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Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
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Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test (Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture #11)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  612 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Alan Moore's Watchmen is set in 1985 and chronicles the alternative history of the United States where the US edges dangerously closer to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Within this world exists a group of crime busters, who don elaborate costumes to conceal their identity and fight crime, and an intricate plot to kill and discredit these "superheroes." Alan Moore's Wat ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 16th 2009 by John Wiley & Sons (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Guillermo
Mar 08, 2009 Guillermo rated it really liked it
The topics range from what is good and evil, what is virtuous, homosexuality, feminism (which, by the way, was actually my favorite argument), political philosophy and the metaphysics of Dr. Manhattan. However, it would seem the two most popular characters these philosophers wrote about were Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) and Rorschach (the subtitle is, in fact, A Rorschach Test). It's understandable why these two characters are the most famous - if you break down the graphic novel, you'll see the wh ...more
Josh
Oct 22, 2012 Josh rated it liked it
First, I'll point out the obvious: If you haven't read Watchmen yet, go do it now. I'll wait... Seriously, go read it. At least see the movie or something.

Okay, now that you've had your mind sufficiently blown, you know what this book proclaims, Watchmen is not your father's comic book. In fact, it's not typical fiction. Gone are the annoyingly perfect hero and cartoonishly evil villain. The costumed vigilantes in Watchmen are set in a realistic (sort of) world. The realism is exemplified by the
...more
Ada
Sep 05, 2016 Ada rated it liked it
I liked the essays in Part I a lot, and Part II was okay, but Part III was unfortunately completely ruined by Robert Arp's blatantly homophobic essay. Sure, it's written as a defense of the "icky" homosexual lifestyle, but it's pretty evident that the person he's trying to convince is himself.

First of all, what does this guy's internal battle against his own prejudice have to do with Watchmen and philosophy? And whose brilliant idea was it to make a homophobe write an essay on homosexuality in t
...more
Joseph Young
Jun 25, 2016 Joseph Young rated it it was ok
A mix of essays by different authors, giving the compiled book an odd feel.

Much of the works focus on the archetypes that each of the characters fulfill, with regard to different philosophers' works. Several essays were particularly frustrating, particularly those that deigned to assume what the reader felt when reading passages. The essay on homosexuality is particularly embarrassing and dated, barely involving the gay Watchmen, but instead just advocating for acceptance. I particularly enjoyed
...more
Paul W.
Nov 22, 2011 Paul W. rated it liked it
This was a little too long and some of the philosophy seemed out of place. I enjoyed some parts of it but man was it a slog to get through.
Tiara
Jun 24, 2011 Tiara rated it liked it
This is my first venture into the Philosophy and Pop Culture series. I wasn't disappointed with most of what I'd read. I was a little hesitant to read this at first because I thought these essays might've been just slapped together to appeal to an audience, but it was much more than that.

The topics span a range of ideas in philosophical context including feminism, virtue, homosexuality. As with any book that has multiple writers, the essays themselves were hit or miss.I enjoyed most of the essa
...more
Josh McInnis
Feb 19, 2017 Josh McInnis rated it liked it
This book could have gone into so much more detail and a lot of questions discussed are indirectly answered.
Shannon
Dec 24, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it
Philosophy has always been difficult for me to fully understand and wrap my head around, and while that might be a part of philosophy (I've never met someone who studied the subject without delighting in wordy riddles and expansive anecdotes), I definitely like being able to get things. This book, by using popular culture and the intense depth of Watchmen, relates psychological and philosophical issues within the graphic novel to known philosophical theories. Subjects span the board, from homose ...more
Christopher Munroe
May 26, 2013 Christopher Munroe rated it it was amazing
...I am an absolute sucker for these things. Take a piece of pop-culture, use it as a segue into a series of extremely accessible philosophy essays teaching the basics to somebody who isn't familiar with the basic concepts behind the foremost thinkers of history. A simple idea, executed well, I tend to read the series at a rate of about one a year, as I stumble on volumes which use pieces of culture I'm personally connected with as their jumping-off point.

