Philosophy and the Superhero

Sunday, October 23, 2022
First Aired: 
Sunday, April 12, 2020

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.



Josh Landy  
Can comic books reveal deep truths about human nature?

Ray Briggs  
What can Marvel's Miracle Man teach us about metaphysics?

Josh Landy  
Should kids really be learning ethics from Batman and Superman?

Comments (1)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 -- 11:39 AM

Having been a comic

Having been a comic aficionado for decades before even thinking about philosophy, I have to credit that early love with my eventual transmutation. Comic books are replete with philosophy---it is just that, much of the time, it is disguised and/or down played. Comic book readers are not ordinarily associated with hard philosophy, and, obversely, philosophers are not likely to be advocates for the comics. At least not overtly, anyway. The thing about the world is this: things in it are so constituatively interconnected, it is difficult sometimes to absolutely segregate those that are not. Sit back and enjoy the ride! Now that my taste for philosophy has been awakened, I'll probably go back to some other good reading as well. Can't imagine why exactly I 'gave it up'.---Intellectuals are so bound up about so many things. They can lose track of, well, fun.