(E-)Book Read! SUPERHEROES by William Irwin

William Irwin, Superheroes (2011).

First sentence: “Philosophy can change your life, but it may take a superhero for you to realize it.”

P. 99: “Perhaps the most surprising emotion that one might advocate as the proper impetus for action is avaris.”

Last sentence: “In the X-Verse we should be less dubious of Emma Frost working with the X-Men; the less catlike Beast should question whether, even if the secondary mutation were reversed, he would be the character they miss; and the next time Jean Grey comes back from the dead, we should all stop complaining that she seems different from before.”

Synopsis (Amazon):

Behind the cool costumes, special powers, and unflagging determination to fight evil you’ll find fascinating philosophical questions and concerns deep in the hearts and minds of your favorite comic book heroes.

Why doesn’t Batman just kill the Joker and end everyone’s misery? Does Peter Parker have a good life? What can Iron Man teach us about the role of technology in society? Bringing together key chapters from books in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, this free superhero sampler engages the intellectual might of big thinkers like Aristotle and Kant to answer these questions and many others, giving you new insights on everything from whether Superman is truly an American icon to whether Wolverine is the same person when he loses his memory.

Whether you’re looking for answers or looking for fun, this classic compilation will save the day by helping you gain a deeper appreciation of your favorite comics with an introduction to basic philosophical principles.

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon (you still can, here), although I didn’t expect much of it.  But it was a pleasant surprise.  By using popular comics with so-called superheroes, like Batman and Superman, the authors try to answer questions as: Are Justice and Mercy incompatible?  What does it mean to be modest? What is the so-called American Way?  What’s the difference between a Utilitarian and a Deontologist?  Must Evil always be punished?   How can Evil be forgiven?….

You don’t have to be familiar with these comics (I haven’t read  any of them), to understand what is talked about.  If you do love comics and you have an interest in philosophy talked about in an easygoing way, then this book is for you.


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