And Watchmen and... is an excellent exam
...more
Tom
Apr 05, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it
This is the first book of this series I have read and I found it quite enjoyable. By taking a well-recognized aspect of popular culture, the authors of the various essays explain how the graphic novel Watchmen can be used to understand different aspects of existentialism, feminism, homosexuality, the nature of heroism, and how a character who can see time as an endless loop might relate to the world around him. They even take the time to discuss whether or not comics can be literature. This book ...more
Loki
As usual with this series, the essays in this volume vary widely in quality and interest, and very few of them have an engaging prose style. Most of them take one or more characters as models to demonstrate the precepts of particular philosophies, although there is considerable disagreement among the writers as to who represents what (which is, to be honest, the most interesting thing about this book - its title is very accurate indeed).

Still, this book is better than most of its line-mates - pe
...more
Misarweth
Feb 05, 2010 Misarweth is currently reading it
Shelves: philosophie, essais
Découverte de la dégaine d'une partie de la philosophie anglo saxonne.
On y trouve de multiples articles/chapitres écrits par des spécialistes différents. Ouvrage collectif donc.
Pour la restauration et ou intégration de la pop culture comme réelle outil de compréhension et réflexion humaine.
Pourquoi pas?

La première partie sur Dr Manhattan et sa ou non morale est très intéressante (avec l'introduction à une idée que l'on a pas l'habitude de voir : les émotions comme moteur de notre moralité) e
...more
William Thomas
Dec 14, 2009 William Thomas rated it liked it
a very easy read, one that boils down kantian philosophy and morality in such a way as to relate it to each character in the book and explain it through their actions. while it wasn't what i would consider academic, which would have received 5 stars, it is a fair assessment on the philosophical level, especially when dealing with matters of morality (which Watchmen builds its entire story on, moral ambiguity). a quick read, so its worth a try, even if it is only 3 stars for having little academi ...more
The Thompson Foundation
Sep 27, 2009 The Thompson Foundation rated it really liked it
Interesting. A nice examination of the watchmen's reflection in the eyes of various philosophical approaches. The chapters are written by different authors, some better than others. The chapter on homosexuality was written by a guy who seemed to think that we cared more about his own reactions to homosexuality than what different philosophical schools had to say about the representation of homosexuality in the book.

Still, the book has some great chapters, and even if you're a huge Watchmen fan
...more
Steve
Feb 11, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it
A really great read overall. Had a lot of very insightful things to say about each of the characters.

The best essays were probably the first three Dr. Manhattan essays, which looked at his identity, his view of time, and what his perception of time says about free will.

The worst essay was the Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice one, which presents an antiquated point of view towards homosexuality and has little to do with Watchmen.

But it is definitely worth reading if you're a fan of the book
...more
Heliocentric
Mar 13, 2012 Heliocentric rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book, mainly because different people wrote it (some of whom were more capable writers than others). All the essays in the book had interesting perspectives on Watchmen, but I found some of them to be grasping at straws, trying to relate the tiniest spec of the graphic novel to philosophy, just so that they can talk about that philosophical topic in greater depth (and therefore digressing).
Katie
Mar 12, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
I didn't read every essay in here (it was from my uni library so I only had a limited time to read it) but what I read was interesting! I love reading more about Rorschach and Dr Manhattan so I chose their essays over others. I wish I got to read the one about The Silk Spectres and feminism, maybe I'll check it out again.
I know this is technically a DNF but I consider it read for the type of book that it is
Matt Harris
Oct 21, 2012 Matt Harris rated it liked it
An uneven collection of essays on Watchmen.. With greater philisophical knowledge I could rate this book more accurately, but I did learn while reading about Stoicism in relation to Dr Manhattan, and the Comedian as ironist, among others. The book treads the line between being knowingly fun, and illustrative. For me at times the winks were a bit heavy, it took a while to finish, but glad I persevered.
Jacob Van Houtan
Jun 28, 2014 Jacob Van Houtan rated it it was amazing
The only way to appreciate this astonishing book is to obviously read the graphic novel, but this book is just so darn good that you really can tell that some work was put into to it. Each paper is written so well that you know what they are taking about and why they were chosen for this book. It just enhances your perceptions of the graphic novel itself and I really enjoy that. Great book for any fan of Watchmen.
David
I feel a bit misleading listing this as read, but I did, so there you go.

