Can comic books reveal deep truths about human nature? What can Marvel’s Miracleman teach us about metaphysics? Should we be learning about ethics from Batman and Superman? On this week’s show, we’ll be talking with Nathaniel Goldberg about what philosophers can learn from superhero comics.
What is it
Philosophy is replete with thought experiments featuring characters like Descartes’ “Evil Genius” and Davidson’s “Swampman.” Some of the scenarios philosophers conjure up seem like they could’ve been plucked from a superhero comic. Or is it the other way around? Why do philosophy and superhero comics employ such similar thought experiments? Is there something about the comic book—a medium that is both visual and lexical—that particularly lends itself to philosophical thinking? And what would a philosophy of the superhero look like? The philosophers save the world with Nathaniel Goldberg from Washington and Lee University, co-author of Superhero Thought Experiments: Comic Book Philosophy.