Breaking Bad and Philosophy

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Overview


Breaking Bad, hailed by Stephen King, Chuck Klosterman, and many others as the best of all TV dramas, tells the story of a man whose life changes because of the medical death sentence of an advanced cancer diagnosis. The show depicts his metamorphosis from inoffensive chemistry teacher to feared drug lord and remorseless killer. Driven at first by the desire to save his family from destitution, he risks losing his family altogether because of his new life of crime.

In defiance ...

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Breaking Bad and Philosophy: Badder Living through Chemistry

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Overview


Breaking Bad, hailed by Stephen King, Chuck Klosterman, and many others as the best of all TV dramas, tells the story of a man whose life changes because of the medical death sentence of an advanced cancer diagnosis. The show depicts his metamorphosis from inoffensive chemistry teacher to feared drug lord and remorseless killer. Driven at first by the desire to save his family from destitution, he risks losing his family altogether because of his new life of crime.

In defiance of the tradition that viewers demand a TV character who never changes, Breaking Bad is all about the process of change, with each scene carrying forward the morphing of Walter White into the terrible Heisenberg.

Can a person be transformed as the result of a few key life choices? Does everyone have the potential to be a ruthless criminal? How will we respond to the knowledge that we will be dead in six months? Is human life subject to laws as remorseless as chemical equations? When does injustice validate brutal retaliation? Why are drug addicts unsuitable for operating the illegal drug business? How can TV viewers remain loyal to a series where the hero becomes the villain? Does Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty rule our destinies?

In Breaking Bad and Philosophy, a hand-picked squad of professional thinkers investigate the crimes of Walter White, showing how this story relates to the major themes of philosophy and the major life decisions facing all of us.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

At the core of AMC's Breaking Bad is an ethical dilemma: How would a medical death sentence the behavior. In the case of high school chemistry teacher Walter White, the answers are not inevitably comforting. This former student charmer evolves into a meth dealer, a greedy mob boss, a cynical manipulator, and a murderer. On television, that evolution registers as mayhem; in philosophy, it raises penetrating questions about ethics, behavior, and even viewers that all of us can ruminate. This addition to Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy series crystallizes those questions. Worth waiting up for. (P.S. The fifth season of the award-winning dark drama begins in July.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812697643
  • Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/10/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 176,665
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


David R. Koepsell is Associate Professor of Philosophy, Values and Technology Section, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He is the author of numerous books, including Who Owns You? The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Your Genes (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) and Science and Ethics (Prometheus, 2007).
Robert Arp is a philosopher with a doctorate from Saint Louis University. He is the co-author with Jamie Watson of What's Good on TV: Understanding Ethics through Television (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and Philosophy DeMYSTiFiedD (McGraw-Hill, 2011). He is co-editor with Mark White of Batman and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008). He is author of Scenario Visualization (MIT Press, 2008) and author or editor of many other works.
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Table of Contents

A Fine Meth We've Gotten Into vii

Analyze This 1

1 Walt's Rap Sheet David E. Koepsell Vanessa Gonzalez 3

2 Heisenberg's Uncertain Confession Darryl J. Murphy 15

3 Was Skyler's Intervention Ethical? Hell, It Shouldn't Even Be Legal! Dan Miori 27

Equations Must Balance 41

4 Finding Happiness in a Black Hat Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray 43

5 Hurtling towards Death Craig Simpson 55

6 Macbeth on Ice Ray Bossert 65

There's Meth in My Madness 79

7 Walter White's Will to Power Megan Wright 81

8 Better than Human Stephen Glass 91

Nothing Here But Chemistry 101

9 The Riddle of Godfather Gus Jeffrey A. Hinzmann 103

10 If Walt's Breaking Bad, Maybe We Are Too J.C. Donhauser 113

11 I Appreciate the Strategy Sara Waller 125

Now You're Cooking 137

12 What's So Bad about Meth? Patricia Brace Robert Arp 139

13 It's Arbitrary? Adam Barkman 149

14 Does Cooking Make Walt a Bad Guy? Greg Littmann 159

Free Radicals 169

15 Been through the Desert on a Horse with No Name Oli Mould 171

16 You're Supposed to Be a Scientist Lisa Kadonaga 181

17 Breaking Bonds Denise Du Vernay 191

Pink, White, and Blue 201

18 Walter White's American Vice Jeffrey E. Stephenson 203

19 Meth, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Aaron C. Anderson Justine Lopez 213

Spontaneous Reactions 223

The Bad Elements 231

Index 237

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Raine

    I love the show this book gives a good analasis of the characters and theit motivations

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    BEST SHOW EVER

    Yf

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Awesome show

    Idk about book

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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