Have you ever had one of those pointless internet arguments about the philosophical righteousness of Batman, Superman, Rorschach or Luke Skywalker? Or maybe you’ve spent hours arguing about how time travel works based on old Fantastic Four comic books. And I’m sure many of you have tried to defend the value of some superhero movie that everyone else hates, but you love (but not Batman v. Superman, because that’s just awful and you know it). Why do we do this? Are these arguments really as dumb as they seem on the surface? Or is ruminating about these seemingly useless minutiae of fictional characters something more important. Ok, obviously it’s the second one, or else how would we make an episode out of it? Superhero thought experiments are a part of pop culture now, even when we don’t notice that we’re doing it. But really… why are we doing that?
On this week’s episode, Mav, Wayne and Hannah are joined by Chris Gavaler and Nathaniel Goldberg, authors of Superhero Thought Experiments: Comic Book Philosophy, to talk about the ways we use our pop culture media to develop our understanding of philosophy, theology, science, morality, ideology and politics. Join us as we work through some of the examples in their book, propose some of our own, and talk about why this is a useful exercise and how different people might come to different conclusions given the same story. Give it a listen and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Citations and Links:
- This episode’s Call for Comments
- “Dear Ted Cruz: Rorschach is not a hero” by Susana Polo
- Superhero Thought Experiments: Comic Book Philosophy by Chris Gavaler and Nathaniel Goldberg
- Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith: A Philosophical Account by Chris Gavaler and Nathaniel Goldberg
- Thank you to Maximilian’s thoughtForm Music for our theme
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- Follow Mav on Twitter: @chrismaverick
- Follow Wayne on Instagram: @tetroc2017
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