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Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture [Kindle Edition]

William Irwin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.00

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Book Description

Explore the philosophical depths of Batman, Superman, Captain America, and your other favorite superheroes—FOR FREE!

Behind the cool costumes, special powers, and unflagging determination to fight evil you’ll find fascinating philosophical questions and concerns deep in the hearts and minds of your favorite comic book heroes.

Why doesn't Batman just kill the Joker and end everyone's misery? Does Peter Parker have a good life? What can Iron Man teach us about the role of technology in society? Bringing together key chapters from books in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, this free superhero sampler engages the intellectual might of big thinkers like Aristotle and Kant to answer these questions and many others, giving you new insights on everything from whether Superman is truly an American icon to whether Wolverine is the same person when he loses his memory.

  • Features exclusive bonus content: all-new chapters on Captain America and Thor
  • Gives you a sneak peek at upcoming books: Avengers and Philosophy, Spider-Man and Philosophy, and Superman and Philosophy
  • Includes superheroes from both the DC and Marvel universes: the Avengers, Batman, Captain America, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Superman, Thor, Watchmen, and the X-Men
  • Gives you a perfect introduction to the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series

Whether you're looking for answers or looking for fun, this classic compilation will save the day by helping you gain a deeper appreciation of your favorite comics with an introduction to basic philosophical principles.

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Product Details

  • File Size: 455 KB
  • Print Length: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (June 24, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,653 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it, already. July 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very thought provoking. I keep thinking about the issues brought up in this book. I love that. I talk to my kids about Spiderman, and what's a good life, my friend about the trolly experiment. Good stuff.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun New Look at Superheroes July 23, 2011
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This book has a great way of viewing your favorite superheroes through a Philosophic standpoint. It gives new excitement to the superheroes of our youth.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking July 30, 2011
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Inspired me to spend a few hours on Wikipedia not only investigating the philosophy that was written about, but also the gaps in superhero knowledge I have. I don't think I'll be able to think about Wolverine the same way again, that's for sure...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super Philosophy April 14, 2012
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Unlike some of my philosophy colleagues, I am an avid fan, supporter and even occasional contributor to the various "and philosophy" series that in the past few years have revolutionized how philosophers present their discipline to the public. Let's face it, when it comes to talking to the layperson, philosophers have a few things to learn from science popularizers, and they are finally learning how to play the game! I teach a class using one of these books, on philosophy and science fiction, and it is a huge success, with a degree of student involvement simply unheard of in any of the other courses we offer. Indeed, I am considering using this book, together with a similar one (the present volume is more of a free extended preview than a full book) for a future offering. At any rate, superheroes -- both of the Marvel and DC variety -- present a number of philosophical themes to ponder. From the question of whether Captain America embodies the Aristotelian virtue of modesty to whether Spiderman is living a good (in the philosophical sense) life; from the issue of whether Superman truly is an American icon to the concept of justice as far as Odin's (Thor's father) is concerned. I particularly enjoyed Jason Southworth's essay on "The blackest night for Aristotle's account of emotions," which draws on the Green Lantern series, and Mark White's "Why doesn't Batman kill the Joker?" which explores the differences between deontology and utilitarianism and features gut wrenching "actual" dialogue between Batman himself and the second Robin, temporarily back from the dead ("Bruce, I forgive you for not saving me. But why . . . why on God's Earth--is he still alive?"). This is a fun book that will revive your interest in both comic books and philosophy, and will make you want to buy other entries in the series (my favorite: "Green Lantern and Philosophy: No Evil Shall Escape This Book," though for full disclosure I have to say that one of my students contributed a chapter).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pop philosophy for everyone October 12, 2011
By Bovaz
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Not a bad introductory book to some points in contemporary philosophy, assuming you have an half decent knowledge of comics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring August 2, 2013
By Holly
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This isn't what I expected. I thought it would be a fun read for my son and I, but it is very dry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magnifying our struggles March 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My older sister once asked me with a look of amused condescension why I liked superhero comics. I was about 10 at the time. I told her it was because the conflicts were big, the stakes high (I'm sure I didn't say it that well). Later I learned how close to the truth I was.

