SUPERHEROES AND PHILOSOPHY PDF

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Editorial Reviews. Review. "Superman's costume always bugged me when I was a kid So you need a secret identity – cool. But what's the deal with all the. Chicago, Ill.: Open Court, - Popular culture and philosophy ; v. 13 pages, , English, Book, 14 & Possibly online. Superheroes and philosophy: truth. tom-morris-superheroes-and-philosophy-truth-justice-and-the-socratic-way - Unknown Transitional Truth and Historical Justice - Philosophy Documentation .


Superheroes And Philosophy Pdf

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[Ebook pdf] Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way ( Popular Culture and. Philosophy). Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice. Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the American Way by Tom Morris and Matt Morris, Editors and Comics as Philosophy by Jeff. Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the. AmericanWay. Tom Morris and Matt Morris, Editors. Chicago,. IL: Open Court Publishing Company,

Guilt-ridden, Peter adopts the persona of Spider-Man and starts to fight crime Lee, The details of the plot change according to the various iterations, but the basics remain the same with some exceptions highlighted later in the essay.

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The former allows for a more in-depth look at morality by allowing comparisons within what is essentially the same story. This is opposed to Superman, who is an alien, Batman, whose economic standing places him in a unique position, and the X-Men, who spend their lives isolated amongst other superhumans, interacting with the world only when they save it.

Thus, he is the most realistic superhero in that anyone can pursue his eutopian goals if the scientific explanation of the spider-bite can be rationalised of course without having to be born or raised in unique circumstances. The crux of this question is considering why a superhero chooses to help others in the first place. If we are to look at this using political thought, there are two main ways to go about it.

The utilitarian argument would be that Spider-Man uses his abilities for a good cause because that provides the greatest overall happiness Robichaud, p. As an extension of this position, we can reasonably suggest that by making society safer, Peter is not only helping others but he is also helping himself by keeping his friends and family safe Evans, pp.

A good example of this argument is near the final scene in the first Spider-Man film. The antagonist, Green Goblin, forces Spider-Man to choose between saving his long-time love interest Mary Jane Watson and a cable car full of children.

By using his superpowers in the best way possible, Spider-Man achieves the optimum outcome and saves both Mary Jane and the children. He chooses the option which results in the greatest possible benefit Raimi, This is an objective, rational approach whereby the success of a choice is determined by its outcome. By focussing on the consequences of the action, rather than the motivation behind it, utilitarianism manages to somewhat deproblematise the issue of morality. However, the situation is not that simple.

Even looking at the previous dilemma provided by the Green Goblin, Spider-Man would have chosen to jump after the cable car first and Mary Jane second instead of saving her first as he did in the film in case he was unable to complete both tasks, as that would result in fewer losses of life Raimi, This, unfortunately, brings us back to the heart of the problem without really shedding any helpful light on it.

We can perhaps understand why Spider-Man acts the way he does but it still hinges on him being morally sound.

Unlike professionals who help others due to the monetary benefits such as doctors or lawyers and unlike people with direct emotional links to those they help such as a mother cooking food for her children , Spider-Man usually helps strangers, though some situations result in him needing to save those he personally cares about Keeping, p. As far as his origin story is concerned, there is a deterministic element to his motivations.

In the original comic series, some new incarnations like Ultimate Spider-Man Bendis, , and the Sam Raimi films, Peter initially uses his abilities for personal profit by becoming a professional wrestler. In the Marc Webb film, Peter refuses to help a grocery store clerk stop a thief because he had been forbidden from exchanging money from the tip jar earlier on.

In all cases, on his way back home, he finds out that his uncle, who was out looking for him, did try to stop the thief, as a result of which he was shot and killed. Guilt-ridden over his inaction and inspired by the morality his uncle had always practiced, Peter chooses to become Spider-Man.

Thus, his origin story places a pre-fated morality on him Brenzel, pp. Comparisons to alternative versions of Spider-Man further highlight this pre-determined morality. In this particular case, he does not attempt to hide his identity either, basking in his superheroic aura as a central part of his existence rather than as an alter-ego Bendis, In this instance, morality is made irrelevant but only by replacing it with another dilemma, that of a selfish incentive.

