Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts” as Want to Read:
Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts (Popular Culture and Philosophy #9)

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  6,347 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In Harry Potter and Philosophy, seventeen philosophical experts unlock some of Hogwarts' secret panels, and uncover surprising insights that are enlightening both for wizards and the most discerning muggles.
Paperback, 250 pages
Published September 10th 2004 by Open Court
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Harry Potter and Philosophy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Harry Potter and Philosophy

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Best Books About Harry Potter
25th out of 88 books — 221 voters
The Ultimate Lost and Philosophy by Sharon M. KayeHarry Potter and Philosophy by David BaggettPink Floyd and Philosophy by George A. ReischPhilip K. Dick and Philosophy by D.E. WittkowerDr. Seuss and Philosophy by Jacob M. Held
Philosophy and Pop culture
2nd out of 60 books — 12 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mikella Etchegoyen
My Dad commented, when he saw I was reading this, that people are looking too far into something as simple as a children's story about wizards. To me, Harry Potter is much more than that but in a way, my argument is not that he is wrong but that he saw this book as something different than it was. I do not see this book as an examination on the deeper meaning of Harry Potter (which in my opinion is a legitimate study that could be made) but rather an examination of Philosophy using aspects of Ha ...more
Oct 30, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: HP fans & philosophy of pop culture fans
Shelves: media-tie-in
I read this back in my Harry Potter Days. This was years ago when I was obsessed with the series, couldn’t get enough of the books and movies, visited Mugglenet daily (even met Emerson Spartz), joined a weekly discussion group at the local bookstore, dressed up for a midnight release party, etc. Thank goodness that’s the past!!

That being said, I’m addicted to the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series. I’ve read most of the one on baseball, among others, and I own the new one for the Twilight sa
Christine H
I first came across this book when I was doing research for my Witchcraft and Magic in Religion course. I was excited about the philosophical approaches to be encountered in this collection of essays. Overall, though, I was a bit disappointed. Halfway through the book, I realized that the essays were more to be skimmed rather than embraced. While there were shining moments in most of the essays (an occasional interesting take on a relationship in the HP series or analogies that drew together unl ...more
Jun 19, 2007 Andrea rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Harry Potter fans
The essays were thought-provoking without being pretentious or obscure, and you could tell they were written by people who enjoy both Harry Potter and philosophy. In addition, I felt like I actually learned some things about classic philosophers as they compared their ideas to scenarios in the Harry Potter books.
Anna Cain
Such a disappointment... especially when my expectations were so high. Just look at that title. "Harry Potter and Philosophy." It would take you days of focus group discussion to come up with a book I would rather buy.

I've actually read two others volumes of the Blackwell Pop Culture and Philosophy Series: Lost and the Office. HP appears to be one of the earlier series installments- I suspect the editors were still experimenting.

To make my point simply:

Sample essay in "The Office and Philosophy
Petra Sýkorová
Nejspíš neexistuje mnoho lidí, kteří nikdy neslyšeli o kouzelnické knižní sérii Harry Potter. J.K.Rowling se stala slavnou nejen díky svým oblíbeným knihám, ale také díky jejich filmovému zpracování. V současné době je až legrační, že prvního dílu Harryho se v počátcích vytisklo jen 500 výtisků. Kniha čtenáře však nadchla natolik, že se v první vlně prodalo 700 000 kusů. Celé série získala řadu ocenění a ve světě se jí prodalo více než 400 milionů kopií. Sama Rowling dostala od královny Alžběty ...more

No, don’t let the first few words excite you. This is not a new Harry Potter book. I know, let all the excitement just deflates away. Now judging from the summary, you probably think “Wow this must be a great insight and deep analysis on the world of Harry Potter.” Mind you, the last 2 books haven’t been published yet. But even aside from that, this book only touches on the selected topics. The “essay” style is probably not a great choice because they’re a
Amanda Morris
Not a bad book at all, especially for the huge discounted price I got it for. If you like Harry Potter and/or if you like theories in philosophy, this is a great book to read to merge those topics together. There are various authors writing this book and they all do a great job of taking a philosophical topic, explaining it and then applying that to examples within the Harry Potter series, but only through Order of the Phoenix. It's a very interesting read, especially for huge Harry Potter fans.
It sounds like it should be a fun book...but it isn't. Most of the articles are either inconsequential or crap. Most are inconsequential crap.
A book like this -- in the line of the similarly engaging The Simpsons and Philosophy and The Matrix and Philosophy -- is clearly earning laurels when its reader's main complaint is that it doesn't cover all seven of the Potter books. Not only did I want to see the last two novels (published after this volume came out, in 2004) incorporated into its essayists' analysis but I also was seeing that doing so would clearly work. The intellectual imagination thus obviously kindled, the reader has litt ...more
Let me start by saying that I don't really know anything about philosophy, but I know a lot about Harry Potter. I thought these essays did a nice job of explaining basic ideas of philosophy and relating them to the Harry Potter series. I rarely felt lost or confused when reading the essays.

