Collects essays that look at J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" through a philosophical approach.
The "brilliant, funny, meaningful novel" (The New Yorker) that established J. D. Salinger as a leading voice in American literature--and that has instilled in millions of readers around the world a lifelong love of books. "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caufield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.
By many accounts, HBO’s The Wire was and remains the greatest and most important television drama of all time. Conceived by writers David Simon and ex-Baltimore homicide detective Ed Burns, this five-season, sixty-episode tour de force has raised the bar for compelling, intelligent television production. With each season addressing a different arena of life in the city of Baltimore, and each season’s narratives tapping into those from previous seasons, The Wire was able to reveal the overlapping, criss-crossing, and colliding realities that shape—if not control—the people, institutions, and culture of the modern American city. The Wire and Philosophy celebrates this show’s realism as well as its intellectual and philosophical clarity. Selected philosophers who are fans of The Wire tap into these conflicts and interconnections to expose the underlying philosophical issues and assumptions and pursue questions, such as, Can cops really tell whether they are smarter than their perps? Or do they fall victim to intellectual vanity? Do individuals really have free will to resist the temptations—of gangs, of drugs, or corruption—that surround them? Is David Simon a modern-day Marx who sees capitalism leading ultimately to its own collapse, or is Baltimore’s story uniquely its own?
From Machiavellian city officials to big time mobsters (such as Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, and Al Capone) to corrupt beat cops to overzealous G-men to suffragettes to abolitionists to innocent citizens caught in the crossfire, Boardwalk Empire is replete with philosophically compelling characters who find themselves in philosophically interesting situations. As Boardwalk Empire is based on historical events, political figures and mobsters, the philosophical issues raised bear on “real life” in the way the few fictional television shows and movies do. We see parallels with the events in Boardwalk Empire and contemporary political events, and between the characters in Boardwalk Empire (good, bad, and ambiguous) and contemporary figures. It is one of the most popular HBO television shows ever and its popularity is on the rise. In this volume, twenty philosophers address issues in political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, feminism, and metaphysics. Gregory Littman analyzes Nucky Thomson as a Machiavellian Prince. In contrast, Richard Greene casts Thomson in the role of a Nietzschean superman. Michael Da Silva looks at the complex relationship between Nucky and Jimmy (Nucky’s young protégé). Jimmy feels resentment towards Nucky for the role he played in bringing together Jimmy’s father and his very young mother. Is this resentment justified given that Jimmy would never have come into existence had his parents not met? Is there a moral difference between the harm that Nucky allowed to happen and the direct harm caused by Jimmy’s father? Don Fallis considers the ethics of lying in the seedy world of bootlegging. Agent Van Allen’s unique religious attitudes bring a warped sense of morality to the Boardwalk universe. Roberto Sirvent brings to light the moral character of Van Alden’s God. Thomson advises to “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Rod Carveth explores the role that storytelling pays in the series and Cam Cobb illustrates the role of deception. Pat Brace and Maria Kingsbury address “Outsiders, Alcohol and All That Jazz”—the aesthetics of Boardwalk Empire and the prohibition era. Margaret Schroeder is used as a vehicle for the female voice of the era. Rachel Robison-Greene discusses the role that gender plays in the direction of the series. Ron Hirschbein lends a Freudian Analysis. This book is directed at thoughtful fans of Boardwalk Empire. It’s the only book to address the popular show from a thoughtful yet instantly readable perspective.
What makes humans different from other animals, what humans are entitled to do to other species, whether time travel is possible, what limits should be placed on science and technology, the morality and practicality of genetic engineering—these are just some of the philosophical problems raised by Planet of the Apes. Planet of the Apes and Philosophy looks at all the deeper issues involved in the Planet of the Apes stories. It covers the entire franchise, from Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel Monkey Planet to the successful 2012 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The chapters reflect diverse points of view, philosophical, religious, and scientific. The ethical relations of humans with animals are explored in several chapters, with entertaining and incisive observations on animal intelligence, animal rights, and human-animal interaction. Genetic engineering is changing humans, animals, and plants, raising new questions about the morality of such interventions. The scientific recognition that humans and chimps share 99 percent of their genes makes a future in which non-human animals acquire greater importance a distinct possibility. Planet of the Apes is the most resonant of all scientific apocalypse myths.
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card’s award-winning 1985 novel, has been discovered and rediscovered by generations of science fiction fans and young adult readers, banned and challenged in schools, assigned in high school English classes, and adopted as reading by the US Marine Corps. Ender's Game and its sequels explores rich themes—the violence and cruelty of children, the role of empathy in war, and the balance of individual dignity and the social good—with compelling elements of a coming-of-age story and exciting and immersive battle scenes. Ender’s Game and Philosophy brings together over thirty philosophers to engage in wide-ranging discussion on the troubling, exciting, and fascinating issues raised in and amidst the excitement and fear of Orson Scott Card’s novels and Gavin Hood’s film. Authors address issues such as: the justifiability of pre-emptive strikes, how Ender’s disconnected and dispassionate violence is mirrored in today’s drone warfare, whether the end of saving the species can justify the most brutal means, the justifiability of lies and deception in wartimes, how military schools produce training in virtue, how Ender as the “good student” is held to a different educational standard, which rules can be broken in games and which cannot, Ender’s world as a mirror of our own surveillance society, the moral hazards of child warriors, the value of Ender’s ability to sympathize with his enemies, the meaning of a “hive-mind,” the limits of our ability to relate to one, the relationship between Ender’s story and Card’s Mormonism. The authors of Ender’s Game and Philosophy challenge readers to confront and work through the conceptual and emotional challenges that Ender’s Game presents, bringing a new light on the idea of a just war, the virtues of the soldier, the nature of childhood, the social value and moral corruption of lies and deception, the practices of education and of leadership, and the serious work of playing games.
Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick (1928–1982) is the giant imagination behind so much recent popular culture—both movies directly based on his writings, such as Blade Runner (based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau plus cult favorites such as A Scanner Darkly, Imposter, Next, Screamers, and Paycheck and works revealing his powerful influence, such as The Matrix and Inception. With the publication in 2011 of volume 1 of Exegesis, his journal of spiritual visions and paranoic investigations, Dick is fast becoming a major influence in the world of popular spirituality and occult thinking. In Philip K. Dick and Philosophy thirty Dick fans and professional thinkers confront the fascinating and frightening ideas raised by Dick’s mind-blowing fantasies. Is there an alien world behind the everyday reality we experience? If androids can pass as human, should they be given the same consideration as humans? Do psychotics have insights into a mystical reality? Would knowledge of the future free us or enslave us? This volume will also include Dick's short story "Adjustment Team," on which The Adjustment Bureau is based. Philip K. Dick and Philosophy explores the ideas of Philip K. Dick in the same way that he did: with an earnest desire to understand the truth of the world, but without falsely equating earnestness with a dry seriousness. Dick’s work was replete with whimsical and absurdist presentations of the greatest challenges to reason and to humanity—paradox, futility, paranoia, and failure—and even at his darkest times he was able to keep some perspective and humor, as for example in choosing to name himself ‘Horselover Fat’ in VALIS at the same time as he relates his personal religious epiphanies, crises, and delusions. With the same earnest whimsy, we approach Philip K. Dick as a philosopher like ourselves—one who wrote almost entirely in thought-experiments and semi-fictional world-building, but who engaged with many of the greatest questions of philosophy throughout the Euro-American tradition. Philip K. Dick and Philosophy has much to offer for both serious fans and those who have recently learned his name, and realized that his work has been the inspiration for several well-known and thought-provoking films. Most chapters start with one or more of the movies based on Dick’s writing. From here, the authors delve deeper into the issues by bringing in philosophers' perspectives and by bringing in Dick’s written work. The book invites the reader with a casual familiarity with Dick to get to know his work, and invites the reader with little familiarity with philosophy to learn more. New perspectives and challenging connections and interpretations for even the most hard-core Dick fans are also offered. To maximize public interest, the book prominently addresses the most widely-known films, as well as those with the most significant fan followings: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, and The Adjustment Bureau. Along with these “big five” films, a few chapters address his last novels, especially VALIS, which have a significant cult following of their own. There are also chapters which address short stories and novels which are currently planned for adaptation: Radio Free Albemuth (film completed, awaiting distribution), The Man in the High Castle (in development by Ridley Scott for BBC mini-series), and “King of the Elves” (Disney, planned for release in 2012).
Sixteen philosophers come at Hannibal the way he comes at his victims—from unexpected angles and with plenty of surprises thrown in. Hannibal is a revolting monster, and yet a monster with whom we identify because of his intelligence, artistry, and personal magnetism. The chapters in this book pose many questions—and offer intriguing answers—about the enigma of Hannibal Lecter. What does the the relationship between Hannibal and those who know him—particularly FBI investigator Will Graham—tell us about the nature of friendship and Hannibal’s capacity for friendship? Does Hannibal confer benefits on society by eliminating people who don’t live up to his high aesthetic standards? Can upsetting experiences in early childhood turn you into a serial killer? Why are we enthralled by someone who exercises god-like control over situations and people? Does it make any difference morally that a killer eats his victims? Can a murder be a work of art? Several chapters look at the mind of this accomplished killer, psychiatrist, and gourmet cook. Is he a sociopath or a psychopath, or are these the same: Is he lacking in empathy: Apparently not, since he has a quick understanding of what other people think and feel. Maybe what he lacks is a conscience.
Rhythm is the fundamental pulse that animates poetry, music, and dance across all cultures. And yet the recent explosion of scholarly interest across disciplines in the aural dimensions of aesthetic experience--particularly in sociology, cultural and media theory, and literary studies--has yet to explore this fundamental category. This book furthers the discussion of rhythm beyond the discrete conceptual domains and technical vocabularies of musicology and prosody. With original essays by philosophers, psychologists, musicians, literary theorists, and ethno-musicologists, The Philosophy of Rhythm opens up wider-and plural-perspectives, examining formal affinities between the historically interconnected fields of music, dance, and poetry, while addressing key concepts such as embodiment, movement, pulse, and performance. Volume editors Peter Cheyne, Andy Hamilton, and Max Paddison bring together a range of key questions: What is the distinction between rhythm and pulse? What is the relationship between everyday embodied experience, and the specific experience of music, dance, and poetry? Can aesthetics offer an understanding of rhythm that helps inform our responses to visual and other arts, as well as music, dance, and poetry? And, what is the relation between psychological conceptions of entrainment, and the humane concept of rhythm and meter? Overall, The Philosophy of Rhythm appeals across disciplinary boundaries, providing a unique overview of a neglected aspect of aesthetic experience.
From the moment J. D. Salinger published The Catcher in the Rye in 1951, he was stalked by besotted fans, would-be biographers, and pushy journalists. In this collection of rare and revealing encounters with the elusive literary giant, Salinger discusses—sometimes willingly, sometimes grudgingly—what that onslaught was like, the autobiographical origins of his art, and his advice to writers. Including his final, surprising interview, and with an insightful introduction by New York Times journalist David Streitfeld, these enlightening, provocative, and even amusing conversations reveal a writer fiercely resistant to the spotlight but powerless to escape its glare.