- Series: Popular Culture and Philosophy (Book 2)
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Open Court; Underlined edition (February 28, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812694333
- ISBN-13: 978-0812694338
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 80 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – February 28, 2001
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No doubt Aristotle just rolled over in his grave. An essay called "Homer and Aristotle" would appear to be a treatise on two ancient Greek thinkers; in this case, it's a depiction of Homer Simpson's Aristotelian virtues. Raja Halwani's "Homeric" essay is amusing, though, and moreover, it actually ends up being enlightening, especially for those just learning Aristotle's ethics. Bart may be a Nietzschean without knowing it; Mr. Burns is a cipher for unhappiness (except when he eats "so-called iced-cream"); and Ned Flanders raises questions about neighborly love. The Simpsons and Philosophy has a lot to say about The Simpsons, and even more to say about philosophy.
The book collects 18 essays into an unpretentious, tongue-in-cheek, and surprisingly intelligent look at philosophy through the lens of Matt Groening's vaunted animated series. The editors are quick to point out that they don't think The Simpsons "is the equivalent of history's best works of literature ... but it nevertheless is just deep enough, and certainly funny enough, to warrant serious attention." The writers of the book are mostly professional philosophers, and they are appropriately erudite. But what is truly astonishing, even for a confessed Simpsons addict, is their breadth of Simpsons knowledge, spanning all 12 seasons of the show's history. The Simpsons and Philosophy is obviously not intended to be a turning point in modern thought, but it is an excellent introduction to some core elements of philosophy. --Eric de Place
From Publishers Weekly
In Irwin's earlier anthology, Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book About Everything and Nothing (1999), a team of philosophy professors offered an introduction to Plato, Kierkegaard and other major thinkers via the characters and plots of the TV sitcom. Now Irwin and company have regrouped to focus on Matt Groening's popular, long-running animated series, The Simpsons. Noting that Groening studied philosophy in college, they hasten to add that this is not an attempt to explore meanings intended by Groening and the show's artists and writers. "Rather, we're highlighting the philosophical significance of The Simpsons as we see it," declares the editorial trio. Each essay provides a hilarious but incisive springboard to some aspect of philosophy. Can we learn something about the nature of happiness from the unhappy, miserly Mr. Burns? What are Springfield's sexual politics? What makes Bart Simpson a Heideggerian thinker? Could Bart be the Nietzschean ideal? These are the kind of "meaty philosophical issues" TV viewers can expect to find covered by the 21 contributors to this entertaining book, with interpretations drawn from the works of Sartre, Kant, Karl Marx, Virginia Woolf, Roland Barthes and others. Appendixes include a time line of the major philosophers referred to and a chronological guide of the episode titles and original air dates spanning 11 seasons of The Simpsons. (Apr.)Forecast: Seinfeld and Philosophy prompted Entertainment Weekly's review comment, "Wish we'd had this in college." Fans of The Simpsons are certain to find this book to be the perfect rebuttal for those who dismiss the show as a no-brainer.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Not only is there a great debate about the characters and their many flaws, but there are also some insightful ideas about them as well; for example, Marge and Aristotle's virtue ethics.
Alot of it seemed to be based in pop culture, an it also seemed to be repetitve at times.
The most disapointing thing, is that there are over 30 books in this series, covering eveything from Seinfeld to The Matrix.
That being said, it was still an interesting read.
I did not get a chance to write a review at the time I purchased and read this book until now.
It is a fun read for those who are interested in such things as both philosophy and The Simpsons, but I stress BOTH. You don't need a philosophy degree to read it, but you should have some interest in/and grounding in philosophy. Similarly, you should have a solid grasp of the Simpsons show, and the characters. I think this would be a bit dry for the casual Simpsons fan and bit lightweight for the ultra philosophical. But just right for a lot of us, and fun to read to boot!
Some of the chapters include:
Homer and Aristotle
Lisa and American Anti-intellectualism
Thus Spake Bart: On Nietzche and the Vitues of Being Bad
Enjoying the So-Called "Iced Cream": Mr. Burns, Satan, and Happiness
I had a very good time reading this book, and I do wish I had owned it while I was in college. It might have helped me digest Roland Barthes a little easier. Enjoy!