Superman and PhilosophyWhat Would the Man of Steel Do?
The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, Band 79 1. Aufl.
Go beyond the cape and into the mind of the Man of Steel, in time for release of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel movie and Superman's 75th anniversary He has thrilled millions for 75 years, with a legacy that transcends national, cultural, and generational borders, but is there more to the Man of Steel than just your average mythic superhero in a cape? The 20 chapters in this book present a fascinating exploration of some of the deeper philosophical questions raised by Superman, the Last Son of Krypton and the newest hero in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture arsenal.
Introduction: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane … It’s Philosophy! 1 Part One The Big Blue Boy Scout: Ethics, Judgment, and Reason 3 1 Moral Judgment: The Power That Makes Superman Human 5 Mark D. White 2 Action Comics! Superman and Practical Reason 16 Brian Feltham 3 Can the Man of Tomorrow Be the Journalist of Today? 26 Jason Southworth and Ruth Tallman 4 Could Superman Have Joined the Third Reich? The Importance and Shortcomings of Moral Upbringing 37 Robert Sharp Part Two Truth, Justice, and the American Way: What Do They Mean? 47 5 Clark Kent Is Superman! The Ethics of Secrecy 49 Daniel P. Malloy 6 Superman and Justice 61 Christopher Robichaud 7 Is Superman an American Icon? 71 Andrew Terjesen Part Three The Will to Superpower: Nietzsche, the Übermensch, and Existentialism 83 8 Rediscovering Nietzsche’s Übermensch in Superman as a Heroic Ideal 85 Arno Bogaerts 9 Superman or Last Man: The Ethics of Superpower 101 David Gadon 10 Superman: From Anti-Christ to Christ-Type 111 Adam Barkman 11 Superman Must Be Destroyed! Lex Luthor as Existentialist Anti-Hero 121 Sarah K. Donovan and Nicholas Richardson Part Four The Ultimate Hero: What Do We Expect from Superman? 131 12 Superman’s Revelation: The Problem of Violence in Kingdom Come 133 David Hatfield 13 A World Without a Clark Kent? 145 Randall M. Jensen 14 The Weight of the World: How Much Is Superman Morally Responsible For? 157 Audrey L. Anton Part Five Superman and Humanity: A Match Made on Krypton? 169 15 Superman and Man: What a Kryptonian Can Teach Us About Humanity 171 Leonard Finkelman 16 Can the Man of Steel Feel Our Pain? Sympathy and Superman 181 Andrew Terjesen 17 World’s Finest Philosophers: Superman and Batman on Human Nature 194 Carsten Fogh Nielsen Part Six Of Superman and Superminds: Who Is Superman, Anyway? 205 18 “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s … Clark Kent?” Superman and the Problem of Identity 207 Nicolas Michaud 19 Superman Family Resemblance 217 Dennis Knepp 20 Why Superman Should Not Be Able to Read Minds 225 Mahesh Ananth Contributors: Trapped in the Philosophy Zone 237 Index: From Brainiac’s Files 243
"As can be noted from my comments above, any book that will make you think or react makes for an interesting read and ‘Superman And Philosophy’ succeeds in doing that. One should always be glad that Superman sees himself as the good scout otherwise the DC Earth would truly be hell." (SFCrowsnest.org.uk, 1 June 2013) “And this delightfully appealing tome does exactly that…” (Comics Review, 25 April 2013)
Mark D. White is chair of the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, where he teaches courses in economics, philosophy, and law. He has edited and coedited many books in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, including Batman and Philosophy, Watchmen and Philosophy, Iron Man and Philosophy, and The Avengers and Philosophy. William Irwin is Professor of Philosophy at King’s College in 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, Batman and Philosophy, and Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy.
Superman may not have been the first superhero, but ever since his introduction in Action Comics #1 in 1938, he has been the model for every superhero to follow. For 75 years Superman has thrilled millions with his adventures in comic books, television shows, and movies. His popularity transcends all borders because he strikes so many universal themes, such as justice and strength, moral responsibility, identity, and the heroic ideals of perfection, goodness, and nobility. But he also raises significant philosophical dilemmas. If Superman is that good, for example, why does he so often resort to violence? Could Lex Luthor be right in telling us Superman is the real threat to humanity? Is Superman the realization of Nietzsche’s Übermensch—and is that a good or bad thing? And of course, why can’t Lois tell that Clark Kent is really Superman? Gathering a veritable league of philosophers, Superman and Philosophy addresses all these questions and more. This book will thrill longtime and brand-new fans of Superman alike and will inspire new ways to think about the Man of Steel!
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