Philosophy and popular culture

William Irwin, series editor of the Philosophy and Pop Culture books, has recently published a defence of the books that seek to discuss philosophical issues in an accessible way though an examination of works of popular culture. The series spans a number of different popular culture categories such as TV shows, movies and music. Titles include: The Matrix and Philosophy, Star Wars and Philosophy and The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy. Irwin argues that his series shows how philosophy can be made relevant to ordinary life. In addition the series offers an accessible introduction to philosophical ideas that may not otherwise find their way to a mainstream audience. Irwin claims that philosophy should be popularised and qualified individuals should be responsible for this popularisation rather than amateurs. Continue reading “Philosophy and popular culture”

In Defence of Lost Causes?

401px-University_of_Warwick_flag_2007Warwick University announces the creation of a new post in the Philosophy department: ‘Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy’. The role will be taken up by Angela Hobbs, and will involve her ‘bringing Philosophy to as wide an audience as possible both domestically and internationally’. As Mark Vernon notes, this parallels Richard Dawkins position with regard to Science at Oxford. Obviously any attempt to make Philosophy engage with the world/society in general, and to make the world/society engage with Philosophy, is a good thing. However, if the following comment on Vernon’s article by ‘smellthecoffee’ is anything to go by, Hobbs has her work cut out:

‘There are two types of philosophers
1. The bullshit peddlers: academics from universities who have no real experience of life outside their hallowed halls and dining rooms, but can quote a million words and call it debate.
2. Academics from the university of life: (except the above) from dishwashers to billionaires whose philosophy comes from personal experience.’

Good luck to her.

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The Open Borders Debate on Immigration
By Shelley Wilcox , San Francisco State University
(Vol. 4, September 2009)
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Recent Work on Cinema as Philosophy
By Paisley Livingston , Lingnan University
(Vol. 3, June 2008)
Philosophy Compass

Antichrist morality

447px-LarsVonTrier
Lars von Trier

A recent article by Christopher Hart in the Mail has criticised Danish director Lars von Trier’s latest film Antichrist as ‘stomach-turning’, ‘revolting’, and ‘sick pretentious filth’. This is the latest in a series of outraged reactions to the film, following alleged fainting at the premiere in Cannes and a lawsuit by Christian organisations in France. Von Trier response did little to calm matters, announcing that he was commanded by God to make the film and is the best director in the world. Whilst all this controversy makes for an entertaining spectacle, and has been nothing but publicity for the film, it also serves to highlight a specifically philosophical issue: the close tie between art and morality. Continue reading “Antichrist morality”