Popular Culture and Philosophy

A blog for contributors and editors by Series Editor, George A. Reisch

Scott Adams and Philosophy, Deadline extended.

Posted on | November 13, 2017

Scott Adams and Philosophy
Edited by Dan Yim, Galen Foresman, and Robert Arp

Submit abstracts to: scottadamsphilosophy@gmail.com

“My hypothesis is that the political side that is out of power is the one that hallucinates the most—and needs to—in order to keep their worldview intact. For example, when President Obama was in office, I saw all kinds of hallucinations on the right about his intentions to destroy America from the inside because he ‘hates’ it. That was a mass hysteria. If President Obama wanted to destroy America, he failed miserably. We’re stronger than ever” (from “The Magical Thinking Opposition,” Scott Adams’s Blog, August 22, 2017, http://blog.dilbert.com/ ).

You wouldn’t expect a quotation like this to come from the likes of a guy who produced the comic strip, Dilbert, but satirists like Scott Adams are usually pretty sharp. So sharp, in fact, that a week after the first Republican debate in August of 2015 (where most everyone thought Trump had done himself in with his Rosie-O’Donnell reference in response to Megyn Kelly’s obviously loaded question about Trump’s misogynistic comments) Adams predicted: “he will be our next president” (“Clown Genius,” August 13, 2015). As the Trump campaign continued, Adams kept pace and blogged almost daily about Trump’s ability to hypnotize and persuade the American public. In October of 2017, Adams’s book will be published: Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter. Besides the impressive array of philosophical topics exhibited in Adams’s blog posts, there are the many topics that have been explored over the 28 years or so that Dilbert has been produced. This book seeks to explore many of Adams’s philosophical thoughts, ideas, and arguments.

  • By Nov. 27, 2017, send proposed abstracts of no more than 300 words to: scottadamsphilosophy@gmail.com
  • First drafts of accepted essays must be completed by January 8, 2018.
  • 3,000 to 3,500-word philosophy papers are written in a conversational style for a lay audience

Any relevant topic considered, but here are some possibilities to prompt your thinking:

– Logic and the use of persuasion
– Grandiose delusions, self-deception, self-efficacy, self-serving bias, and their usage in persuasion
– A description and assessment of Adams’s persuasion filter
– Adams’s understanding of hypnosis as a persuasive tool
– How to characterize stupidity
– Adams’s assessment of the everyday person’s procedure of rational justification for belief assessment
– Whether truth is over-rated.
– Might truth be a kind a grand project of chasing after windmills?
– Fake it until you make it: adaptive self-deception.
– Socrates, self-awareness, and the Dunning–Kruger effect
– Philosophy of humor
– The epistemic value of humor
– Can humor reveal the truth about reality in ways that formal arguments cannot?
– What is the philosophical usefulness of satire?
– Dilbert, and the nature and value of corporate bodies
– On Norm Solomon’s claim, “The Dilbert phenomenon accepts—and perversely eggs on—many negative aspects of corporate existence as unchangeable facets of human nature… Dilbert speaks to some very real work experiences while simultaneously eroding inclinations to fight for better working conditions.”
– Is the Peter Principle a real principle?
– Eudaimonia and the meaningfulness (or lack thereof) in vocation.
– What role does work or vocation play in the flourishing human life?
– Normative ethical systems and workplace behavior
– Four stages of competence and ultracrepidarianism in the workplace or other areas
– Characters of Dilbert comics as tropes of different philosophical theories of human nature
– Pessimism versus optimism about the human condition
– Nietzschean perspectives on life
– Sartrean existentialist perspectives on life
– Camus’ absurdist perspectives on life
– Kierkegaardian hope in the midst of absurdity
– God’s Debris, The Religion War, God, and panpsychism in philosophy of mind
– God’s Debris, The Religion War, self-deception, delusion, and religious belief
– God’s Debris, The Religion War, and the epistemology of religious extremism
– How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, happiness, and the good life

Submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to: scottadamsphilosophy@gmail .com

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy, Call for Abstracts

Posted on | November 10, 2017

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy

Editors: Alexander E. Hooke and Heather Rivera

Of the many venues in popular culture and philosophy, few present such a wide range of perplexities about human nature as The Twilight Zone. Its programs depict the human as idealist, pathetic, loyal, alienated, trusting, self-deluded, trusting, violated, among so many other attributes. The shows can be construed as thought experiments that reflect perennial themes and disputes in philosophy.

