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on May 28, 2012
LOST was arguably the most compelling hour on television over the course of its six seasons. It captivated its audience with an excellent, variegated cast (saying nothing of the writing for said actors) and enthralled everyone with its mythology, generating far more questions than answers during its run. Part of the fun of watching the show was discussing it with fellow friends and fans after each episode. In my experience, though, I've found that the LOST fan base can be broken up into four factions: the quitters (those who complained that it became too complicated and bowed out well before the sixth season finale), the coasters (those who watched but never took any real interest in the depth that the show offered), the die-hards (those who watched regularly, researched and discussed various aspects of the show, and explored things on a deeper level), and the fan-boys/fan-girls (those who viewed LOST as gospel and who obsessively sought answers to everything the show initiated).

To me, Ultimate Lost and Philosophy: Think Together, Die Alone will appeal most to the third category (of which I include myself in) and only partially to the fourth. The problem is that many of the fans who identified most strongly with the show cannot reconcile the fact that things were left intentionally nebulous by the writers and that that was, in part, the point of the show: the search for answers is as, if not more, important than what is found, and each person's individual, subjective result is an equally valid truth. Too many fans want "the" answers of which there are relatively few. As such, they turn to books like this (instead of the LOST Encyclopedia, where they would be better served) for those elusive insights into what the writers meant by one thing or another.

For the more reasonable fan of the show, this book (Ultimate Lost and Philosophy) serves as a great way to explore LOST's philosophical influences on a slightly-deeper-than-surface-level. The writing is varied in terms of its quality but nothing really stands out as being egregious in its voice, style, or content (except for one essay, which I will bring up later in this review). Each essay tends to focus on one or two philosophical issues or topics and uses LOST as a vehicle for exploring said issues/topics; this is, in my opinion, precisely what a book like this SHOULD do. If you're expecting a deep, enlightening philosophical tome, you won't find it here and you'd be better off going straight to the source(s) of whatever philosophical thinker you're after; if you're looking for a road map filled with all of the answers of LOST's unanswered questions, you definitely won't find that here either (and you're likely missing the point of the show). Instead, you'll find something that serves as the happy medium between the two.

The ONLY issue that I have with the book is an essay written by Peter S. Fosl. I feel that books like this--ones that explore something from pop culture through a scientific lens of sorts--are meant to be fun at their core. As such, essays like Mr. Fosl's have no place in such a compendium. Instead of exploring LOST or philosophy as his primary aim, Fosl subversively chooses to take pot-shots at the United States, devoting far too much of his essay to deriding the country, its citizens, its political beliefs/practices, to list but a few gripes. He spends two full paragraphs listing various enemies that the United States currently has or has had in the past and the various "us vs. them" types of dichotomies that said nation identifies itself as being a part of. It's quite clear from the essay that Fosl holds the United States in a less-than-admirable light but, sadly, such a collection of essays is not the place to spew his disdain. Basically, he uses the essay as a vehicle for disseminating his vitriolic views, tossing in the odd LOST reference in an attempt to connect everything loosely together. I'm genuinely shocked that Sharon Kaye and William Irwin would include such a divisive piece of writing in something meant to be light-hearted and entertaining.

In conclusion, if you're looking for something that serves as an introduction to philosophy using LOST as a lens, then this is the book for you. If you're hoping to be enlightened from a philosophical standpoint, then you should consider exploring some more scholarly texts. And, perhaps most importantly, if you're looking for answers to the myriad mysteries that the writers of LOST have created, you're barking up the wrong tree simply by searching for anything concrete in the first place.
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VINE VOICEon September 11, 2013
I've read other books from this pop culture series and have always highly enjoyed them. Call me crazy, but I love the idea of dragging out what intellectualism possible from random books and tv shows. "Lost", however, seems to have plenty of fodder, being a most brilliant show in and of itself. I found this to be quite the varied collection of views and opinions, providing even contradicting ideas on the same topic when exploring even different concepts--made it the more interesting read for me. While there were some concepts I felt the show had screaming to be explored that were ignored while several of the same concepts were repeated, this is still a marvelous and thought-provoking read that adds dimension to a great show.
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on August 7, 2012
The Blackwell Pop Culture series is always a fun and interesting outing. This volume on Lost (the updated, revised version) contains helpful insights about the show, with references to philosophy, a subject that all too many people think has no practical use. The essays here show the philosophy can be helpful when philosophers write in a more accessible style about something that other people find interesting.
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on April 16, 2016
For all you fans of Lost who are still confused about things...this book will explain everything really well philosophically! For the people that aren't confused but would love to relive all the moment of Lost, this will be really fun for you!!
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on March 26, 2013
No matter how you analyze this series and try to answer every question, you can't. The purpose of LOST was to entertain and to make you think, and it accomplished it's mission. This book is another person's take on that.
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on April 29, 2016
Such a fan!
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VINE VOICEon July 29, 2011
At first thought it seems like the television show Lost would be a perfect fit for Blackwell's "Philosophy and Pop-Culture" series. After all, the show name-drops philosophers like its going out of style. But this thought quickly fades at the realization that it is mostly just name-dropping, and knowing more about the philosophers Hume, Lock, and Rousseau wont actually help you understand the characters or plot any better. So The Ultimate Lost and Philosophy is left pretty much in the same spot that it would be for almost any other TV show.

The book is collection of papers written by academic philosophers, with a popular-level audience in mind, about the various philosophical themes that popped up during the course of Lost's six-year run. As with most books like this, the chapters greatly vary in quality. Some of the contributors are interesting and insightful writers while others are long and boring. For example, the chapter titled "Lost and the Question of Life After Birth" had some extremely great observations and made me think quite a bit. The chapters on theology, on the other hand, were quite dull.

This book would be perfect for somebody who is either a beginning student of philosophy or anyone that already holds a mild interest in the subject who also is a fan of the TV show. Many chapters serve as a good (though brief) introductions to the topics of epistemology, ethics, theology, and the philosophy of time, so it's a fun way to learn about these topics. Everybody else has no reason to read this because, let's face it, knowing about counter-factual reasoning or presentist theories of time probably wont help you get much more out of the show.
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on July 16, 2016
It made a great gift!
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on February 16, 2016
A terrific, in-depth look at the philosophical nuances of the TV series. Explore the character's motivations and dilemmas through the lens of philosophy .

A must for devoted fans.
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on March 16, 2014
I was kinda disappointed ... I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but this wasn't it. Never finished it.
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