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Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way (Popular Culture and Philosophy #13)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  573 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Great Caesars Ghost!! A team of Brainiacs! Superheroes and Philosophy is Kryptonite for those super villains who diss the heroes as lightweights! Riddle me this, Batman: How are Gotham City and Metropolis like ancient Athens and modern Paris? Read...
Paperback, Large Print, 528 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by ReadHowYouWant (first published June 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,319)
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Jesús Santana
Aug 30, 2015 Jesús Santana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No soy un lector de comics ni tampoco me considero un gran fan de los superhéroes, los que conozco son por cultura general que con el tiempo he aprendido a respetarlos y ver un poco mas allá de lo que normalmente uno logra observar cuando se es joven y lo que encuentra en ellos es simple diversión y entretenimiento. Realmente no fueron muchos a los que seguía por TV o en historietas el único que recuerdo seguir fielmente todos los viernes era a The Punisher en mi adolescencia cuando se conseguía ...more
K.M. Weiland
Dec 18, 2014 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You had me from the word "superheroes." I was expecting Philosophy Lite - and that's what I got. But I was surprised by how interesting and thought-provoking the essays ended up being. Those about morality, identity, and time travel were especially good. Plus what's not to like about basking a little in the history and lore of the superheroic (although the book has something to say about the term)?
Jul 04, 2013 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic series. I'm not even personally into comics but I found the novelty of combining these subjects refreshing and entertaining. I'd definitely recommend this to younger readers for whom classical philosophy is too boring or obtuse.
Bryce Wilson
Jul 01, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book. While I've learned to like comics again superheroes are still kind of a mystery to me. Don't get me wrong I like a spot of Miller and Moore styler revisionism, or a bit of Bendis and Vaughn kickass story telling. But the majority of continuity swamped, staid superhero books just leave me cold. Due to the trillions years of back story I find them kind of incomprehensible at best, and just straight up goofy at worse.

Still this is a fun look at the potent myths and ideas that swarm un
Jun 06, 2014 JM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually was expecting it to be heavier on the philosophy part, so it was a bit of a surprise that it was very approachable regardless of whether you know a lot about comic books and/or about philosophy. Interesting read, for sure.
From the start, I loved the entire concept of this book. Comics are looked down on far too often from the pedestal of Literature (and I say this holding a literature degree) and it's refreshing to see them given serious insight and consideration through such a venerable lens as philosophy. Costumed heroes as explained by Kierkegaard, Aristotle, Plato and Kant? Yes, please. And for the most part, this book absolutely delivers. As others have commented, you go in expecting Philosophy Lite, but, as ...more
Layman's philosphy told through comic book characters we all grew up with and love. Lots of hidden gems on what motivates them and humans in general. Great way to get your foot in the door in regards to philosphy and a nice new take and spin on all of our favorite heroes. Recommended.
Mar 13, 2011 Twyst is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoying this book so far. A lot about Superman. Cannot express how much I do not care about Superman, but interesting viewpoints. Pretty heavily American so far.
Feb 10, 2015 Agus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Este libro me recuerda a la Civil War de Marvel. Podría haber sido mucho mas de lo que termino siendo. La idea de ver a los comics (la mitologia del siglo XX) bajo el lente de la filosofía es una buena premisa. Pero los autores se quedan en un análisis chato, facilitas. La portada es engañosa, tenemos un muy buen diseño de Marx con Mjonlir sin embargo el libro parece asustado de hacer cualquier tipo de análisis o juicio político. Es una lectura muy light del asunto. Se dedican varios capítulos a ...more
Jul 03, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So there you are. You've been bitten by a radioactive, alien wolverine that's been cursed by a gypsy and struck by lightning and you have finally, after years and years of waiting, been blessed with super powers. You can do things no one else can do, and you can do them faster, stronger, better and in more spandex than you ever dreamed possible. Now there's only one thing to do: pick a name, put together a costume and go fight crime!

But... why?

Ever stop and think about it? I mean, I know I would
Wade Bearden
Nov 12, 2011 Wade Bearden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read. I would have to argue that the main subject of this book is not necessarily superheroes, but instead philosophy with superheroes serving as illustrations.

I especially liked the section dealing with morality. A number of deep philosophical questions were discussed. What is morality? What does it mean to be moral? Why should one be "good?" It all boils down to this: if we are just mere products of a number of random chemical or natural reactions, then there really is
Dec 20, 2015 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoying both superheroes and philosophy, you would think I would find this sort of text to be the mental equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. Alas, alack, and sundry cries of dismay, but it was not to be. As is the case in these sort of texts, at least those that I have perused, contributors often know the philosophy, or know the media, but they rarely know both. While this is by no means the worst volume of its type that I encountered, I also hesitate to unreservedly recommend it.
Marc Mula
Apr 16, 2016 Marc Mula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Una obra que podría haber sido mucho más ambiciosa sin necesidad de renunciar a su espíritu divulgativo. A favor tiene que algunos pasajes son realmente interesantes, pero no suelen ocupar más de un tercio por capítulo. El libro peca en general de aplicar una aproximación filosófica demasiado especulativa y redundante. En este sentido, la mayoría de capítulos se recrean en una navegación sin rumbo por los rincones de los razonamientos y el propio discurso, en vez de dedicarse a responder con rig ...more
Sep 26, 2008 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really, really good book. Some of the articles were just okay, perhaps a little philosophically dense for light reading material, especially the ones that have to do with morality and ethical theory (Kantian theory, Utilitarian, and other nonconsequential ethical theories), but this depth is precisely what makes the book worth reading. It lends depth and an element of mythos to the superhero genre that many people assume is absent.

