Wrathall
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Is it possible to be a committed Christian and a rock superstar? Can political activists make good music? Do hugely successful rock bands really care about AIDS and poverty in Africa, or is it just another image-enhancing schtick? U2 and Philosophy ponders these and other seeming dichotomies in the career of the Irish supergroup. For over two decades, U2 has been one of the biggest acts in rock music. They’ve produced over a dozen platinum and multiplatinum records and won 15 Grammy Awards. Critics everywhere have praised the band’s thoughtful, complex lyrics and the artistry of their music. At the same time, Bono, the group’s lead singer, has dedicated himself to political and social causes, blurring the line between rock star and respected statesman. Offering fresh insight into the band’s music and activism, these thought-provoking essays allows fans to discover philosophy through the eyes of U2, and rediscover U2 through the eyes of philosophers.

Transformers and Philosophy

Author : John R. Shook
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Transformers began with toys and a cartoon series in 1984 and has since grown to include comic books, movies, and video games — its science fiction story has reached an audience with a wide range second only to that of Star Wars. Here, in Transformers and Philosophy, a dream team of philosophers pursues the fascinating questions posed by humankind’s encounter with an artificially intelligent mechanical civilization: Is genuine artificial intelligence possible? Would a robotic civilization come with its own morality and artistic life, and would it find a need for romantic love? Should we be more careful about developing robots that may eventually develop ideas of their own? Transformers and Philosophy puts Transformers under a microscope and exposes its philosophical implications in an instantly readable way.