Therefore, the problematic nature of morality is not solved, only substituted for another issue. Another iteration of Spider-Man is the What If…? In What If…? In all three cases, the individuals fail to stop crime and, in two cases, they are actually killed.

The reason for their failure is because they have selfish motivations behind their crime-fighting attempts Glut, This shows that morality is a key factor in determining the nature of the superheroic actions. In his absence and in the absence of his morality, Spider-Man fails to live up to his potential and cannot be harnessed as a force for change. We can make use of two further and diametrically opposite examples.

This is due to a lack of moral imperative that makes him fulfil his eutopian potential.

Comparatively, in Powerless, he remains an ordinary teenager, because the spider never bites him, but he still tries to fight crime and is mortally wounded in the process Cherniss and Johnson, This shows that morality is necessary in the pursuit of enacting change, regardless of the actual potential to do so. The common thread running through all of these versions of Spider-Man is the issue of morality, or, more specifically, of moral luck.

The argument in each case is that, regardless of the abilities of the individual in this case, Spider-Man , the key factor in determining whether they can enact any type of change is their moral standing.

It therefore requires a convenient situation where the protagonist has both the superheroic capabilities and the moral drive to attempt following a eutopian vision Tallon, pp. He is a good person because his uncle and aunt raised him as such Layman, p.

As shown in the films, especially in The Amazing Spider-Man Webb, , his uncle in particular embeds a deep sense of responsibility in him. When he forgets to meet his aunt at the train station, his uncle is furious at him, not only because of the fact that she had to walk back home alone in a crime-ridden New York, but mostly because Peter reneged on a promise, albeit unintentionally.

While this provides a heart-warming plot point in both the comics and the films, it is not particularly reassuring in the practical implications of Spider-Man as a utopian parable. If Spider-Man really is a blueprint — or, at least, a parallel — for utopian social change, then hope only lies with those who are fortunate enough to be raised as morally sound individuals.

This essentially states that there is a tipping point where a significant number of people can harness utopian thoughts into action Moylan, If we therefore unequivocally state that his actions are in pursuit of a eutopia, we can see that the question of morality is indeed a problematic issue in utopianism. This essay will look deeper at that very question and highlight the problems it inevitably brings up.

Thomas V. Morris

Before embarking on this analysis, a caveat is necessary to explain the choice of superhero being used here, namely Spider-Man. The basic premise of his story is simple: teenager Peter Parker is bestowed superhuman, spider-like abilities due to a bite from a radioactive spider.

When he refuses to stop a robber with his new-found powers, the same robber kills his uncle Ben.

Guilt-ridden, Peter adopts the persona of Spider-Man and starts to fight crime Lee, The details of the plot change according to the various iterations, but the basics remain the same with some exceptions highlighted later in the essay.

The former allows for a more in-depth look at morality by allowing comparisons within what is essentially the same story.

This is opposed to Superman, who is an alien, Batman, whose economic standing places him in a unique position, and the X-Men, who spend their lives isolated amongst other superhumans, interacting with the world only when they save it. Thus, he is the most realistic superhero in that anyone can pursue his eutopian goals if the scientific explanation of the spider-bite can be rationalised of course without having to be born or raised in unique circumstances.

The crux of this question is considering why a superhero chooses to help others in the first place. If we are to look at this using political thought, there are two main ways to go about it. The utilitarian argument would be that Spider-Man uses his abilities for a good cause because that provides the greatest overall happiness Robichaud, p.

As an extension of this position, we can reasonably suggest that by making society safer, Peter is not only helping others but he is also helping himself by keeping his friends and family safe Evans, pp. A good example of this argument is near the final scene in the first Spider-Man film.

The antagonist, Green Goblin, forces Spider-Man to choose between saving his long-time love interest Mary Jane Watson and a cable car full of children. By using his superpowers in the best way possible, Spider-Man achieves the optimum outcome and saves both Mary Jane and the children. He chooses the option which results in the greatest possible benefit Raimi, This is an objective, rational approach whereby the success of a choice is determined by its outcome. By focussing on the consequences of the action, rather than the motivation behind it, utilitarianism manages to somewhat deproblematise the issue of morality.