The Twilight Zone was a revolutionary moment in television culture. Among various rankings of the top 100 TV shows of all time, The Twilight Zone is the only one made in the 1950s/60s that ranks among the top ten. It has influenced a variety of directions in subsequent television production and creativity, including the current popular series Black Mirror.

Twilight Zone and Philosophy attempts to bring the insights and paradoxes of Rod Serling’s project to contemporary audiences through a variety of philosophical perspectives. If you are interested in this project, please send us a proposal/abstract of 300-400 words. Topics and writing should be accessible to a general humanities and undergraduate audience. Final essays be between 2,500 and 3,500 words (For accurate references to specific episodes, please check the definitive The Twilight Zone Companion, by Marc Zicree.)

Possible themes or titles:

  • Can loving a robot be true love?
  • Humor as Despair in Twilight Zone
  • Whether we know we are in the Fifth Dimension
  • Surprises in Time and Space
  • Fear and Trembling among the masses
  • A Machine calls my Name…Should I answer?
  • What’s wrong with humans being food for aliens?
  • Dreams or Realities—Testing the limits of our imaginations
  • Beauties, Beasts and Aesthetic Norms
  • Shattered Eyeglasses for a Misanthrope
  • Joy in Forgotten Places and Times
  • Reincarnations of Twilight Zone, from Night Gallery to Black Mirror
  • Alienation as a permanent human condition
  • The play and curse of reason
  • How deep is the pit of our fears, and how high the summit of our knowledge?

Send proposals/abstracts to Alex Hooke at ahooke@stevenson.edu and Heather Rivera at munkzilla@gmail.com.

Our tentative schedule:

January 15, 2018: Deadline for Abstract/Proposals
February 1: Notification of accepted abstracts
March 1: Deadline for first drafts
May 1: Submission of final drafts

Twin Peaks and Philosophy, Call for Abstracts

Posted on | June 8, 2017

Twin Peaks and Philosophy

Richard Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene, Editors

Abstracts are sought for a collection of philosophical essays related to the television series Twin Peaks (including the prequel cinematic release Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me). This volume will be published by Open Court Publishing (the publisher of The Simpsons and Philosophy, The Matrix and Philosophy, Dexter and Philosophy, The Walking Dead and Philosophy, Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy, and The Princess Bride and Philosophy, etc.) as part of their successful Popular Culture and Philosophy series. We are seeking abstracts, but anyone who has already written an unpublished paper on this topic may submit it in its entirety. Potential contributors may want to examine other volumes in the Open Court series.

Contributors are welcome to submit abstracts on any topic of philosophical interest that pertains to Twin Peaks. The editors are especially interested in receiving submissions that engage philosophical issues/topics/concepts in Twin Peaks in creative and non-standard ways.

Please feel free to forward this to anyone writing within a philosophic discipline who might be interested in contributing.

Contributor Guidelines:

1. Abstract of paper (100–750 words)

2. Resume/CV for each author/coauthor of the paper

3. Initial submission may be made by mail or email (we prefer e-mail with MS Word attachment)

4. Deadlines: Abstracts due August 1, 2017.
First drafts due October 1, 2017
Final drafts due December 1, 2017

(we are looking to complete the entire ms by December 30, 2017, so early submissions are encouraged and welcomed!)

Mail:
Richard Greene
Department of Political Science and Philosophy
Weber State University
1203 University Circle
Ogden, UT 84408-1203

Email:
rgreene@weber.edu
rachelrobison@weber.edu

1984 and Philosophy, Call for Abstracts

Posted on | March 27, 2017

Call for Abstracts: 1984 and Philosophy
Edited by Ezio Di Nucci & Stefan Storrie

Abstracts are sought for a volume in Open Court’s Philosophy of Popular Culture series on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four with the title “1984 and Philosophy.”