The book is divided into four sections of four essays each; each section is named after a Hogwarts House and the essays therein are themed accordingly.

It's a little disappointing that, because the book was pub
Mike Smith
Another book in a series that uses pop culture to spark discussion of philosophical ideas and subjects (see my reviews of Lost and Philosophy and Monty Python and Philosophy). This one focuses on the Harry Potter books, up to Order of the Phoenix (the last two Potter books had not been published when this book was).

I found this book a little easier to follow than the others in the series I'd read. This is partly because the Potter books are aimed at teen readers, so the philosophers who contribu
Clearly this book is intended to be read by an audience that may or may not be familiar with philosophical principles but is a fan of the Harry Potter series. What this book does is use those Harry Potter books as a way in which to explain certain philosophical concepts by using explanations from the HP series. The essays included (there are a total of sixteen) may not always be deep, detailed philosophical discussions, but all of them, to varying degrees of success, are thought-provoking.

Some o
Another installment in the "[insert pop culture icon:] and Philosophy" series, this is a compilation of essays on philosophy, examined through analysis of and as exemplified by the Harry Potter series. Of the three books in this series I've read this one has been the strongest. I'm not sure if that's the luck of the draw, or because the focus of the other two I read (Monty Python & The Simpsons) were satire and Harry Potter isn't. The essays are sorted into the sections reflecting the four h ...more
C.S. Lewis once said, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." And so, the Harry Potter series not only contains good children's stories, but also great lessons and assessments of life. The authors and editors of this book (huge HP fans themselves)flesh out the extraordinary acts and ordinary truths within the series, revealing wisdom and inspiration equated with Aristotle and Kant's philosophies. The virtue of ambition, the neces ...more
50/50 there were some chapters I enjoyed and others I just skipped over. It starts off easy enough, and the end is worth getting to, but I didn't learn/discover very many new things about the Harry Potter series (which was my hope).
Like any collection of essays, this one had its ups and downs. Some were very dry and textbook-like, some were informative and fun, and some were both funny and mind-numbing. Not a bad read for a Potter fan and a nice way to extend your knowledge on philosophy. The chapters on feminism in the world of HP and the pretty much the whole "Slytherin" section were very enjoyable. My biggest criticism is that they should have pumped the breaks and waited to put it out until after "Deathly Hallows" inst ...more
A very thorough analysis of both good and evil aspects shown in Harry Potter series. I am amused how the parts of the book was divided into four houses. I enjoyed reading this book.
A great collection of essays addressing such topics as whether the Slytherins have a place at Hogwarts, why we should abide by Dumbledore's warning about the Mirror of Erised, how prophecy relates to life and free will, and much more. As in every collection, there were a few duds, and again, I wish this series had a better fact checker (Harry DID NOT blow up Aunt Marge in Chamber of Secrets, nor are they Bernie Botts' Beans), because small errors like this cheapen the overall point being made by ...more
Not anywhere as interesting as the premise would have to you think it should be. Amusingly all of the very interesting discussions were in the very back portion which was labeled Ravenclaw. I think the book and the essays suffer from having been written after Order of the Phoenix came out and not after the Deathly Hallows. Some of the premises about what certain things mean in the context of the wizarding world and the story are rendered incorrect by the last two books in the series. It's an int ...more
This is a funny and very satisfying read. I learned a lot more about Aristotle and his ideas (and philosophy), and loved the excellent insight on the books. It was very inspiring about morals and virtues and I found myself reading aloud quotes to my family as I read. This book was published before the last two Harry Potter books came out, so they only really talk about the first five, but they got a lot of things right. Even if you haven't read any of the Harry Potter series, I think that you wo ...more
Another excellent book in the "Popular Culture and Philosophy" series. The essays on Hermione and SPEW are particularly good, as well as the ones on Voldemort and the immorality of killing, etc. The authors have obviously read the Harry Potter series, and reference the books in their essays. The popular culture and philosophy series brings philosophy to the layman; it has an academic flavor without being overly dry and boring. This is something different for the adult fans of Harry Potter. Highl ...more
Fuchsia Rascal
