Philosophy And The Interpretation Of Pop Culture / Edition 1

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Aristotle analyzed the popular art of his time: the tragedies and epics. Why should philosophers today not do likewise? Perhaps we can learn something from children's stories by subverting the dominant paradigm of adult authority and admitting with Socrates that we don't know all the answers. Perhaps Batman has ethical lessons to teach that generalize beyond the pages of comic books. Is it better to like Mozart than it is to like Madonna? Kurt Cobain gave voice to the attitude of a generation, singing, 'Here we are, now entertain us.' Is entertainment a bad thing, or could it actually have value-and not just instrumental value?

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Editorial Reviews

Cynthia A. Freeland
Whether we call it popular culture or mass art, there's plenty of people who think it's like junk food — bad for you. This collection by top scholars makes a strong case that there's not just some nourishment mixed in there, but even some entries worth savoring. Popular culture can educate, arouse emotions, ponder philosophy, and make esoteric allusions that reward aesthetic attention.
Thomas Wartenberg
The variety of approaches and depth of insight in this diverse set of essays makes this volume required reading for all those interested in taking philosophy out of the ivory tower.
Robert Thompson
The analysis of popular culture is a booming industry. Blogs, VH1, The New York Times, heady academic conferences devoted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: in contrast to a generation ago, it seems that everyone today is taking popular culture seriously. Some of the most insightful observations are coming from philosophers whose work can be found in this book, a rollicking collection of essays that demonstrates how useful philosophy can be in illuminating the products of mass culture.
March 2008 Metapsychology Online Reviews
The collection is fun. This book will be interesting to aestheticians and people who have been watching the popular culture and philosophy trend closely.
Summer 2008 Journal Of Aesthetic Education
A welcome addition to the ever-growing pile of books on philosophy and popular culture.
David Carrier
For too long, philosophers have marginalized or even ignored mass culture. This engaging anthology, which is erudite and readable, sometimes provocative but often very funny, will decisively change the way that mass culture is understood. So go for it!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742551756
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 0.64 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William Irwin is associate professor of philosophy at King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Jorge J. E. Gracia is Samuel P. Capen Chair and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at SUNY-Buffalo. He is the author of Surviving Race, Ethinicity, and Nationality (2005).

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Acknowledgements Part 2 1. Philosophy Engages Popular Culture: An Introduction Part 3 Part I: Philosophy and Popular Culture Chapter 4 2. Philosophy and the Probably Impossible Chapter 5 3. Philosophy as/and/of Popular Culture Chapter 6 4. Allusion and Intention in Popular Art Chapter 7 5. On the Ties That Bind: Characters, the Emotions, and the Popular Fictions Chapter 8 6. Liking What's Good: Why Should We? Chapter 9 7. Popular Art and Entertainment Value Part 10 Part II: Interpretation and Popular Art Forms Chapter 11 8. Popular Culture and Spontaneous Order: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tube Chapter 12 9. From Horror to Hero: Film Interpretations of Stocker's Dracula Chapter 13 10. Socrates at Story Hour: Philosophy as a Subversive Motif in Children's Literature Chapter 14 11. Of Batcaves and Clock-Towers: Living Damaged Lives in Gotham City Chapter 15 12. "American Pie" and the Self-Critique of Rock 'n' Roll Chapter 16 13. Photography, Popular Epistemology, Flexible Realism, and Holistic Pragmatism

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