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Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – May 28, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Planet of the Apes and Philosophy is nothing if not thorough in its mission. If there is a science, philosophy, psychology, or even pseudoscience touched on in any of the Planet of the Apes films or television shows, or the original Pierre Boulle novel, you will find it here." - PopMatters.com

About the Author

John Huss is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Akron in Ohio and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and law at Case Western Reserve University. He is co-writer, with Loch Phillipps and Lee Skaife, of the cult classic film, Use Your Head.
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Product Details

  • Series: Popular Culture and Philosophy (Book 74)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812698223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812698220
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an excellent collection of essays for anyone who likes philosophy that thinks outside the box and inside the world we live in. One thing we don't need any more of is another inscrutable scholarly book on Heidegger's concept of Dasien or another on Descartes' concept of Being or yet another that attempts to extract what little meaning can be found in Nietzsche's Zarathustra. It is therefore refreshing to see philosophers travel in a path first blazed by Stanley Cavell who deployed plain-language philosophy to untangle and retangle fascinating philosophical conundrums brought on by the classic Hollywood marriage comedies. Cavell showed the power of philosophical thinking when deployed on common things like movies, and his writing in turn dignified the movies he wrote about.
In this book, editor John Huss and a stellar cast of contemporary philosophers parse out the many philosophical issues brought about in thinking of the movie Planet of the Apes. Like Cavell, the authors of this collection show that a movie of high-entertainment and deep pop-culture status is able to evoke through metaphor and powerful storytelling a range of unsettling issues brought on by interspecies love; warfare between species, resemblance and the resultant identity crises brought on by the commingling of two species, and the fight for domination and power. Issues tackled in this book include: Ape Ethics, Ape Identity, Ape Politics, Ape Equality and Ape Science. The writing throughout this entertaining book is first-rate as is the thinking. Of particular interest are John Huss's "Serkis Act", Massimo Pigliucci's essay on genetic egineering, Lori Gruen and John S. Wilkins essays on ape ethics and Chad Timm's fascinating essay on the ape, Ceasar's identity crisis.
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Format: Paperback
Admittedly, as a non-philosopher (two pages into Nietzsche and I'm dozing) I was a little bit wary of this book, but dissecting the philosophical undertones of Planet of the Apes movies, which are some of the smartest and strangest (at times, campiest- I see you, Escape from the Planet of the Apes) of the 20th century was intriguing. What I was worried could be a plodding foray into existentialist murk turned out to be a very accessible collection of essays written by interesting, funny, insightful philosophers. You can almost picture some of them sitting at their computers, mulling over these essays with a beer in hand, because they're colloquial and fun. It's a nice way to structure the book- you could read it cover to cover, or skip around. It's divided into nine thematic sections, and my favorite was III. Ape Equality (should human interests be given greater moral weight than non-human interests because of our perceived greater intelligence?) and the other thoughtful essays on the ethics of captivity and whether or not language mastery is an accurate measure of intelligence (my pretentious vocabulary and I would like to think so.) I'm really looking forward to watching the movies again and considering these ideas. A great read!
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Format: Paperback
The new summer blockbuster, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, arrives in theaters in a couple of weeks from when I'm writing this review. There isn't a book concerning this movie that is more topical. It does not cover the latest movie, but does a pretty darn incredible job on enhancing the movie going experience. I say that because I am not a philosopher or scholar. I'm a movie buff who nerds out with cheesy 1960 films like Planet of the Apes. I thought I was the biggest Planet of the Apes aficionado until I read, "Planet of the Apes and Philosophy," and was immediately humbled by the lengthy in depth insights accumulated in several short scholastic essays. At first I thought this bathroom and Summer read was going to be one gigantic movie review applauding the entire, "Planet of the Apes," series for lasting as long as it has. I was delighted to find out that though there are summarizations of the past films, the essays consist of thought provoking tangents and arguments on why the entire series is still relevant today. Yes, even gigantic summer blockbusters can have three dimensions and cause someone to think and raise questions. Without being preachy like any Ayn Rand text, "Planet of the Apes and Philosophy," provides the reader with knowledge that can be relatable to almost any film and also gives questions to how these movies can relate to the real world we live in. Divided into four parts, the book is designed to be read chronologically, but I recommend to jump around. My favorite section being, "Ape Equality," which I feel is the nuts and bolts of any "Planet of the Apes," films. I thank John Huss and the other writers who provided their words of wisdom in this book. It is cute, clever, and yet witty and wise. It's something that puts a smile on my face and after I put it down, I feel smarter. Now, that's a great read.
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Excellent read! So fun and interesting to examine these classic films in a philosophic light. A well-written and well-edited collection.
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MONKEY READ, MONKEY CRY, MONKEY WRITE BOOK REVIEW

I'm shaking my head. Having read this collection of essays cover-to-cover, I can't get over the presence of a number of recurring issues in books in the popular culture and philosophy genre. First and foremost, many of these essays are bad. There is a lack of clear focus and direction regarding the philosophical issues explored. There is poor sentence construction and bizarre use of the English language. There are mistakes in the use of certain words, and even made-up words. This particular book was not properly fact-checked or reviewed. The "curse of the book's editor" struck twice. And finally, yes, we have the ever-present typographical errors, the most popular of which in this book was the "missing comma". All of these failings conspired to make this collection of essays a disappointing reading experience.

On the front cover, the screenwriters of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, proclaim "Fascinating and thought-provoking. A great read!" Perhaps while high as a kite, or if you're just beginning to learn how to read English, but not under any other circumstances that I can imagine. Did these two read the same book that I read? One wonders. Also, the front cover has a still of the famous kiss between Charlton Heston and Dr. Zira. Given this, surprisingly, this book lacked an obvious essay on the ethical issues regarding bestiality. It did cover animal rights and other issues related to animals, but an essay on bestiality would have been topical, I think, given the inter-species kiss of the first movie. Perhaps the Hollywood types would have objected. (Oh well.
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