Superheroes may have super powers, but they fight super villains. And in those magnified conflicts we intuitively internalize the metaphor and apply it to our own struggles. That is the insight this book (for free) seeks to bring to our attention and clarify. Not the superhero battles, but the struggles to find meaning and purpose and even happiness, even as they battle to save the world.

I especially liked the connection of the particular superhero's moral and philosophical struggles with the particular philosopher who dealt with that question. Iron man with Descartes over the power and meaning of technology and Spider-Man with Thomas Aquinas and what does it mean to live a Good Life were two of my favorites.

Comic book readers have always been smarter than the critics of comic books have ever admitted (and smarter than the critics, too). This book and the series it is promoting understand that fact and give us comic lovers more of the meat of understanding we were perhaps looking for as boys and teens.

I own two of the books in this series (Matrix and House) and while not every article tickles my tummy I definitely enjoyed both books and this book, too.

Download now for Pete's sake. It's Free!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superheroes the best of philosophy January 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wasn't sure what to expect, while not a philosophy student I got quite a bit out of it. I did enjoy this book though I don't agree with everything quoted, but any comic book and philosophy fan will really enjoy it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Toooooooooooooooooooo long
Published 5 hours ago by Creative Christian
4.0 out of 5 stars ... be a philosophy student and as one I did enjoy this book
I used to be a philosophy student and as one I did enjoy this book, but its very well written and easy to understand. Best of all, its free!
Published 8 days ago by crizconzeta
1.0 out of 5 stars Zero
If I could,I would give this book no star!The premise is absurd as far as I can see.Comic books are a good source of entertainment but no base for philosophy in my estimate. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
very much enjoyed this. makes philosophy more interesting and understandable. I'd be interested in other characters and comparisons in a second book
Published 1 month ago by C. Bach
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite good
Light, yet insightful. It deals with questions we may ask ourselves everyday using subjects that can as complex as you or me and can help us answer our queries. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Luis Guevara
3.0 out of 5 stars Superheroes and Philosophy
I only read the first few chapter by the time i'm writing this but base on what I did read so far it seems like a good book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew Stehman
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical concepts made easy
If yo find philosophical thought as fun as watching paint dry, this primer helps give the reader the just of an idea wrapped in examples easy to understand.
Published 4 months ago by Kristen LaClair
5.0 out of 5 stars Superhero Philosophy
This is a philosophy book with a twist. It uses comic book superheroes to examine subjects like justice,forgiveness, identity and other things.
Published 5 months ago by Ricky KImsey
4.0 out of 5 stars When justice is not enough...
The one thing that I really liked about this book is how it captures the essence of what really matters in superheroes comics. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Melanie Young Yee
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining!
this book is very interesting and entertaining! all of the philosophical ideas posed are entertwined with counterpart comic book characters and situations! definitely recommend
Published 5 months ago by Eric Bergstrom
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More About the Author

William Irwin is professor of Philosophy at King's college, Pennsylvania. Irwin's first book, Intentionalist Interpretation: A Philosophical Explanation and Defense (1999), was nominated for the American Philosophical Association Young Scholar's Book Prize. Irwin is best known for having originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books with Seinfeld and Philosophy (1999), The Simpsons and Philosophy (2001), and The Matrix and Philosophy (2002). He was editor of these books and then General Editor of the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series through Open Court Publishing. In 2006, Irwin left Open Court to become the General Editor of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, which includes Metallica and Philosophy (2007)and Black Sabbath and Philosophy (2012), among other volumes. Irwin first theorized the philosophy and pop culture genre in his article "Philosophy as/and/of Popular Culture" in Irwin and Gracia eds. Philosophy and the Interpretation of Popular Culture (2006).

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