Contributors to this volume include: Mark Alfano, James Conant, Vincent Hendricks and Torbjörn Tännsjö.

“1984” is a deeply philosophical work that engages both with timeless questions about the nature of truth, language, morality, and what it means to be human, as well as specific issues in ethics about surveillance, torture, perpetual war and a host of other topics.

The book has been at the forefront of modern culture since its publication in 1949 and interest in the book has now reached a new peak. People are currently grappling with the rise of populist political movements and the undermining of the conventional understanding of truth and objectivity (the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 was “post-truth,” to mention but one of many recent indicators). In this situation it is no exaggeration to say that Orwell’s book is the central cultural point of reference. Indeed, “1984” is the number one best-selling book on Amazon in 2017 (as of February 2d).

With its devastatingly bleak conclusion, “1984” does not offer any obvious answers to the reader. But through its literary imagination it gives us the tools for conceptualizing institutions, ideologies, and philosophical issues.

The volume is aimed at the general reader who is interested in “1984”. Proposed chapters should focus on “1984” and bring out philosophical ideas naturally as a way of illuminating the topic. The length of each chapter should be between 3-4 thousand words. The publisher and we the editors agree that the projected book is highly topical, indeed, urgent, and we aim to release the book early in 2018.

We are seeking abstracts, but anyone who has already written an unpublished paper on this topic may submit it in its entirety. Potential contributors may want to examine other volumes in the Open Court series.

Please feel free to circulate this call and forward it to anyone who might be interested in contributing.

Contributor Guidelines:

1. Abstract of paper (500 words)

2. CV for each author/coauthor of the paper

3. Submit your abstract to 1984submission@gmail.com

4. Deadlines:

Abstracts due May 1, 2017

Notification: May 15, 2017

First drafts due July 15, 2017

Final drafts due September 15, 2017

(we are looking to complete the entire ms by October 2017, so early submissions are encouraged and welcomed!)

American Horror Story and Philosophy, Call for Abstracts

Posted on | February 1, 2017

Call for Abstracts:
American Horror Story and Philosophy

Richard Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene, Editors
Abstracts are sought for a collection of philosophical essays related to the television series American Horror Story. This volume will be published by Open Court Publishing (the publisher of The Simpsons and Philosophy, The Matrix and Philosophy, Dexter and Philosophy, The Walking Dead and Philosophy, Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy, and The Princess Bride and Philosophy, etc.) as part of their successful Popular Culture and Philosophy series. We are seeking abstracts, but anyone who has already written an unpublished paper on this topic may submit it in its entirety. Potential contributors may want to examine other volumes in the Open Court series.

Contributors are welcome to submit abstracts on any topic of philosophical interest that pertains to American Horror Story. The editors are especially interested in receiving submissions that engage philosophical issues/topics/concepts in American Horror Story in creative and non-standard ways.

Please feel free to forward this to anyone writing within a philosophic discipline who might be interested in contributing.

Contributor Guidelines:

1. Abstract of paper (100–750 words)

2. Resume/CV for each author/coauthor of the paper

3. Initial submission may be made by mail or email (we prefer e-mail with MS Word attachment)

4. Deadlines:

Abstracts due March 15, 2017

First drafts due May 15, 2017

Final drafts due August 1, 2017

(we are looking to complete the entire ms by August 15, 2017, so early submissions are encouraged and welcomed!)

Mail: Richard Greene
Department of Political Science and Philosophy
Weber State University
1203 University Circle
Ogden, UT 84408-1203

Email: rgreene@weber.edu
rachelrobison@weber.edu

The Dark Tower and Philosophy, Call for Abstracts

Posted on | January 11, 2017

The Dark Tower and Philosophy, CFA

Edited by Jacob May and Nicolas Michaud for The Open Court Series

Abstracts and subsequent essays must be accessible to a lay audience as well as philosophically substantial. All writing should be engaging and directly relevant to the upcoming Dark Tower film, the circulated comic series, and of course novels. Each chapter accepted for publication must address the subject(s) from a philosophical perspective. The chapters must be pointed and direct, engaging philosophical tools and theories to highlight topics addressed by the related material(s).

