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Serial Killers - Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing 1st Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1405199636
ISBN-10: 1405199636
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Editorial Reviews


"I found this book enlightening in many ways and on some things I'm not going to make too many mistakes if I use such people in any of my stories. I should also point out that none of the material is too graphic and centres mostly on what makes serial killers tick even if there is no precise pattern." (, 1 April 2011)

"If you're a Dexter fan looking for someplace to start in learning about real-life serial killers, this is a solid and fairly complete volume to start with. At a slim 248 pages, it's also ideal for those who don't have the time to invest in a larger volume. As the title of the series implies, this really is a book that's accessible to everyone." (Digital Air Waves, November 2010)

"There is very little to complain about here. The language used is simple and it certainly leaves the reader with plenty of food for thought." (Curious Book Fan, November 2010)

"One thing I can say about this book, is it stays in your head, at least parts of it. Weeks after reading Serial Killers, Philosophy for Everyone, I still can't help but come back to the section concerning Dexter and how peoples outlook on a serial killer changes based on what they know of a serial killers background and family life. The book is definitely a conversation starter, having many since adding it to my coffee table books. You can always tell whose interested and who tries to pretend they don't see it." (Gatekeeper Chronicles blog, November 2010)


"This pathbreaking volume deepens our understanding of human nature by exploring its most chilling aberrations.  Each essay bring brutality to bear on enduring topics in philosophy, including questions such as: Do serial killers have free will? Are they morally responsible? Do descriptions of extreme violence evoke emotions that cloud our judgment? And, why are we so captivated by the macabre?  At last, a book that goes beyond the gory details and investigates what murder means."
Jesse Prinz, Distinguished Professor, City University of New York

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (October 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405199636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405199636
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Flory on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a much-needed inquiry into the nature and ontology of serial killers - what they are (and aren't), their variety, complexity, and why they hold such fascination in the popular imagination. Like grisly roadside accidents, mass disasters, or atrocities, serial killers raise a sense of wonder in us. How are such things - or such people - possible? By exploring that question with wisdom and careful consideration the essays in this book provide timely and up-to-date reflections on such matters as serial killers':

* thinking
* culpability
* motivations
* "philosophy"
* moral evil (and potential for moral goodness)
* degree to which they are normal (or abnormal)
* emotions (or lack thereof)
* allure

Also included are a timeline of noteworthy serial killers through the ages and an afterword from the Victims' Network.

Like philosopher John Doris in his "Forward" to the book, I feel a treacly interest in fictional as well as real versions of these individuals as I think about my (sometimes implicit, sometimes explicit) preferences in movies, news items that catch my eye, and novels that I pull off the shelf to read for "pleasure." At times I've wondered what is wrong with me that I would be attracted to such tacky stories about the worst in human beings. A more pensive set of responses than I can usually provide can be found in the pages of these essays on the many dimensions of this horrific and yet very human phenomenon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Liannablue on September 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the assigned text for a class, so it's not something I picked out on my own. However, it is still a very interesting read for a class I am enjoying. It contains an introduction that offers some background on serial killers (which one can read as a sample from Amazon) and the chapters are essays by various authors. It is not fictional or sensationalized, but uses information on known serial killers. I have not finished it yet, but I'm glad I bought it rather than rented, as I will return to this again. Would work for a sociology or criminal studies major, but also for someone not a student (unlike some texts that are really meant for students, this doesn't read like a typical text, but works well in the context we're using it.) As a Kindle book, it's easily navigated and can be bookmarked as needed. This is my first ebook as a textbook, and I would select this format again for a similar class.
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By Shoebuddy Jones, Jr. on January 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I listened to this on audible and decided to buy the book. This book is very engaging and presented philosophical ideas in a way that is most interesting. A must read.
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