Ellie's Reviews > House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies

House and Philosophy by Henry Jacoby
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Oct 23, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy, non-fiction, drama, 2011ind-chal200bks
Read from October 13 to 23, 2011

House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies, edited by Henry Jacoby is a collection of essays in the series created by Bill Irwin of philosophical examinations of various popular, even iconic television shows or films. The series explores a range of shows from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the function of superheros in our culture to animated series like South Park. I find the use of popular culture to illuminate philosophical issues fascinating and, pop addict that I am, mesmerizing.

In House and Philosophy, the series (and character) House is examined through such lens as the (equally fictional & similarly named) Sherlock Holmes, Occam's Razor as a means of choosing which hypotheses to test and moral luck in weighing the outcome of an action-and the degree that luck may determine if an action was a) a minor mistake; b) a morally reprehensible act; or c) a catastrophically wrong decision and how the outcome is often determined by factors outside the moral agent's control.

My favorite line-and thought-so far in the book is, ne line that I do not want to forget: "House's approach is to destabilize the situation repeatedly until an original insight emerges." This is in the essay that examines House's methods from a Zen perspective and I personally am intrigued by the idea that House's rudeness results in shaking people out of their comfortable positions thereby facilitating the possibility of new ways of thinking and different outcomes.

Each of the essays offers small bits of tantalizing concepts to mull over. In my life, that seems to fit my cognitive bill. I long to think but have limited time available to do so to any deep level. House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies provides me with a conversational partner who challenges me to examine my old thought patterns and look at familiar ideas through a new prism.

And it does so by using a series with which I am very familiar, so that the examples are all available to tap into, and of great interest.

Sounds like a good strategy for teaching. And fun.
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Reading Progress

10/13/2011
28.0% "So far, just ok & not my favorite of the series. But it does keep my interest. Or maybe it Hugh Laurie!"
10/17/2011 page 68
26.0% "Suddenly, I'm pulled in. The other essays are exciting (to varying degrees-but all of interest). Especially the concept of moral luck."
10/17/2011 page 84
32.0% "love the Zen House. Obi Wan ka gregory: you are my only hope."
10/20/2011 page 125
48.0% "Lucked out & was able to take this out again. Am still obsessing over concept of "moral luck"-the book would be worth it if just for that (but there's much more)."
10/23/2011 page 125
48.0% "Many of the essays are excellent. I'm glad I read it-very thought-provoking!"
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (last edited Oct 20, 2011 08:20AM) (new) - added it

Nancy House is one of my favorite shows!


Ellie Me too!


message 3: by Jeannie (new) - added it

Jeannie I've never watched House, but after reading your review, I want to read this book. :)


Ellie There are some very interesting points in some of the essays; the concept of "moral luck" for example.

I think the book works, in parts, even without seeing the show but I'm not sure.

If you do read this, let me know.


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