As far as philosophy goes, this isn't one that's likely to be taught in upper level college courses, but it's still interesting and entertaining. A lot of the topics are ones I had thought about in the series, but not to the extent that they go into. Of course, it just reinforces J.K. Rowling's philosophical intents with the series, unlike the other books where (it appears) they pull arguments out of nothing. JKR wrote these books with these issues in mind, but it's still nice to see them clearl ...more
I thought it would have been more informative if they had waited to gather essays after the seventh book was published, rather than publishing it during the middle of the series. There were many times I thought to myself "I wonder if the author would feel differently if they had read book seven/six". The last two books present some very interesting perspectives and ideas to the fandom and I would have like to seen other's thoughts on them.
April (The Steadfast Reader)
Feb 06, 2010 April (The Steadfast Reader) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Harry Potter Fans
A compilation of (mostly) fascinating essays that explore what we can philosophically glean from the Harry Potter series. It's a bit dated (copyright 2004) so it was published before the series was finished. Some of my favorites were 'Feminism and Equal Opportunity: Hermione and the Women of Hogwarts', 'Magic, Muggles, and Moral Imagination', and 'Finding the Platform 9 3/4: The Idea of a Different Reality', among others.
First 10%, wonderful. Last 10%, okay. Everything in the middle except the Oz/Narnia part is just so-so.
Feb 10, 2008 Alina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Harry Potter and/or philosophy lovers
Soooo, I received this book years ago and never got around to it. Found it the other day, picked it up, and loved it! It pretty much takes traditional philosophical arguments/ideas and uses examples of Harry Potter to supplement the chapters. Very fun and a great way to substitute mini philosophy lessons for someone who is no longer in school (and has read the HP series.)
This is not a novel, rather a collection of essays. That should be known to anyone before reading it. It is also necessary to have some back ground in philosophy to enjoy this book. That being said it is fun to take a series loved by so many and look at how ancient themes and discussions have lasted so long and are still being found in our writing today.
Adam Ross
Most of the essays in this collection are not about Potter. Rather, they just use the books as a springboard into their assigned topic. But some of them are quite good, such as the ones on evil, friendship, and heaven and hell. They are less literary analysis and more philosophical, and so do not rely much on the texts or the details of the books.
More of a 2.5 actually
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful than You Can Possibly Imagine
  • Looking for God in Harry Potter
  • The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles
  • The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon
  • New Clues to Harry Potter Book 5: Hints from the Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter
  • The Wisdom of Harry Potter: What Our Favorite Hero Teaches Us About Moral Choices
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale
  • The Psychology of Harry Potter: An Unauthorized Examination Of The Boy Who Lived
  • Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays
  • From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy
  • Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World: An Unofficial Guide
  • Mapping the World of Harry Potter: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Explore the Bestselling Series of All Time
  • Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?: What Really Happened in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Six Expert Harry Potter Detectives Examine the Evidenc
  • Gospel According to Harry Potter: Spirituality in the Stories of the World's Most Famous Seeker
  •'s Harry Potter Should Have Died: Controversial Views from the #1 Fan Site
  • The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works
  • Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think!
  • Field Guide to Harry Potter

Other Books in the Series

Popular Culture and Philosophy (1 - 10 of 63 books)
  • Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing
  • The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer
  • The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale
  • The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All
  • Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking Outside the Batter's Box
  • The Sopranos and Philosophy: I Kill Therefore I Am
  • Woody Allen and Philosophy: [You Mean My Whole Fallacy Is Wrong?]
  • Mel Gibson's Passion and Philosophy: The Cross, the Questions, the Controverssy
  • More Matrix and Philosophy: Revolutions and Reloaded Decoded
Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality C. S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty Hitchcock and Philosophy: Dial M for Metaphysics Did the Resurrection Happen?: A Conversation with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew Tennis and Philosophy: What the Racket Is All about

Share This Book