I particularly enjoyed the article on metaphysics and
Jul 16, 2014 Tiamatty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really fun, interesting exploration of philosophical issues through the context of superheroes. Things like identity, morality and friendship are explored, using examples from comic books to make the arguments easier to understand. It's fascinating reading, often mixed with great humour.
Aug 02, 2014 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hefty piece of reading.

Not for the person looking for light recapping of the Superhero comic genre; this is a intellectual and heavy, (maybe too heavy at times) series of essays about the big - I mean BIG - issues, that superhero comics sometimes tackle in the course of trying to defeat a supervillain out to destroy or conquer the world.

If you are in the mood though, what you have here is a trip back to that college course in Philosophy you took once, only this time we're bringing Su
Bah Becerra
Jan 05, 2016 Bah Becerra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es increíble como muestra que el objeto comic, como cualquier creación humana tiene una fuerte carga social y consecuentemente filosófica. Es una maravillosa forma de adentrarte a una forma crítica de leer cualquier literatura incluso la que crees de lo más básica
Bettie Pathway
Un libro interesante a nivel de divulgación, pero solo doy tres estrellas porque he visto mucha heterogeneidad en el nivel de los artículos y porque el de Los simpson y la filosofía me pareció más logrado.

Reseña completa aquí:
Nov 27, 2015 Qi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am intrigued by Joss Whedon's Avenger movie and look into any writing on the philosophic bendings on superhero genres. Beside the visual dazzles, these different persona of superhero (and deities) reflect certain strands of human impulses and drives, and the way they pursue their destinies. Whedon's film tantalized me with its quick wit and irony, embedded in good visual imaginations. That is why I searched for a book to shed on some light on different creative drives (and popularity appeals) ...more
Mar 08, 2011 Kayleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kayleigh by: read for imaginative lit class
I've always been of the opinion that there's more to comics than meets the eye, and I feel like this book proves me right. Well-written and thought-provoking, it delves into the lives and minds of some of the most famous (and some not-so-famous) comic-book superheroes, exploring their backgrounds, motives, state of mind, and morals from multiple angles, and ultimately asking and answering the question: What makes someone a hero?

A fun read that puts an intellectual spin on a form of media common
Apr 10, 2008 Grayson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book looks at Superheroes as archetypes, and what roles they play in our collective consciousness as a culture. Superheroes are viewed as exaggerations of ourselves; mythical Gods that we aspire to be like. Morris shows that by understanding the psychology of Superheroes (archetypes), we better understand ourselves and our attempts to better ourselves. Although I am biased, his insight into the psyche of Superman was truly astounding. This is a fun and insightful read that leaves you feelin ...more
Mia DeStefano
May 30, 2016 Mia DeStefano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an insightful view into not only comic philosophy, but the philosophy of the world. I learned a lot while reading this book, and it was a very interesting read. It took me a while to get through because it was incredibly dense, but I'm glad I read it. Some of the essays were repetitive (especially the essays on why superheroes use their powers for good), but nonetheless it was an amazing book. I would recommend it to anyone who loves comics and wants an introduction to philosophy.
Kevin Makice
Aug 20, 2007 Kevin Makice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: amateur philosophers
It isn't the best in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series (I can't wait until the Lost version comes out in a few years!), but it is a nice examination of philosophical concepts using the wealth of superhero history from film and comics as exemplars. Much of it went over the head of my 7-year-old, who insisted we read it together at night. It is very thought-provoking and great fodder for conversation.
Jan 14, 2008 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comic book nerds
Shelves: textbooks
I checked this book out for my class on antiheroes but found some of the essays (particularly the one by Jeph Loeb and Tom Morris) tend to talk down to the students. The book isn't all like that, though, and the section "Superheroes and Moral Duty" was actually really interesting. I ended up teaching excerpts from several chapters rather than entire essays.
Sean Wilson
I remember finding this in my public library when I was twelve or thirteen and snatching it greedily for myself. I don't remember much of the specific contents of the book, but I do recall waking up early before school to read it. So it was at least engaging.

I'd recommend it for any young people with an interest in philosophy and vigilante crime-fighting.
Emily May
Oct 28, 2014 Emily May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I very much enjoyed reading this book and the perspectives it brought about the superhero world. Certainly a great read for anyone who is interested in learning more about philosophy and how it relates to our awesome superheroes.
I like this whole series of books. The essays that I like best in this collection had to do with identity, and how we either reveal or hide ourselves from others. Other essays about how to choose the good, and the consequences of those choices were excellent.
Very fun book, most essays surprise in their depth. We get to see how superheroes are often about quite a bit more than first meets the eye. But there is one or two shockingly weak essays tendered here, particularly the one on the Fantastic Four.
Joseph Eddy
Feb 08, 2011 Joseph Eddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good as far as these things go. I'm giving four stars for entertainment value, but if you're even an armchair philosophy buff, many of these discussions will seem a bit stale, and some of them leave a lot to be desired.
Tim Gannon
So-So - some of the contributors weren't philosophers by training which carried over into their narrative - other texts in this series have been far better.
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Tom Morris has become one of the most active public philosophers in the world due to his unusual ability to bring the greatest wisdom of the past into the challenges of the present.

A native of Durham, North Carolina and a Distinguished Alumnus of Durham Academy, Tom was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, which has honored him, along with Michael Jordan, as a reci
More about Tom Morris...

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“The point of an exemplar is not that he or she is to be emulated, but that this person, in virtue of being farther along a path you aspire to go down, somehow understands you better than you understand yourself—at least at the beginning.” 0 likes
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