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Soccer and Philosophy

Author: Ted Richards
Publisher: Open Court Publishing
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This collection of incisive articles gives a leading team of international philosophers a free kick toward exploring the complex and often hidden contours of the world of soccer. What does it really mean to be a fan (and why should we count Aristotle as one)? Why do great players such as Cristiano Ronaldo count as great artists (up there alongside Picasso, one author argues)? From the ethics of refereeing to the metaphysics of bent (like Beckham) space-time, this book shows soccer fans and philosophy buffs alike new ways to appreciate and understand the world's favorite sport.


The World through Soccer

Author: Tamir Bar-On
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
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This book uses soccer to provide insights into worldwide politics, religion, business, ethics, leadership, childhood, philosophy, and art. It examines the way soccer influences and reflects these aspects of society, and vice versa. Each chapter includes a selection of players that represent the current lesson, providing the reader with specific examples of how soccer replicates and informs our lives.


American Soccer

Author: Gregory G. Reck
Publisher: McFarland
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This narrative of U.S. soccer’s history and present-day status addresses the issues of socioeconomics. Emphasizing the differences between social classes in U.S. soccer past and present, as well as those between American soccer and international football, this work analyzes the role of class in American soccer’s failure to carve out a more prominent place in the sports landscape. Contemporary soccer is explored from its beginnings in informal Parks and Recreation leagues to the development of formal club programs, and university, professional, and U.S. national teams. In recent decades, Hispanic leagues formed primarily by Mexican and Central American immigrants have reinforced the theme of a class-based, exclusionary space in U.S. soccer. A personal perspective based on the authors’ experience coaching soccer at the informal level broadens the book’s appeal.


Psych and Philosophy

Author: Robert Arp
Publisher: Open Court
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“I’m getting something,” says Shawn, assuming a look of intense concentration and pressing his fingertips to the sides of his head. Shawn Spencer uses lies, pretense, and distraction to get at the truth. But can pseudoscience and fakery really be so helpful? And if they can be, is it ethical to employ them? Psych and Philosophy takes an entertaining tour through the philosophical issues raised by a fake psychic. Can faulty logic get to the truth quicker than good logic? Are other people to blame for Shawn’s deceptions, because they’re more ready to credit him with supernatural powers than with superior natural powers? Is instinct more important than smart thinking—in police work and in life? Is it ethical to tell lies to promote the truth (and protect the public from criminals)? Almost every episode of Psych revolves around a grisly death, treated humorously by the repartee between Shawn and Gus. The show has much to tell us about human ways of coping with death, as well as about the problem of justified knowledge, the ethics of law enforcement, and the interaction of love, friendship, loyalty, and professionalism.


Ender s Game and Philosophy

Author: D. E. Wittkower
Publisher: Open Court
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Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card’s award-winning 1985 novel, has been discovered and rediscovered by generations of science fiction fans and young adult readers, banned and challenged in schools, assigned in high school English classes, and adopted as reading by the US Marine Corps. Ender's Game and its sequels explores rich themes—the violence and cruelty of children, the role of empathy in war, and the balance of individual dignity and the social good—with compelling elements of a coming-of-age story and exciting and immersive battle scenes. Ender’s Game and Philosophy brings together over thirty philosophers to engage in wide-ranging discussion on the troubling, exciting, and fascinating issues raised in and amidst the excitement and fear of Orson Scott Card’s novels and Gavin Hood’s film. Authors address issues such as: the justifiability of pre-emptive strikes, how Ender’s disconnected and dispassionate violence is mirrored in today’s drone warfare, whether the end of saving the species can justify the most brutal means, the justifiability of lies and deception in wartimes, how military schools produce training in virtue, how Ender as the “good student” is held to a different educational standard, which rules can be broken in games and which cannot, Ender’s world as a mirror of our own surveillance society, the moral hazards of child warriors, the value of Ender’s ability to sympathize with his enemies, the meaning of a “hive-mind,” the limits of our ability to relate to one, the relationship between Ender’s story and Card’s Mormonism. The authors of Ender’s Game and Philosophy challenge readers to confront and work through the conceptual and emotional challenges that Ender’s Game presents, bringing a new light on the idea of a just war, the virtues of the soldier, the nature of childhood, the social value and moral corruption of lies and deception, the practices of education and of leadership, and the serious work of playing games.


SpongeBob SquarePants and Philosophy

Author: Joseph J. Foy
Publisher: Open Court
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SpongeBob SquarePants and Philosophy introduces fans of SpongeBob SquarePants to some of the great thinkers and questions in philosophy. The essays can be shared by young and old alike, kindling new interest in philosophy and life’s big questions. What keeps SpongeBob “reeling in” major audiences on a daily basis is that underneath the lighthearted and whimsical exterior are the seeds of philosophical discussions about identity and the self, our obligations toward others, benefits and tensions of the individual in community, principles of the marketplace and environmental ethics, and questions of just how exactly Jack Kahuna Laguna can build a fire at the bottom of the ocean. (Okay, so perhaps we don’t have an answer for that last one, but maybe if you look into that fire long enough the answer will be revealed.) The book begins with a section exploration of the major characters of the series. For instance, chapter 1 uses the philosophies of Aristotle to demonstrate why SpongeBob, more than any other character in the series, is defined by a life of well-being and flourishing. Chapter two provides an assessment of SpongeBob’s best friend, Patrick Star.


Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy

Author: Richard Greene
Publisher: Open Court
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From Machiavellian city officials to big time mobsters (such as Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, and Al Capone) to corrupt beat cops to overzealous G-men to suffragettes to abolitionists to innocent citizens caught in the crossfire, Boardwalk Empire is replete with philosophically compelling characters who find themselves in philosophically interesting situations. As Boardwalk Empire is based on historical events, political figures and mobsters, the philosophical issues raised bear on “real life” in the way the few fictional television shows and movies do. We see parallels with the events in Boardwalk Empire and contemporary political events, and between the characters in Boardwalk Empire (good, bad, and ambiguous) and contemporary figures. It is one of the most popular HBO television shows ever and its popularity is on the rise. In this volume, twenty philosophers address issues in political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, feminism, and metaphysics. Gregory Littman analyzes Nucky Thomson as a Machiavellian Prince. In contrast, Richard Greene casts Thomson in the role of a Nietzschean superman. Michael Da Silva looks at the complex relationship between Nucky and Jimmy (Nucky’s young protégé). Jimmy feels resentment towards Nucky for the role he played in bringing together Jimmy’s father and his very young mother. Is this resentment justified given that Jimmy would never have come into existence had his parents not met? Is there a moral difference between the harm that Nucky allowed to happen and the direct harm caused by Jimmy’s father? Don Fallis considers the ethics of lying in the seedy world of bootlegging. Agent Van Allen’s unique religious attitudes bring a warped sense of morality to the Boardwalk universe. Roberto Sirvent brings to light the moral character of Van Alden’s God. Thomson advises to “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Rod Carveth explores the role that storytelling pays in the series and Cam Cobb illustrates the role of deception. Pat Brace and Maria Kingsbury address “Outsiders, Alcohol and All That Jazz”—the aesthetics of Boardwalk Empire and the prohibition era. Margaret Schroeder is used as a vehicle for the female voice of the era. Rachel Robison-Greene discusses the role that gender plays in the direction of the series. Ron Hirschbein lends a Freudian Analysis. This book is directed at thoughtful fans of Boardwalk Empire. It’s the only book to address the popular show from a thoughtful yet instantly readable perspective.


The Wire and Philosophy

Author: David Bzdak
Publisher: Open Court
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By many accounts, HBO’s The Wire was and remains the greatest and most important television drama of all time. Conceived by writers David Simon and ex-Baltimore homicide detective Ed Burns, this five-season, sixty-episode tour de force has raised the bar for compelling, intelligent television production. With each season addressing a different arena of life in the city of Baltimore, and each season’s narratives tapping into those from previous seasons, The Wire was able to reveal the overlapping, criss-crossing, and colliding realities that shape—if not control—the people, institutions, and culture of the modern American city. The Wire and Philosophy celebrates this show’s realism as well as its intellectual and philosophical clarity. Selected philosophers who are fans of The Wire tap into these conflicts and interconnections to expose the underlying philosophical issues and assumptions and pursue questions, such as, Can cops really tell whether they are smarter than their perps? Or do they fall victim to intellectual vanity? Do individuals really have free will to resist the temptations—of gangs, of drugs, or corruption—that surround them? Is David Simon a modern-day Marx who sees capitalism leading ultimately to its own collapse, or is Baltimore’s story uniquely its own?


The Good Wife and Philosophy

Author: Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray
Publisher: Open Court
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In The Good Wife and Philosophy, fifteen philosophers look at the deeper issues raised by this stirring TV drama. The Good Wife gives us courtroom battles in the tradition of Perry Mason, with the added dimension of a political intrigue and a tormented personal story. We witness the interplay between common morality and legal correctness; sometimes following one violates the other. Lawyers operate within the law and within legal ethics, yet routinely do harmful things in pursuit of their clients’ interests. The adversarial system leads to such strategies as stringing out a case to exhaust the other side’s resources and bringing suits ostensibly because of wrongdoing by defendants but really to curtail the defendants as a competitive threat to some important client’s interest. The idea for The Good Wife came from the recurring news drama of wives standing by their husbands when scandal breaks: the wives of Bill Clinton, Elliott Spitzer, and John Edwards. Often these politicians’ spouses are themselves lawyers who have had to cope with the gray areas of legal battles and maneuvering. Following her husband’s disgrace and imprisonment, Alicia Florrick has to return to the law, which she abandoned for the sake of being a full-time wife and mother.


Planet of the Apes and Philosophy

Author: John Huss
Publisher: Open Court
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What makes humans different from other animals, what humans are entitled to do to other species, whether time travel is possible, what limits should be placed on science and technology, the morality and practicality of genetic engineering—these are just some of the philosophical problems raised by Planet of the Apes. Planet of the Apes and Philosophy looks at all the deeper issues involved in the Planet of the Apes stories. It covers the entire franchise, from Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel Monkey Planet to the successful 2012 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The chapters reflect diverse points of view, philosophical, religious, and scientific. The ethical relations of humans with animals are explored in several chapters, with entertaining and incisive observations on animal intelligence, animal rights, and human-animal interaction. Genetic engineering is changing humans, animals, and plants, raising new questions about the morality of such interventions. The scientific recognition that humans and chimps share 99 percent of their genes makes a future in which non-human animals acquire greater importance a distinct possibility. Planet of the Apes is the most resonant of all scientific apocalypse myths.