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

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  3,646 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Harry Potter has put a spell on millions of readers, and they all want to find out more about the deeper meaning of his adventures. In Harry Potter and Philosophy, 17 experts in the field of philosophy unlock some of Hogwarts' secret panels, uncovering surprising insights that are enlightening both for wizards and for the most discerning muggles. Individual chapters look a...more
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Published October 1st 2004 by Open Court Publishing Company (first published September 10th 2004)
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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
Tatiana
Oct 30, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Andrea
Jun 19, 2007 Andrea rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
Yura
http://incompletetales.tumblr.com/pos...

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...more
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.
Sara
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.
Kelsey
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...more
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...more
Paula
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...more
Mattie
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
Olivia
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
Jeff
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
Jessica
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
Sidra
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
Elle
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
Jaime
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
Kelly
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)
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.
Alina
Feb 10, 2008 Alina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.)
Jenn
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.
Chrisanne
This is a really fun read. I actually ended up using it in a research paper for my English 102 class to show that the Harry Potter series could be taught on the college level as literature and not just a pop culture phenomenon. The insight in this book really shows that there is more to the series than just wizards and dragons.
Tiffany
Another wonderful book in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series. I wavered between giving it 3 and 4 stars, but decided that since some of the essays aren't quite as in-depth and engaging as some of the essays in other volumes of the series, I'd only give it 3 stars. If I could, it would be a 3.5-star book.
Suzanne Macartney
So fun. Written by actual philosophers. Answers perplexing questions like: Was Buckbeak executed and then not executed? Why not stare at the Mirror of Erised? Were Harry and Ron right to ignore S.P.E.W.? Authors are quite faithful to the original text and are sincere but without taking it all so seriously.
Scott
Mar 27, 2007 Scott rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: moderately intelligent Potter freaks
Some of the essays in this collection are better than others. A couple were fairly simplistic. The Ravenclaw section was pretty good... all about metaphysics. Despite the inconsistent quality, it's a fun and rather easy read if you're a big (really big) fan of the book series.
Anne-Marie
This book was pretty interesting but there were some really boring topics that I just glazed over. For example, the first one is all about the five different steps you can take to become a courageous person like Harry potter. It was nearly ten pages longgg and SOOO boring
Adam Birt
These essays are hit and miss. Some wander, failing to come together, and never saying anything substantial. You're left wondering how some of these "philosophers" got advanced degrees.

But the series gets mad props for its Socratic approach to teaching philosophy.
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