Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Philosophy of Super Heroes

The Philosophy of super heroes was a very interesting book. It is a collection of articles that explore philosophy and how it affects or is affected by super heroes. I think that the articles that did their homework interested me the most. That is to say, that some of the authors had a cursory knowledge about what they might have seen in movies, but some of the others had done quite a bit of research into the deeper lore of what they were examining. The first third of the book is a lot easier to read than the latter.

The three most interesting articles for me was the exploration of why Spiderman does what he does, why Superman does what he does, and the religious overtones of Daredevil’s Catholocism. The author postulated that the reason Superman acted heroically was as a way of connecting with people. And this makes sense really. He is the last of his race. And, when you think about it, being surrounded by people that look exactly like your people, but who are fundamentally different and also fragile, could make you hesitant to establish any kind of connection with them. By taking a direct hand in the world, by connecting with people by making a positive difference in their lives you can become a part of the whole. The exploration of “With great power comes great responsibility” was a fascinating breakdown of what makes something ethical or not. I can see why Jennifer enjoys Kantian philosophy so much. It took me a while to get around to reading it, but I’m glad that I did. I highly recommend it.

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