Inception and PhilosophyBecause It's Never Just a Dream
The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, Band 43 1. Aufl.
A philosophical look at the movie Inception and its brilliant metaphysical puzzles Is the top still spinning? Was it all a dream? In the world of Christopher Nolan's four-time Academy Award-winning movie, people can share one another's dreams and alter their beliefs and thoughts. Inception is a metaphysical heist film that raises more questions than it answers: Can we know what is real? Can you be held morally responsible for what you do in dreams? What is the nature of dreams, and what do they tell us about the boundaries of "self" and "other"? From Plato to Aristotle and from Descartes to Hume, Inception and Philosophy draws from important philosophical minds to shed new light on the movie's captivating themes, including the one that everyone talks about: did the top fall down (and does it even matter)? Explores the movie's key questions and themes, including how we can tell if we're dreaming or awake, how to make sense of a paradox, and whether or not inception is possible Gives new insights into the nature of free will, time, dreams, and the unconscious mind Discusses different interpretations of the film, and whether or not philosophy can help shed light on which is the "right one" Deepens your understanding of the movie's multi-layered plot and dream-infiltrating characters, including Dom Cobb, Arthur, Mal, Ariadne, Eames, Saito, and Yusuf An essential companion for every dedicated Inception fan, this book will enrich your experience of the Inception universe and its complex dreamscape.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The Dream Team xi The Editor’s Totem: An Elegant Solution for Keeping Track of Reality 1 Introduction: Plato’s Academy Award 11 PART ONE WAS MAL RIGHT? WAS IT ALL JUST A DREAM?: MAKING SENSE OF INCEPTION 1 Was It All a Dream?: Why Nolan’s Answer Doesn’t Matter 17 Ruth Tallman 2 Let Me Put My Thoughts in You: It Was All Just a Dream 31 Jason Southworth 3 Even If It Is a Dream, We Should Still Care 46 Andrew Terjesen 4 The Unavoidable Dream Problem 62 James T. M. Miller PART TWO IS THE TOP STILL SPINNING?: TACKLING THE UNANSWERABLE QUESTION 5 The Parable of the Spinning Top: Skepticism, Angst, and Cobb’s Choice 77 Katherine Tullmann 6 Reality Doesn’t Really Matter 92 Dan Weijers 7 Why Care whether the Top Keeps Spinning? 108 Bart Engelen PART THREE IS INCEPTION POSSIBLE?: THE METAPHYSICS, ETHICS, AND MECHANICS OF INCEPTING 8 How to Hijack a Mind: Inception and the Ethics of Heist Films 125 Daniel P. Malloy 9 Inception, Teaching, and Hypnosis: The Ethics of Idea-Giving 140 Adam Barkman 10 Inception and Free Will: Are They Compatible? 152 John R. Fitzpatrick and David Kyle Johnson 11 Honor and Redemption in Corporate Espionage 166 Albert J. Chan PART FOUR WHAT IS DREAMING?: EXPLORING THE NATURE OF (SHARED) DREAMS (UPON DREAMS) 12 Shared Dreaming and Extended Minds 177 Ken Marable 13 Morally Responsible Dreaming: Your Mind Is the Scene of the Crime 187 Lance Belluomini 14 Dream Time: Inception and the Philosophy of Time 199 Michael J. Sigrist 15 Dreams and Possible Worlds: Inception and the Metaphysics of Modality 215 Charles Joshua Horn 16 Do Our Dreams Occur While We Sleep? 231 Keith Dromm PART FIVE SHOULD I TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH?: RELIGIOUS THEMES IN INCEPTION 17 Taking a Leap of Faith: A How-to Guide 249 David Kyle Johnson 18 Limbo, Utopia, and the Paradox of Idyllic Hope 265 Clint Jones 19 Unlocking the Vault of the Mind: Inception and Asian Philosophy 276 Scott Daniel Dunbar PART SIX WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?: FINDING THE HIDDEN LESSONS OF INCEPTION 20 Mal-Placed Regret 295 Kimberly Blessing 21 “You’re Just a Shade”: Knowing Others, and Yourself 310 Daniel Forbes 22 Paradox, Dreams, and Strange Loops in Inception 326 Tyler Shores APPENDIX : A Safe Full of Secrets: Hidden Gems You May Have Missed 343 CONTRIBUTORS: The Architects 363 I NDEX: The PASIV (Plenary Alphabetized Subject Index for This Volume) Device 371
David Kyle johnson is assistant professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and the editor of Heroes 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 House and Philosophy, Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy, and Mad Men and Philosophy. To learn more about the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, visit www.andphilosophy.com
Did the top fall? Was the whole movie just a dream? Is it possible for us to know what is truly real? When should we take our own leap of faith? Is paradox possible? In the complex world of Christopher Nolan's four-time Academy Award–winning metaphysical heist film, Inception, Dom Cobb has the ability to infiltrate people's dreams to steal and even alter their beliefs and thoughts. Lurking behind these acts of extraction and inception are profound moral and philosophical issues. From Plato to Aristotle, from Descartes to Hume, Inception and Philosophy draws from the greatest philosophical minds to shed new light on the movie's key questions and captivating themes. Can we tell whether we are dreaming or awake? Is inception possible? Can sense be made of paradox? And the one that everyone still talks about: did the top fall—or does it even matter? You'll also deepen your understanding of the movie's multilayered plot and dream-crashing characters, examine different interpretations of the film, and discover whether or not philosophy can help determine which interpretation is the "right" one. You'll even find a list of hidden secrets in the movie that you missed!
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