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World of Warcraft and Philosophy

Author: Luke Cuddy
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
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World of Warcraft is the most popular ever MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game), with over twelve million subscribers and growing every day. WoW is everywhere - from episodes of South Park and The Simpsons, to online series like Watch the Guild, accolades and awards from game critics, prime-time commercials with William Shatner and Mr. T., and even criminal and civil courts in the real world. People marry and divorce individuals they have met in the game, realworld financial markets thrive in virtual WoW property, parents have their kids 'treated' for Warcraft addiction, and real-world lawsuits, vendettas, and murders have been provoked by the game. Since identities are known to be assumed, is it okay to totally misrepresent yourself in the game? Does the Corrupted Blood epidemic warn us of future public health catastrophes? How can it be wrong to steal something which doesn't exist or torture characters who don't feel pain? Is warfare really essential to the world of Warcraft? What can our own world learn from Azeroth's blend of primitivism and high-tech? A specially commissioned guild of philosophers tackle these and other hard questions in World of Warcraft and Philosophy. ''Finally, something Horde and Alliance alike can enjoy! Log off and curl up with World of Warcraft and Philosophy: you'll level up your Intellect for better boasting at your next guild party and cocktail party alike. ''


BioShock and Philosophy

Author: Luke Cuddy
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
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Considered a sign of the ‘coming of age’ of video gamesas an artistic medium, the award-winning BioShock franchise coversvast philosophical ground. BioShock and Philosophy: IrrationalGame, Rational Book presents expert reflections byphilosophers (and Bioshock connoisseurs) on this criticallyacclaimed and immersive fan-favorite. Reveals the philosophical questions raised through the artisticcomplexity, compelling characters and absorbing plots of thisground-breaking first-person shooter (FPS) Explores what BioShock teaches the gamer about gaming,and the aesthetics of video game storytelling Addresses a wide array of topics including Marxism, propaganda,human enhancement technologies, political decision-making, freewill, morality, feminism, transworld individuality, and vendingmachines in the dystopian society of Rapture Considers visionary game developer Ken Levine’s depictionof Ayn Rand’s philosophy, as well as the theories ofAristotle, de Beauvoir, Dewey, Leibniz, Marx, Plato, and othersfrom the Hall of Philosophical Heroes


The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy

Author: Gregory Bassham
Publisher: Open Court
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The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures of Aslan, the Pevensie children, and the rest of the colorful cast. Do the spectacular events in Narnia give readers a simplistic view of human choice and decision making? Does Aslan offer a solution to the problem of evil? What does the character of Susan tell readers about Lewis’s view of gender? How does Lewis address the Nietzschean “master morality” embraced by most of the villains of the Chronicles? With these and a wide range of other questions, this provocative book takes a fresh view of the world of Narnia and expands readers’ experience of it.


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.


The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy

Author: Gregory Bassham
Publisher: Open Court
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The Lord of the Rings is intended to be applicable to the real world of relationships, religion, pleasure, pain, and politics. Tolkien himself said that his grand tale of wizards, orcs, hobbits, and elves was aimed at truth and good morals in the actual world. Analysis of the popular appeal of The Lord of the Rings (on websites and elsewhere) shows that Tolkien fans are hungry for discussion of the urgent moral and cosmological issues arising out of this fantastic epic story. Can political power be wielded for good, or must it always corrupt? Does technology destroy the truly human? Is it morally wrong to give up hope? Can we find meaning in chance events? In The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, seventeen young philosophy professors, all of them ardent Tolkien fans and most of them contributors to the four earlier volumes in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series, address some of these important issues and show how clues to their solutions may be found in the imaginary world of Middle-earth. The book is divided into five sections, concerned with Power and the Ring, the Quest for Happiness, Good and Evil in Middle-earth, Time and Mortality, and the Relevance


Halo and Philosophy

Author: Luke Cuddy
Publisher: Open Court
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Since the Doom series, First Person Shooter (FPS) videogames have ricocheted through the gaming community, often reaching outside that community to the wider public. While critics primarily lampoon FPSs for their aggressiveness and on-screen violence, gamers see something else. Halo is one of the greatest, most successful FPSs ever to grace the world of gaming. Although Halo is a FPS, it has a science-fiction storyline that draws from previous award-winning science fiction literature. It employs a game mechanic that limits the amount of weapons a player can carry to two, and a multiplayer element that has spawned websites like Red vs. Blue and games within the game created by players themselves. Halo’s unique and extraordinary features raise serious questions. Are campers really doing anything wrong? Does Halo’s music match the experience of the gamer? Would Plato have used Halo to train citizens to live an ethical life? What sort of Artificial Intelligence exists in Halo and how is it used? Can the player’s experience of war tell us anything about actual war? Is there meaning to Master Chief’s rough existence? How does it affect the player’s ego if she identifies too strongly with an aggressive character like Master Chief? Is Halo really science fiction? Can Halo be used for enlightenment-oriented thinking in the Buddhist sense? Does Halo's weapon limitation actually contribute to the depth of the gameplay? When we willingly play Halo only to die again and again, are we engaging in some sort of self-injurious behavior? What is expansive gameplay and how can it be informed by the philosophy of Michel Foucault? In what way does Halo’s post-apocalyptic paradigm force gamers to see themselves as agents of divine deliverance? What can Red vs. Blue teach us about personal identity? These questions are tackled by writers who are both Halo cognoscenti and active philosophers, with a foreword by renowned Halo fiction author Fred Van Lente and an afterword by leading games scholar and artist Roger Ngim.


Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy

Author: Josef Steiff
Publisher: Open Court
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This entertaining collection of essays shows that Sherlock Holmes sees things others don’t. He sees the world in a different way, and by so doing, allows us to see that same world – and human behavior – in different ways as well. Oh, sure, there have been countless detectives who have followed in his footsteps and who seem to rival his abilities. Just turn on the TV or browse the local bookshop and you’ll find idiosyncratic super sleuths using forensics and reasoning to solve a whole host of crimes and misdeeds. And yet no one rivals our dear, dear Holmes. Why does Sherlock reign, even more than a century later, as king? Can this mystery be solved? Unable to reach either Holmes or Watson (or Doyle for that matter, though we’ve tried every medium we can think of), we’ve been forced to gather our own team of investigators to practice their powers of observation and perception, to apply their own reasoning and methodologies to the task at hand. The results, I fear, have led us to a number of cases that must be solved first. Is Holmes simply eccentric or a sociopath? Is he human or something from the holodeck? Is he as dangerous on the page as he is in person? Wait – does he even exist? For that matter, do you? (I fear several investigators have been forced to take a much needed holiday after wrestling with that one.) What is the source of his faculty of observation and facility for deduction? Systematic training as Watson surmises? Genetic? Or is he just really lucky? And is this whole logic thing compatible with emotions? Are Holmes and Watson good friends or soul mates? Just what is the nature of friendship? Do they complete each other or just get on each other’s nerves? And why all the secrecy? Disguises? Deceptions? The plot thickens. What is the essence of consciousness? Is the observable world subject to our intentions? Why does Holmes debunk mysticism when Doyle so readily embraces it? Why is Holmes our favorite drug user? Our notebooks are filled with clues and, dare I say, answers. Is there more than one way to define the concept, justice? Is hope necessary in the world? Is boredom? Play? Can any thing really be understood? Objectively? And just what is the last unresolved mystery involving Sherlock Holmes? The game that's afoot isn't just the thing being pursued but the fun to be had as well.


The Onion and Philosophy

Author: Sharon M. Kaye
Publisher: Open Court
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The Onion, with its unique brand of deadpan satirical humor, has become a familiar part of the American scene. The newspaper has a readership of over a million, and reaches millions more with its spin-off books and Onion News Network. The Onion has shown us that standard ways of thinking about the news have their grotesque and silly side, and this invites philosophical examination. Twenty-one philosophers were commissioned to provide witty philosophical perspectives on just what makes the Onion so truthful and insightful. Former Governor Sarah Palin reported: “I just couldn’t put it down. The Onion and Philosophy is the most exciting book I’ve read since Principia Mathematica.” Are the Onion writers truly cynical, or just cynically faking it? Does the Onion really have a serious point of view on religion? On sex? On politics? Who cares what Area Man thinks? If everyone’s so dumb, how come so many Onion readers keep on laughing at how dumb they are?


Transformers and Philosophy

Author: John R. Shook
Publisher: Open Court
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Transformers began with toys and a cartoon series in 1984 and has since grown to include comic books, movies, and video games — its science fiction story has reached an audience with a wide range second only to that of Star Wars. Here, in Transformers and Philosophy, a dream team of philosophers pursues the fascinating questions posed by humankind’s encounter with an artificially intelligent mechanical civilization: Is genuine artificial intelligence possible? Would a robotic civilization come with its own morality and artistic life, and would it find a need for romantic love? Should we be more careful about developing robots that may eventually develop ideas of their own? Transformers and Philosophy puts Transformers under a microscope and exposes its philosophical implications in an instantly readable way.


The Sopranos and Philosophy

Author: Richard Greene
Publisher: Open Court
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This collection of essays by philosophers who are also fans does a deep probe of the Sopranos, analyzing the adventures and personalities of Tony, Carmella, Livia, and the rest of television's most irresistible mafia family for their metaphysical, epistemological, value theory, eastern philosophical, and contemporary postmodern possibilities. No prior philosophical qualificationsor mob connections are required to enjoy these musings, which are presented with the same vibrancy and wit that have made the show such a hit.