Friday, November 30, 2012

[Book Review] Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture

Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop CultureSuperheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture by William Irwin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my 4th venture into the Pop Culture and Philosophy series. I've previously read Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test, X-Men and Philosophy: Astonishing Insight and Uncanny Argument in the Mutant X-Verse, and Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul.This book is a culmination of the best essays from various comic related books in the series.

A few of these I'd already read in the previously mentioned books, but there were quite a few that I hadn't read. These essays touch on things such modesty, forgiveness, justice--things you'd expect to read about in a philosophy book about superheroes. However, I did like that they also tried to touch on technology (The Stark Madness of Technology), happiness (Does Peter Parker Have A Good Life?), finding the balance between two extremes (The Blackest Night for Aristotle's Account of Emotions), and exceptionalism, specifically American exceptionalism (Is Superman an American Icon?).

Many of these essays started off rather "meh..." to me, leaving me wondering at first how this is considered the "best," but they quickly picked up. I think my personal favorite in the book is Captain America and the Virtue of Modesty followed closely by The Blackest Night for Aristotle's Account of Emotions. And while I think most of them did a fair job in stating their case, I could never really understand where one writer was going with The Stark Madness of Technology. But there is always at least on essay in these books that seems to just ramble along with no real destination in my opinion.

I would've liked to have seen an essay on the villains. I know this is about the heroes in comics, but you can't have your heroes without your villains. So, I was mildly disappointed that I didn't get at least a Joker essay in this.

One thing I love about this series is how the writers are able to make philosophy understandable for the layperson. Concepts and ideas that can boggle people are explained in easy to understand terms, breaking it down into the simplest examples and ideas, even if you're not into philosophy. No, this is not a perfect book and many things will still be a little beyond the grasp of some people, but I think they mostly do a very good job with making this series inclusive of philosophers and non-philosophers alike.

I was able to snag this in ebook format on Amazon they featured it as one of their free books deal, and as of this writing, it's still a free ebook. If you've read most of the comic related books in this series, this is skippable since it pulls from those sources. If you're looking to get your feet wet with this series, this is a decent place to start.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.

Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
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Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

Tiara's bookshelf: read

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Thirteen Reasons Why
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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The Phantom of the Opera
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