Interview: The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach

Aaron Meskin is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Leeds. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on aesthetics and other philosophical subjects. He was the first aesthetics editor for the online journal Philosophy Compass, and he co-edited Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007). He is a former Trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics and is Treasurer of the British Society of Aesthetics.

Roy T Cook is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, a Resident Fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and an Associate Fellow of the Northern Institute of Philosophy (Aberdeen). He works in the philosophy of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, and the aesthetics of popular art. He blogs about comics at:  www.pencilpanelpage.wordpress.com

Philosopher’s Eye: Why did you two decide to edit The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach?

AM: I thought there was enough good Buywork out there being done on comics that someone could produce a good book on the subject matter. I like to work collaboratively, so when I met Roy it seemed like a good idea to work together. I suppose there’s also a sort of selfish reason–philosophy is about conversation and I wanted more conversation (and more interlocutors) on a topic I care about.

RTC: Aaron was nice enough to ask me – someone with no prior professional experience in aesthetics – to comment on a three-paper session on comics at an aesthetics conference. The volume was conceived over coffee at the same conference, based on the positive response to the papers and resulting discussion.

PE: What’s the central concern of the book, and why is it important?

AM & RTC: The book focuses on the aesthetic issues that are raised by the art form of comics. It is not philosophy ‘in’ or ‘through’ comics–the basic idea is Continue reading “Interview: The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach”

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Interview: Accounting Ethics

Click to buyRon Duska

We recently had a chance to chat with Ronald Duska who recently retired from The American College.  Ron is currently an adjunct at the American College, as well as an adjunct at St. Joseph’s University, and principal of Duska Business Ethics Consulting. Along with Brenda Shay Duska (Del Pizzo & Associates, USA) and Julie Anne Ragatz (The American College Center for Ethics in Financial Services, USA), Ron is author of Accounting Ethics, recently published in a second edition. The book deals with, among other things, the recent financial crises, the nature of corruption and greed, and the responsibility that accountants should feel for the general public. Given the financial meltdown of 2008, and the new challenges to GAAP from IFERS and Mark to Market accounting, a new edition, that went beyond the concerns created by the Enron and Arthur Anderson collapse and the passage of Sarbanes/Oxley, of the early years of the millennium, seemed essential.

Philosopher’s Eye: Why did you decide to write Accounting Ethics?

Ron Duska: It was in response to a request of the series editors, particularly Michael Hoffman who, knowing my interest in business ethics and the fact that my wife was a CPA, thought it might be a project of interest to me.

PE: What’s the central concern of the book, and why is it important?

RD: The central concern of the book is to analyse what the societal purpose of accounting is Continue reading “Interview: Accounting Ethics”

Interview: Philosophy and Pop Culture

We hope you’ll enjoy this brief interview withWilliam Irwin, series editor of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series. In this brief interview, Bill tells us about his passion for getting new people into philosophy, and how the series aims to do that by illuminating traditional philosophical problems with examples from pop culture. The books draw on sources as diverse as Harry Potter, Inception, Game of Thrones, and more.

Philosopher’s Eye: Why did you decide to edit The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series?

I’m a huge fan of pop culture in its many forms including movies, TV, and music. Talking about these things has always been a way for me to connect with students in the classroom at King’s College, and it just seemed natural to bring these connections into book form.

What’s the central concern of the series, and why is it important?

The aim is to bring philosophy to people who might not otherwise encounter it, by bringing ancient wisdom and probing inquiry to bear on current movies and TV. Many people already think deeply about their favourite elements of pop culture, so these books give people the philosophical tools and terminology to think more deeply.

And what is it that draws you to this broad area?

I’m passionate about getting people interested in philosophy, and this is one way to do that. “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” as a famous British philosopher once said.

What sort of reaction do you hope the books will get?

So far the reaction has been very positive. Not a week goes by that I don’t get an e-mail from someone telling me how these books have made an impact on their life. More and more, I hear from philosophy majors who first became interested in philosophy by reading one of these books.

What sort of audience did you have in mind for these books?

The books are aimed at smart fans of smart pop culture, the kind of people who really like to discuss and dissect their favourite movies, shows, songs, and video games. They are intended for regular people, not professors :).

Is there another book or series you wish you could claim credit for?