However, the situation is not that simple.

Even looking at the previous dilemma provided by the Green Goblin, Spider-Man would have chosen to jump after the cable car first and Mary Jane second instead of saving her first as he did in the film in case he was unable to complete both tasks, as that would result in fewer losses of life Raimi, This, unfortunately, brings us back to the heart of the problem without really shedding any helpful light on it.

We can perhaps understand why Spider-Man acts the way he does but it still hinges on him being morally sound. Unlike professionals who help others due to the monetary benefits such as doctors or lawyers and unlike people with direct emotional links to those they help such as a mother cooking food for her children , Spider-Man usually helps strangers, though some situations result in him needing to save those he personally cares about Keeping, p.

As far as his origin story is concerned, there is a deterministic element to his motivations. In the original comic series, some new incarnations like Ultimate Spider-Man Bendis, , and the Sam Raimi films, Peter initially uses his abilities for personal profit by becoming a professional wrestler. In the Marc Webb film, Peter refuses to help a grocery store clerk stop a thief because he had been forbidden from exchanging money from the tip jar earlier on.

In all cases, on his way back home, he finds out that his uncle, who was out looking for him, did try to stop the thief, as a result of which he was shot and killed. Guilt-ridden over his inaction and inspired by the morality his uncle had always practiced, Peter chooses to become Spider-Man.

tom-morris-superheroes-and-philosophy-truth-justice-and-the-socratic-way - Unknown

Thus, his origin story places a pre-fated morality on him Brenzel, pp. Comparisons to alternative versions of Spider-Man further highlight this pre-determined morality.

In this particular case, he does not attempt to hide his identity either, basking in his superheroic aura as a central part of his existence rather than as an alter-ego Bendis, In this instance, morality is made irrelevant but only by replacing it with another dilemma, that of a selfish incentive.

Therefore, the problematic nature of morality is not solved, only substituted for another issue. Another iteration of Spider-Man is the What If…? In What If…?

In all three cases, the individuals fail to stop crime and, in two cases, they are actually killed. The reason for their failure is because they have selfish motivations behind their crime-fighting attempts Glut, This shows that morality is a key factor in determining the nature of the superheroic actions. In his absence and in the absence of his morality, Spider-Man fails to live up to his potential and cannot be harnessed as a force for change.

We can make use of two further and diametrically opposite examples. This is due to a lack of moral imperative that makes him fulfil his eutopian potential.

Comparatively, in Powerless, he remains an ordinary teenager, because the spider never bites him, but he still tries to fight crime and is mortally wounded in the process Cherniss and Johnson, This shows that morality is necessary in the pursuit of enacting change, regardless of the actual potential to do so. The common thread running through all of these versions of Spider-Man is the issue of morality, or, more specifically, of moral luck.

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The argument in each case is that, regardless of the abilities of the individual in this case, Spider-Man , the key factor in determining whether they can enact any type of change is their moral standing. It therefore requires a convenient situation where the protagonist has both the superheroic capabilities and the moral drive to attempt following a eutopian vision Tallon, pp. He is a good person because his uncle and aunt raised him as such Layman, p. As shown in the films, especially in The Amazing Spider-Man Webb, , his uncle in particular embeds a deep sense of responsibility in him.

When he forgets to meet his aunt at the train station, his uncle is furious at him, not only because of the fact that she had to walk back home alone in a crime-ridden New York, but mostly because Peter reneged on a promise, albeit unintentionally.Morris has made significant academic contributions to the philosophy of religion and is considered an important contributor to analytic discussions of many critical areas in both philosophy and theology.

[PDF] Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way (Popular Culture and

List of references Bainbridge, Jason. Holy Superheroes! Michael called humanist phase. Liebe, Macht und Uberleben George A. We can perhaps understand why Spider-Man acts the way he does but it still hinges on him being morally sound.