Watchmen and PhilosophyA Rorschach Test
The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, Band 6 1. Aufl.
Alan Moore's Watchmen is set in 1985 and chronicles the alternative history of the United States where the US edges dangerously closer to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Within this world exists a group of crime busters, who don elaborate costumes to conceal their identity and fight crime, and an intricate plot to kill and discredit these "superheroes." Alan Moore's Watchmen popularized the graphic novel format, has been named one of Time magazine's top 100 novels, and is now being made into a highly anticipated movie adaptation. This latest book in the popular Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series peers into Moore's deeply philosophical work to parse and deconstruct the ethical issues raised by Watchmen's costumed adventurers, their actions, and their world. From nuclear destruction to utopia, from governmental authority to human morality and social responsibility, it answers questions fans have had for years about Watchmen's ethical quandaries, themes, and characters.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: They Left It Entirely in My Hands ix Introduction: A Rorschach Test 1 PART ONE THE POLITICS OF POWER: WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN? 1 The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power 5Christopher Robichaud 2 Can We Steer This Rudderless World? Kant, Rorschach, Retributivism, and Honor 19Jacob M. Held 3 Super-Vigilantes and the Keene Act 33Tony Spanakos 4 Superheroes and Supermen: Finding Nietzsche’s Übermensch in Watchmen 47J. Keeping PART TWO THE VEIDT PLAN: WATCHMEN AND ETHICS 5 Means, Ends, and the Critique of Pure Superheroes 63J. Robert Loftis 6 The Virtues of Nite Owl’s Potbelly 79Mark D. White 7 Rorschach: When Telling the Truth Is Wrong 91Alex Nuttall PART THREE THE METAPHYSICS OF DR. MANHATTAN 8 Dr. Manhattan, I Presume? 103James DiGiovanna 9 A Timely Encounter: Dr. Manhattan and Henri Bergson 115Christopher M. Drohan 10 Free Will and Foreknowledge: Does Jon Really Know What Laurie Will Do Next, and Can She Do Otherwise? 125Arthur Ward 11 I’m Just a Puppet Who Can See the Strings: Dr. Manhattan as a Stoic Sage 137Andrew Terjesen PART FOUR THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER’S COMIC BOOK 12 “Why Don’t You Go Read a Book or Something?” Watchmen as Literature 157Aaron Meskin 13 Watchwomen 173Sarah Donovan and Nick Richardson 14 Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis: The Ambiguously Gay Duo 185Robert Arp 15 What’s So Goddamned Funny? The Comedian and Rorschach on Life’s Way 197Taneli Kukkonen CONTRIBUTORS: Who Writes about the Watchmen? 215 INDEX: After the Masquerade 221
Mark D. White is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY and coeditor of Batman and Philosophy. William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College. 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 Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Watchmen and Philosophy.
Can we justify Ozymandias's grand plan? Does Dr. Manhattan really know what's going to happen in the future? Is the Comedian actually a comedian (or just a jerk)? Can either Silk Spectre be considered a feminist? Does Nite Owl's paunch actually make him virtuous? Watchmen is the most critically acclaimed graphic novel ever published and turned the world of comic superheroes on its head. This masterpiece of realistic storytelling, dialogue, and artwork, courtesy of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, raises a host of compelling philosophical questions. How do Ozymandias and Rorschach justify their actions? What are the political ramifications of the Comedian's work for the government? How do we explain the nature of Dr. Manhattan? And can a graphic novel be considered literature? Whether you're reading Watchmen for the first time or have been a fan for more than twenty years, Watchmen and Philosophy will help you read deeper into the philosophical questions and the revolutionary story that changed comic fiction forever.
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