The Big Lebowski and PhilosophyKeeping Your Mind Limber with Abiding Wisdom
The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, Band 45 1. Aufl.
Celebrate the Dude with an abiding look at the philosophy behind The Big Lebowski Is the Dude a bowling-loving stoner or a philosophical genius living the good life? Naturally, it's the latter, and The Big Lebowski and Philosophy explains why. Enlisting the help of great thinkers like Plato and Nietzsche, the book explores the movie's hidden philosophical layers, cultural reflection, and political commentary. It also answers key questions, including: The Dude abides, but is abiding a virtue? Is the Dude an Americanized version of the Taoist way of life? How does The Big Lebowski illustrate the Just War Theory? How does bowling help Donny, Walter, and the Dude oppose nihilism? Yes, the Dude is deep, and so is this book. Don't watch the movie—or go to Lebowski Fest—without it. Explores many of The Big Lebowski's key themes, such as nihilism, war and politics, money and materialism, idealism and morality, history, and more Gives you new perspective on the movie's characters—the Dude, the Big Lebowski, Walter Sobchak, Donny, Maude Lebowski, Bunny Lebowski, and others Helps you appreciate the Coen Brothers classic even more with the insights of Aristotle, Epicurus, Kant, Derrida, and other philosophical heavyweights
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks to Some Real Achievers xi Introduction: Sometimes There’s a Film 1 PART ONE FIRST ROUND ROBIN: TYING IT ALL TOGETHER, OR NOT 1. What Would the Dude Do? Deconstructing the Dude 7 Joseph A. Zeccardi and Hilda H. Ma 2. The Big Lebowski and Mathematical Logic 24 Craig Jackson PART TWO SECOND ROUND ROBIN: THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF PHILOSOPHICAL TRADITION, OR FROM SOCRATES TO SANDY KOUFAX 3. The Dude Abides, but Does He Flourish? 39 Jason T. Eberl 4. “Man Down!”: Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Dude on Friendship and Solidarity 55 Ian O’Loughlin 5. Epicurus and “Contented Poverty”: The Big Lebowski as Epicurean Parable 67 Morgan Rempel 6. Buddhism, Daoism, and Dudeism 79 Joseph J. Lynch PART THREE THIRD ROUND ROBIN: OVER THE LINE! 7. Drawing a Line in the Sand: Rules of Aggression in The Big Lebowski 93 David Svolba and Adam Betz 8. “That Ain’t Legal Either”: Rules, Virtue, and Authenticity in The Big Lebowski 106 Troy Jollimore and Robert C. Jones PART FOUR FOURTH ROUND ROBIN: NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF 9. Bowling Our Way out of Nihilism 123 Jeffery Nicholas 10. Existentialism, Absurdity, and The Big Lebowski 136 Bryan N. Baird 11. Bowling, Despair, and American Nihilism 147 Evan Brown and Peter S. Fosl PART FIVE FIFTH ROUND ROBIN: WHAT MAKES A DUDE? 12. The Big Lebowski’s Oedipal Complex 161 Roger Hunt 13. In the Dude, I Abide: Being an Achiever at Lebowski Fest 174 Julie Dufort and Roseline Lemire-Cadieux 14. “Mr. Treehorn Treats Objects Like Women, Man”: The Dude as Feminist Ally 190 Ben Almassi 15. “Well, I Do Work, Sir”: The Dude and the Value of Sloth 207 Nicolas Michaud PART SIX SIXTH ROUND ROBIN: MARK IT ZERO! 16. “Am I Wrong?”: Walter’s Will to Believe 221 Daniel P. Malloy 17. “That’s Just Like, Uh, Your Opinion, Man”: Jesus, the Dude, and Ordinary Language Philosophy 237 Reuben Stern and Sam Wilkinson PART SEVEN SEVENTH ROUND ROBIN: LIVIN’ IN THE PAST 18. Hippies, Jews, and the Philosophy of Memory 251 Clancy Smith 19. “I Don’t Roll on Shabbas!”: Jewish Identity and the Meaning of History in The Big Lebowski 262 Joseph A. Edelheit CONTRIBUTORS: The Rest of the Dude’s Bowling Team 275 INDEX: Little of This, Little of That 283
Peter S. Fosl is chair of the philosophy program at Transylvania University. Coauthor of The Philosopher's Toolkit, he has contributed to Metallica and Philosophy, Ultimate Lost and Philosophy, Terminator and Philosophy, Heroes and Philosophy, and Twilight and Philosophy. Visit www.PeterFosl.us for more information. William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles including House and Philosophy, Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy, and Inception and Philosophy.
Is abiding a virtue? Does Walter's aggression illustrate the principles of just war theory? Does bowling help Donny, Walter, and the Dude resist nihilism? Does the Dude exemplify the Taoist way of life? Is the Dude a feminist ally? In the morally corrupt world of The Big Lebowski, the Dude emerges as a beacon of integrity, authenticity, and virtue. He is a philosopher's hero who struggles to live the good life in spite of assault, rug peeing, an apparent kidnapping, and the death of a friend—and The Big Lebowski and Philosophy unpacks the deeper meaning of it all. Enlisting the help of great thinkers like Plato, Nietzsche, Aristotle, Gödel, Derrida, Freud, Wittgenstein, and Epicurus, the book explores the Dude's pacifism and Walter's warrior instincts, the class war between unemployed bums and capitalist achievers, and how leisure is an essential part of our human existence. Read this book and you'll know why The Big Lebowski is one of the greatest existentialist movies of all time. But that's just, you know, our opin
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