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Philip K. Dick and Philosophy: Do Androids Have Kindred Spirits? (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – October 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Popular Culture and Philosophy (Book 63)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812697340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812697346
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

D. E. Wittkower is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Old Dominion University, where he teaches philosophy of technology and computer ethics. He is author of The Philosopher's Book of Questions and Answers, and also edited Facebook and Philosophy, Mr. Monk and Philosophy, and iPod and Philosophy.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Horselover Fat on March 13, 2012
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam J. Nicolai on March 21, 2012
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Professor Eric Silverman on February 8, 2012
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.
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