Submission Guidelines:

1. Submission deadline for abstracts (100-500 words) and CV’s: August 27th

2. Notification of accepted abstracts: September 3rd

3. Submission deadline for first drafts of accepted papers: October 1st

4. Submission of final drafts for papers: November 5th

Kindly submit abstract (with or without Word attachment) and CV by email to: Jacob May (Jacob.thomas.may@gmail.com).

We understand that the upcoming movie may affect some of the possible ideas/papers and will be taking into account time for some of you to rework/restructure said papers should you need to.

Possible topics include…

  • Which world is the PRIME WORLD…and does it really Matter?
  • The Man in Black fled across the desert…and the Gunslinger followed. Is Roland’s journey pointless? Nietzsche and the True World.
  • Eschatology and the Crumbling Tower – Why is Roland the only one concerned about the end of all Universes?
  • “Yes, but not for you Gunslinger.” – Is Roland an agent of Free Will or Fatalism?
  • The problem of Identity and Solipsism – if Roland or Walter is inside someone’s minds, who is that person, really?
  • Numerical Identity – The problem with Odetta Holmes.
  • Philosophical Foundations of Heroism – Roland and Sacrifice…Jake/Eddie/Cuthbert/Alain/Oy?etc…
  • Insanity and the Nature of Reality – Dying/Not Dying – are Roland and Jake insane?
  • The Philosophical problem of Trust – Why should Jake trust Roland?
  • Blaine the Mono and the problem with [Murderous] A.I.
  • Ayn Rand and the Philosophy of Sacrifice – A Murderer, Betrayer and now an Adulterer…Oh and now he killed his mother too – Is Roland seriously our Hero?
  • Moral philosophy and the politics of being a Corrupt-Free Gunslinger.
  • The Impossible Choice – Flagg’s offer to abandon their quest and the fact that they refuse it – is Roland’s Ka-Tet committing suicide?
  • Roland’s Ka-Tet’s Excellent Adventure – The problem with time travel.
  • Revisiting Identity – are Susannah and Mia really different people?
  • The 4th Wall – Callahan and Salem’s Lot…Written by Stephen King.
  • Parenthood and Procreation – the problem with Mordred
  • Existentialism and the deaths of Eddie, Jake and Oy.
  • Is there a Clearing at the End of the Path…or just more Worlds??? How THE VOID is utter nonsense.
  • Telos and the philosophy of Endings – why King just isn’t a fan.
  • Joseph Campbell fled across the desert…and the Gunslinger followed – Repeating a journey and the TRUE Hero with 1,000 faces.
  • “This time will be different.” – Should we really care about Roland’s subsequent journey(s)?
  • The Dark Tower and Immortality – Is Roland immortal? Is that a good thing? Does anyone truly die? (Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy waking up in New York)

 

Please visit http://www.opencourtbooks.com/categories/pcp.htm for more information on Open Court’s Pop Culture and Philosophy series. To propose ideas for future volumes in the Open Court series please contact the Series Editor, George A. Reisch, at: pcpideas AT gmail.com.

Thank you!

Jacob May & Nicolas Michaud

Iron Man vs Captain America and Philosophy, CFA

Posted on | December 31, 2016

Call for Abstracts: Iron Man vs Captain America and Philosophy

Edited by Nicolas Michaud and Jessica Watkins

Abstracts and subsequent essays must be accessible to a lay audience as well as philosophically substantial. All writing should be engaging and directly relevant to Iron Man and Captain America through film, comics, and games. Each chapter accepted for publication must address the superiority of one character over the other from a philosophical perspective. The chapters must be pointed and direct, engaging philosophical tools and theories to highlight the merits and the flaws of the characters—especially when in comparison to each other.

***The 10 to 12-paged papers are written in a conversational style***

Submission Guidelines:

Submission deadline for abstracts (100-500 words) and CV’s: January 15th

Notification of accepted abstracts: January 22nd

Submission deadline for first drafts of accepted papers: March 17th

Kindly submit abstract (with or without Word attachment) and CV by email to: Nicolas Michaud (philosophylives@gmail.com).

Possible topics include but are not limited to…

• Business is Better

Captain America seems to be a “true” American, but Capitalism is what makes America great, and Tony Stark is a true capitalist.

