Popular Culture and Philosophy

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

Holy Hegelian Dialectics! It’s the Superman Versus Batman and Philosophy, CFA

Posted on | July 10, 2014

Call for Abstracts

Superman vs Batman and Philosophy

Edited by Nicolas Michaud

The Open Court Philosophy and Pop Culture 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 Superman AND Batman 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:

  1. Submission deadline for abstracts (100-500 words) and CV’s: August 4th
  2. Notification of accepted abstracts: August 17th
  3. Submission deadline for first drafts of accepted papers: January 12th

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

Possible topics include…

  • What’s so Great About Technology? Batman loves Technology, but Rousseau prefers Superman’s “natural” approach
  • Just a Second. Batman, like all of us, is trapped in time, but Superman can travel in it, and therefore has a far deeper understanding of the true nature of the universe.
  • The Value of Friendship. Batman has no friends, even in the Justice League, but Superman has many.
  • Teamwork is Batman’s Kryptonite! Is Batman the ultimate Libertarian? Why Superman’s communitarian approach always wins in the end.
  • Consequence and the Rules. Batman believes in the rules, but is Superman’s concern for consequentialism better?
  • Is it Better to be Smart? Batman is one of the smartest human’s alive, but is intellect overrated?
  • What it Means to Be a True Hero. Which does the Enchiridion deem greater?
  • Does Money Matter? Clark is a small town boy, Bruce is a billionaire, no wonder Bruce can’t connect with anyone.
  • Epicureanism is the Cure for Kryptonite. Superman knows no pain and knows no fear. But Superman, unlike the sorrowful Batman, knows the true value of happiness.
  • Batman’s Extreme Failure. Why Aristotle thinks Superman’s moderate approach is the right path.
  • Batman is a Terrible Role Model. Batman shows the world an immoral playboy, but Superman gives us the honest and true Clark Kent
  • Darwin in Metropolis. In the end the fittest and the strongest survive, and Superman is, by far, the fittest!
  • The Value of Patriotism. Bruce was born on Earth, but Clark, an alien immigrant, knows the true value of citizenship and patriotism.
  • Love is a Weakness. Superman Loves Lois Lane, Batman allows no such connections, is love overrated?
  • Does Might Make Right? Superman is mightier, but Plato would argue that might doesn’t always make right.
  • Who is the Real Superman? Superman is “Super” but Nietzsche’s true “Superman” is the Batman!
  • Hume Picks Batman. Why would a supposedly all-good Superman still allow so much evil in the world?
  • Is Immortality Better? Superman may live forever. But eternal life isn’t as great as it sounds.
  • Earned Increments. Does being gifted mean working hard like Batman? Or are we just born that way, like Superman?
  • The Failure of Forgiveness. Superman can forgive and forget, Batman never does, and that’s why Batman will always win.
  • The Value of Fear. Batman rules by fear, Superman commands admiration and respect, but fear always wins.
  • Masks. Bruce Wayne is really just a mask for Batman, but Superman, in his heart, is really Clark Kent, that’s why Batman is the real superhero.
  • Bravery and Virtue. What does Superman have to be afraid of? Batman knows true fear, and therefore, true bravery.
  • The Worst Big Boy scout. Superman always has another power to rely on; Batman has only himself. Even without his tools, Batman is far more self-reliant.
  • Trust is Stupid. Superman wants to give everyone a second chance, but Batman keeps tabs on everyone, and has a contingency plan for stopping even Justice League members.
  • The Stoic Bat. Stoicism tells us to rid ourselves of unnecessary and destructive emotions; Batman is the greatest stoic of them all!
  • Skepticism, Truth, and Bruce Wayne. Justified true belief is hard to come by. Superman believes too easily; Batman knows the world may not be what it seems.
  • Who Does the World More Good? Superman saves the whole world regularly. Batman can usually save only one life at a time, does this make him inferior?

Please visit http://www.opencourtbooks.com/categories/pcp.htm for more information on Open Court’s Pop Culture and Philosophy series.

Thank you!

Nicolas Michaud



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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.