I read the first essay before deciding I didn't want to read it right now. It seemed like there were some interesting topics, but after studying Watchmen in one class and one intensive inquiry, I guess I'm a bit burnt out on overthinking it.
Douglas Cosby
Jul 27, 2012 Douglas Cosby rated it liked it
There were some really good chapters in this book: the one on Nietzsche's Ubermensch was one of the best explanation's of him that I have ever read, and the one on Kierkegaard's theory of humor was excellent. However, the chapter on homosexuality was horrendous. I will try another one from this series -- I already bought House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies so will see how it goes.
Gator
Dec 29, 2015 Gator rated it liked it
First book of 2016, in preparations for re reading Watchmen. Twas educational, led me to discover new themes within my Favorite Graphic Novel and see it more clearly. Also led me to research a lot of other philosophy's. Overall a really good read and companion to reading Watchmen. Watchmen is much more then just a comic book.
Agoes
Buku ini berisi kumpulan esai filsafat yang berkaitan dengan komik Watchmen. Topik yang diangkat di bagian awal terasa cukup berbobot, meskipun saya merasa topik di bagian belakang buku ini kurang menarik (sehingga saya lebih banyak melakukan skimming saja). Kalau anda adalah penggemar berat Watchmen dan filsafat, buku ini merupakan bacaan yang menarik.
Mandy Wultsch
Mar 19, 2016 Mandy Wultsch rated it it was amazing
First, go read The Watchman, if it has been more than six months since you read it. You want it to be fresh in your mind, and it is good enough that there should be no problem rereading it again.

Now read this book. It uses situations in The Watchmen to teach philosophy. This is not an introductory level class, but one that expects you to keep up with its rapid pace. It is worth it.
Josh
Dec 20, 2015 Josh rated it it was ok
One of the worst of its type I've ever been subjected to. The articles examining Adrian Veidt as a Nietzschean overman, much like the baffling articles that do the same with the Joker, fail to show insight into either Nietzsche's or Moore's work.
Lucas Swanger
Jun 24, 2011 Lucas Swanger rated it liked it
A relatively fast, easy read. I wish some chapters went a little deeper as I was not familiar with some of the philosophers mentioned (Henri Bergson, for example), but that's pop philosophy for you, I guess. Mild recommendation.
Dhali
Mar 31, 2011 Dhali rated it did not like it
Interesting collection of essays but I found them very uneven with too much focus on Dr Manhattan and a truly execrable offering on the 'gay duo'. The most interesting essays were the ones on Rorschach and the Comedian. Worth dipping into if you're a fan but glad I didn't buy it.
Daniel
Jan 17, 2009 Daniel rated it liked it
This is the kind of book that you would really have to be a huge Watchmen fan in order to be able to enjoy. For everyone else, I suggest just seeing the movie when it comes out.
Jenni
Feb 10, 2011 Jenni rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone who is interested in the deeper meanings behind the characters and events in Watchmen. The articles are all intelligently written, but manages to avoid being scholarly or stuffy. Easily one of the best books in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series.
Craig Dove
Aug 29, 2012 Craig Dove rated it really liked it
I was hoping for a more in-depth exploration of the themes, but with the possible exception of the final essay this reads like an introductory supplement. That said, I think it does a good job making some of the connections and showing the limitations of, say, Kantian ethics.
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“Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not steered by vague, metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us.” 2 likes
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