Virtue is Blunt

Captain America seems nice, but a truly virtuous man doesn’t hide behind “politeness.”

• Earned Awesomeness

Iron man actually made himself awesome, Captain America just volunteered

• Altering Humanity

Tony Stark is on the frontier of human evolution, Cap’s biological approach is antiquated.

• Humans are the Future

Tony is bringing back the Humanism of the ancient Greeks

• Iron Man Shrugged

Rational Egoism finds credibility in the success of Tony Stark

• Knowledge Powers the Arc Reactor

Tony Stark is the best kind of Epistemologist… the curious kind

• Virtue Still Matters

In a world of thoughtless action and rude politics we have a lot to learn from Captain America

• The Value of Patriotism

Captain America is the epitome of thoughtful Patriotism

• A Man Fighting Amongst Gods

He might be one of the weakest members of the Avengers, but Cap doesn’t leave being a hero up to the Gods

• Bravery is Badass

Aristotle though Moderation was the key virtue, but, in fact, it is bravery that is most important

• There’s Only One God Ma’am

In a world of doubt, faith becomes increasingly important

• Technology is Dangerous

Captain America has seen technology go awry. Rousseau weighs in against Iron Man

• Consistency is Key

Iron Man is flexible, but Kant knows that Cap’s consistency is what leads to right action

Amy Schumer and Philosophy, CFA

Posted on | December 11, 2016

Amy Schumer and Philosophy, CFA

Amy Schumer’s television show, “Inside Amy Schumer” has completed its fourth season on Comedy Central and is renewed for a fifth. She wrote and starred in the movie, Trainwreck (2015), which was nominated for two Golden Globes as well as the award for Best Screenplay by the Writers’ Guild of America. She has completed filming her role in Thank You For Your Service (2017). Her autobiographical book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, was released in August, 2016. Through her comedy, Amy Schumer either touches on or explicitly examines philosophical issues.

Chapters will be 3000-3500 words, written in a style appropriate to an intelligent lay audience (no unexplained philosophical jargon, assumed knowledge of philosophical concepts, or extensive referencing), and will frequently refer to Amy Schumer’s contributions to film, television and literature. Please submit a 250-500 word abstract, written in the style appropriate to a philosophy and popular culture text.

Edited by Charlene Elsby and Rob Luzecky. Email submissions to: amyschumerandphilosophy@gmail.com

Deadline for abstract submissions: March 1, 2017

Notifications of acceptance sent: March 15, 2017

Deadline for chapters: July 15, 2017

Suggested Topics (other topics welcome):

Owning the Past: Why it’s better to accept and love your past selves
Honesty and Hilarity: Why is it hilarious to tell some truths?
Why a woman is a “sex comic” while a male comic is “a thinker”
Rationality and Actuality: Why we don’t believe what we know to be true (the trouble with women’s magazines)
“We’re all walking hypocrites”: How it’s possible to hold contradictory beliefs
My favorite female comedian: Does the modifier “female” imply that a “female” is not “a comedian”?
Dangerous words: Is it OK to say “cunt” and “pussy”?
What will Amy Schumer mean for our gender for years to come!??!??
The gun control debate: why anyone can have an opinion on whether it’s OK to shoot six year olds
“Grape”: Is there such a thing as “gray-area rape”? (Consent and rape-culture in contemporary America)
“Strong” women (and domestic abuse)
Is it OK for women to have sex? (But is it?)
Beauty and self-worth: Getting over existing for the other
“Have fun!”, “Be yourself!”, “Stop eating food!”
Comedy and Politics: Why comedians make the best political commentators
Truth in Comedy: Is Comedy the solution to fake news?

