Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul

Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470270301
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 06/16/2008
Series: Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series , #2
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 192,811
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

MARK D. WHITE is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY.

ROBERT ARP is a postdoctoral research associate through the National Center for Biomedical Ontology at the University at Buffalo, and edited South Park and Philosophy.

WILLIAM IRWIN is a professor of philosophy at King's College. He originated the philosophy and pop culture gentre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles, including Watchmen and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy.

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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The Oscar Speech George Clooney Never Got to Make ix

Introduction: Riddle Me This . . . 1


1 Why Doesn’t Batman Kill the Joker? 5
Mark D. White

2 Is It Right to Make a Robin? 17
James DiGiovanna

3 Batman’s Virtuous Hatred 28
Stephen Kershnar


4 No Man’s Land: Social Order in Gotham City and New Orleans 41
Brett Chandler Patterson

5 Governing Gotham 55
Tony Spanakos

6 The Joker’s Wild: Can We Hold the Clown Prince Morally Responsible? 70
Christopher Robichaud


7 Batman’s Promise 85
Randall M. Jensen

8 Should Bruce Wayne Have Become Batman? 101
Mahesh Ananth and Ben Dixon

9 What Would Batman Do? Bruce Wayne as Moral Exemplar 114
Ryan Indy Rhodes and David Kyle Johnson


10 Under the Mask: How Any Person Can Become Batman 129
Sarah K. Donovan and Nicholas P. Richardson

11 Could Batman Have Been the Joker? 142
Sam Cowling and Chris Ragg

12 Batman’s Identity Crisis and Wittgenstein’s Family Resemblance 156
Jason Southworth

13 What Is It Like to Be a Batman? 167
Ron Novy


14 Alfred, the Dark Knight of Faith: Batman and Kierkegaard 183
Christopher M. Drohan

15 Dark Nights and the Call of Conscience 198
Jason J. Howard

16 Batman’s Confrontation with Death, Angst, and Freedom 212
David M. Hart


17 Why Batman Is Better Than Superman 227
Galen Foresman

18 World’s Finest . . . Friends? Batman,Superman, and the Nature of Friendship 239
Daniel P. Malloy

19 Leaving the Shadow of the Bat: Aristotle, Kant, and Dick Grayson on Moral Education 254
Carsten Fogh Nielsen

20 The Tao of the Bat 267

CONTRIBUTORS : The Clown Princes (and Princess) of Casuistry and Categorical Imperatives 279

INDEX : From the Secret Files of Oracle, Master Indexer to the DCU 285

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Batman and Philosophy 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
SMac127 More than 1 year ago
The Dark Knight of the Soul captivates the mind in the philosophy behind many aspects of Batman's life. In each one of its interesting chapters, it provides theoretical answers to many theoretical questions that Batman fans have been posing for years. The authors discuss Batman's psyche in a succession of different situations. Some of the more captivating chapters discuss why Batman doesn't just kill the joker and end everyone's misery, and Is Batman better than Superman? It discusses if it is ethical to have a Robin and if Bruce Wayne should have become the Batman in the first place. Each chapter of the book diverges into its own little story so you can put the book down and pick it up again whenever you feel like reading some more. This helps you because you don't have to remember things from earlier in the book, and it makes the book seem smaller and easier to tackle. The themes in this book revolve around different beliefs of philosophy, the main points of each theme being virtue and justice. In the chapter where it asks if Batman should kill the Joker, two different sects believe the same thing, just in a different light. 'The deontologists, the ends never justify the means, but rather the means should be justifiable on their own merits. So the fact that the killing would prevent future killings is irrelevant?the only relevant factor is that killing is wrong, period." Even though the death of the Joker at the hands of Batman would be a great thing for the safety of the future, Batman may not want to do this because murder qualifies as a sin, even the somewhat justifiable murder of a menace like the Joker. The other half of that argument states that Batman may be a Utilitarian. "Utilitarianism is a system of ethics that requires us to maximize the total happiness or well-being resulting from our actions." The saving of many lives through the death of the Joker would rationalize the murder of the Joker. Obviously Batman is probably not Utilitarian because then the comics would stop and many people would be sad. For die-hard comic fans, this is a great choice for a novel. At points it gets a little redundant and may seem like the authors are restating the same things over and over in the book and you just want to say like, "Look I get it, enough, lets move on." I would not qualify this book as an "easy read" but it definitely lets you get into the brain of Batman and see what he may be thinking in those tough situations, and the philosophy is pretty easy to comprehend. If you are young I would not recommend this book because it isn't the most exciting book ever written, it is more meant to be a learning and spiritual novel. Overall I would give this book three out of five stars. It was what I expected in the fact that it is helpful in the understanding of Batman but not in the aspect of having you on the edge of your seat. So if you're as big of a Batman fan as I am I would definitely find the time to read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To keep you reading even if your not a fan of philosophy. My favorite chapter is the first one where all the reasons why batman wont killer the joker are presented and examined
RomieClay More than 1 year ago
Batman and philosophy is a great book, primarily because few other authors investigate this topic. Comic books are fantastical, wondrous works of fiction, and seeing real world values and examples like Katrina, and deontology being applied is very thought provoking(of course, so is philosophy). The book was well researched, cleart in its presentation, and perhaps the best way to learn about philosophy.
storyjunkie on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I wrote a sputtering set of comments when I decided that I didn't have to continue reading this book. The surface treatment of the very interesting issues brought up by Batman, and the iconic storylines of his recent history (_Dark Knight Returns_ to present, roughly) is almost worse than just reading the more composed meta comments on any comics message board. If I wanted "Batman is Cool, and Also Right!" propaganda, I know where to get that for free, and I'm disheartened to find cherry-picked analysis supports in something that I turned to in hopes of addressing the problematic nature of Batman-as-hero.
aadyer on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Excellent overview & there are some brilliant essays in this, making this surprisingly accessible at times. There are some duff efforts and there are some mediocre efforts but these are few & far between. Any Batman fan would get something out of this, and anyone with an interest in philosophy (Western or eastern) will also find parts of this rewarding. Serious but worth the effort
atia on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I should know better than to read books like this. Like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy", this sounded interesting and intriguing, but at the end of the day it's really just a bunch of academics trying to find a justification to write about something they really enjoy. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but - okay, I'm probably mostly angry with myself for reading all of this. I do think there are interesting questions that can be asked about Batman, but the way those questions are dealt with here was in most cases highly unsatisfying. It's an odd mix of using different philosopher's theory to illustrate a point about Batman and of using Batman to illustrate a point about a certain philosopher's theory. Some essays are actually cringe-worthy in their enthusiasm. Don't get me wrong - hey, I'm the Queen of Enthusiasm, but there's such a thing as too much. Or rather - don't try to be funny when you're really not. I also have to agree with another reviewer on here in that this reads awefully biased. Again, I myself am a huge fan of Batman, but even when there's a critical question to be raised, in the end Batman is right. If this book was called "Wanking about Batman", it'd be one thing, but "Batman and Philosophy", this is not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Batman begins: its not who i am underneath, but what i do that defines me. The dark knight: you either die a hero, or live, long enough to see yourself become the villian. Dkr: catwoman: you given them everything. batman: not everything, not yet
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