I wish I had written Denis Dutton’s The Art Instinct and Jesse Bering’s The Belief Instinct, two incredibly insightful and elegantly written books. I really like Blackwell’s Big Questions Series. I’ve used the Aesthetics and Metaphysics books very successfully in courses. I’d like to see new volumes on Political Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy in the Big Questions Series.

What’s your current project? What’s next?

The series continues with books in the works on Inception, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, and others.

How can someone get in touch with you about an idea for a new volume in the series?

I’m always glad to hear from anyone who has an idea for a new book in the series, whether it’s a pop culture fan who would like to see a certain topic covered or a professor who has an idea for a book he or she would like to edit. Just e-mail me at williamirwin@kings.edu.


Schopenhauer – interview with the author

We recently sat down with Robert Wicks author of Schopenhauer. In this interview, Bob tells us about his abiding interest in this enigmatic and outcast figure, and along the way covers such diverse topics as Hinduism, Zen, Afghanistan and anchovy-and-onion pizzas. Enjoy!

Hi Bob. So, why did you decide to write Schopenhauer?

Well, I can’t say that I ever had the idea to write a book on Schopenhauer.  I’ve been teaching a class here in Auckland called “Schopenhauer and Nietzsche” for awhile now, and the book materialized by itself over time.  It just happened, really.  When I was putting the manuscript together, though, I did have an idea about who the ideal audience might be.  So this is who I wrote the book “for,” one could say.  It was for those who are on the edge, who live in the so-called “real world” Continue reading “Schopenhauer – interview with the author”

Philosophy Through Film – Interview with the authors

Richard FumertonDiane JeskeWe recently sat down with Richard Fumerton and Diane Jeske (University of Iowa), the editors of Introducing Philosophy Through Film: Key Texts, Discussion, and Film Selections. In this brief interview, they tell us how the book is different from other introductory texts in its class, and about the great reaction the book is already getting in teaching situations.

 

Philosopher’s Eye: Why did you decide to write Introducing Philosophy Through Film?

We discovered over the past several years that we were very often talking about movies in our classes to illustrate more vividly some of the thought experiments that are such an important part of so much of analytic philosophy.  We noticed that students immediately seem to become more engaged as soon as they could relate the philosophical reading to something that they are already used to talking about in more informal contexts with their friends

What’s the central concern of the book, and why is it important?

The book contains readings that give students a really sound introduction to most of the main areas of contemporary philosophy.  It differs from standard introductory texts by pairing those readings with philosophically interesting Continue reading “Philosophy Through Film – Interview with the authors”

Interview: Cycling and Philosophy

Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza
Mike Austin
Mike Austin
Click to buy

We recently caught up with Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza and Michael W. Austin, the editors of Cycling – Philosophy for Everyone, released last year. We caught up with them recently and asked them a few questions about their editorial approach, and sound out why cycling is surprisingly complex and philosophically rich.

Why did you decide to edit a book on cycling and philosophy?

A colleague wrote that Ilundáin had found his calling with this project. But he’d rather say the book and the calling found him serendipitously when he saw the series editor Fritz Allhoff’s call for proposals.  Mike Austin was first to sprint for it and get the nod, but graciously offered to edit this as a tandem. It made sense because our combined experience meant we would steer the project in the right direction (and we think it has covered philosophically fascinating terrain).

What are some of the central concerns of the book, and why are they important?

One of our main goals was to capture the experiential and philosophical richness that cycling embodies. It is a seemingly simple activity that offers a surprisingly complex nature when examined philosophically. Another concern was to use the appeal of cycling—cyclists are a very passionate group of people—to stimulate philosophical and intellectual thinking in a way that was fun yet rigorous. As Plato said, we never learn Continue reading “Interview: Cycling and Philosophy”

Christmas and Philosophy

Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone: Better Than a Lump of CoalWe recently caught up with Scott C. Lowe, professor and chair in the Philosophy Department at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and editor of Christmas – Philosophy for Everyone: Better Than a Lump of Coal. He is also the author of “Ebenezer Scrooge – Man of Principle” which appeared in Think magazine in 2009. His philosophical interests are in political and legal philosophy. He hopes his students think of him as the reformed Scrooge at the end of the story, not the hard hearted Scrooge who meets the ghost of Jacob Marley.

PE: Why did you decide to edit a book on Christmas and philosophy?

SCL: It started with an article I published on Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s a great example of the role of character in morality which is a hot debate in ethics these days. From there it struck me that there are a lot of interesting questions about Christmas that philosophers might have something to say about. Continue reading “Christmas and Philosophy”