The Americans and Philosophy, CFA

Posted on | October 31, 2016

Call for Abstracts

The Americans and Philosophy
Edited by Robert Arp

From Wikipedia: “Set in the early 1980s during the Cold War, The Americans is the story of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American married couple living in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., with their unsuspecting children and their neighbor, Stan Beeman, an FBI agent working in counterintelligence… The fourth season premiered on March 16, 2016. On May 25, 2016, FX set an end-date for the series by renewing it for a fifth and sixth season. The 13-episode fifth season will air in 2017, followed by a 10-episode sixth and final season in 2018…”

– Submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to: robertarp320@gmail.com

– Abstracts due: Friday, November 11, 2016, but you can send them in sooner

– Notification of accepted abstracts: Friday, November 18, 2016

– First drafts of papers due: January 15, 2017
– 3,000 to 3,500-word philosophy papers are written in a conversational style for a lay audience
– Papers must frequently refer to ideas, arguments, characters, events, and circumstances, in The Americans

Any relevant topic considered, but here are some possibilities to prompt your thinking:

– Prisoner’s Dilemma-type situations found on the show

– Rational choice matrices and nuclear armaments

– The nature of socialism vs the nature of capitalism

– Are governments justified in using deception for the greater good of their societies?

– Is the Cold War actually a good thing for the stability of the world?

– Comparisons and contrasts between the USSR and today’s Russia

– A serious diagnosis of Clavell’s 1981 short story, “The Children’s Story”

– Duties to our own moral principles vs. duties to our government

– Duties to our religious principles vs. duties to our government

– On the blameworthiness of being complicit

– The definition and nature of ‘spy’

– The value and morality of torture to gain information

– Propaganda techniques and critical thinking

– Typical fallacies utilized in propaganda and messaging campaigns

– Totalitarian regimes vs. republics

– The nature of information and how it is used as a piece of power

– Defending your family: does an eye for an eye trump the legal process that “let the bastard walk”?

– The nature of blackmail and the question of whether it is every justified in being utilized

– The principle of double effect and the possibility of a just war

– Kantian reasons to allow oneself to be used or objectified

– On the minor character, Nick’s, claim: “Without a higher power, we’re no better than wild dogs”

– Discerning true statements from false statements when in a relationship of trust with a spy

– Various conceptions of evil in The Americans stories

– Feminism and Elizabeth as the atypical woman

– “Manchurian Candidate” kinds of control and whether one is justified in killing an innocent person being used as a tool of harm

– Existentialist themes in The Americans

– Is Philip, Elizabeth, or any spy really free to quit being a spy?

– Should the government ever have any secrets that it keeps from its citizens?

– Lying vs. not revealing the facts

– The moral limits of experimentation using humans

– Characters that exhibit a Kantian-based deontology, a Millian-based utilitarianism, and/or an Aristotelian-based virtue ethics

– What happens when we DENY EVERYTHING?

Submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to: robertarp320@gmail.com

The Americans and Philosophy will be a book in Open Court Publishing Company’s Popular Culture and Philosophy Series: http://www.opencourtbooks.com/categories/pcp.htm. Submit ideas for possible future PCP books to the series editor, George A. Reisch, at pcpideas@gmail.com.

Thanks for your consideration.

 

Jimi Hendrix and Philosophy, CFA

Posted on | September 15, 2016

JIMI HENDRIX AND PHILOSOPHY

Abstracts are hereby solicited for Jimi Hendrix and Philosophy, an edition in the Popular Culture series by Open Court (which has published Philosophy and Girls, Philosophy and Batman, Philosophy and David Bowie, Philosophy and Seinfeld and many more).  The object is to reach an intelligent lay audience regarding its loves and likes in popular culture.  Your paper should be intriguing at first blush and serious, but much lighter than the heavy hand that usually drives a technical philosophical paper for academics.   Topics should vary (I do not need 15 papers on Hendrix and the blues).  Hendrix was one of the most important musicians and artists of the 20th Century – use your imagination.

Potential topics include:
music theory
race and culture
perception and hallucination
revolutionizing the electric guitar
excuse me while I kiss what?
John Lee Hooker meets Beethoven
the metaphysics of feedback
Private Hendrix: machine guns and “machine gun”
“The single greatest moment of the sixties”? The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock

Send potential entries and queries by December 1, 2016 to: Ted Ammon ammontg@millsaps.edu

keep looking »

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Since its inception in 2000, Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy® series has brought high-quality philosophy to general readers by critically exploring the meanings, concepts, and puzzles within television shows, movies, music and other icons of popular culture.

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