The Philosophy of the Western features a variety of essays that consider the philosophical significance of Westerns. From classic films such as Fort Apache (1948) and The Wild Bunch (1969) to contemporary films and TV shows such as 3:10 to Yuma (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), and Deadwood (2004-6), The Philosophy of the Western uses modern philosophical thought to analyze the underlying thematic framework of the genre. Editors Jennifer L. McMahon and B. Steve Csaki gather noted contributors to investigate, among other things, identity, ethics, gender, and animal rights within the western.
Drawing from philosophers as varied as Aristotle, Spinoza, William James and Jean-Paul Sartre, The Philosophy of the Western examines topics including: the epistemological and ethical benefits of solitude and how the Western influences personal identity. The philosophies of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and J.J. Rousseau are likewise invoked to show how Westerns illustrate the nature of human relationships and the necessary conditions of social and political order. The result is a comprehensive study of fundamental questions about morality, identity, and social organization.
Offering an intriguing glimpse into the Western genre, The Philosophy of the Western provides a detailed analysis of the origins and continuing influence of the quintessential American icon.
About the Author
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Do Not Forsake Me My Darling: Loneliness and Solitude in Westerns
Civilization and its Discontents: The Self-Sufficient Western Hero
Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Pragmatists
Two Ways to Yuma: Locke, Liberalism, and Western Masculinity in 3:10 to Yuma
Landscapes of Gendered Violence: Male Love and Anxiety on the Railroad
Order Out of the Mud: Deadwood and the State of Nature
Order Without Law: The Magnificent Seven, East and West
From Dollars to Iron: The Currency of Clint Eastwood's Westerns
The Duty of Reason: Kantian Ethics in High Noon
The Cost of the Code: Ethical Consequences in High Noon and The Ox-Bow Incident
Back Off to What? The Search for Meaning in The Wild Bunch
No Country for Old Men: The Decline of Ethics and the West (ern)
The North-Western: McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Savage Nations: Native Americans and the American Western
Regeneration through Stories and Song: The View from the Other Side of the West in Smoke Signals
Go West, Young Woman! Hegel's Dialectic and Women's Identities in Western Films
Beating a Live Horse: The Elevation and Degradation of the Horse in Westerns