And Philosophy

Interesting books here, really.


Jordan said...

I don't know how I feel about these books. On one hand, if they get more people interested in philosophy, that is a good thing.

On the other hand, it is telling that we seem to have to combine philosophy with pop culture in order to get people interested in thinking deeply. A series like this seems to be pandering to our culture's love for entertainment, and this concerns me.

I was browsing in Chapters recently. It would not be an exaggeration to say that roughly two-thirds of the Philosophy section was made up of this book series. There were numerous classics and philosophy "essentials" missing, which used to be in stock regularly. The shelf space had been used for these pop philosophy books instead. It was disappointing.

I do not deny that certain movies, television shows, songs, etc. have elements that can spur philosophical analysis. And it's likely that some of these books are better than others.

It seems to me that many of the virtues advocated by classic Greek philosophy are at odds with consumptive entertainment. In other words, following Marshall McLuhan, think the medium is contradicting the message.

My hope, I suppose, is that these books will be a gateway for people into more substantial (that may mean "boring" from a pop culture perspective) philosophy books. When philosophy tries too hard to be relevant to cultural phenomenon, philosophy will likely end up taking a back seat.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Thanks for the comment, Jordan. I share your hope and your concern. (I suppose these constitute part of what makes the books interesting.)

P.S. For the record: In my advertisement of the "And Philosophy" books, I was (besides advertising) making a wee attempt at humour by displaying a book about Inception and then saying the books are "really" interesting. Yes, I need to work harder at this....

Jordan said...

Certainly, and I didn't mean to dissuade you from writing about things that you or others have mixed feelings about. I definitely don't want to squash discussion.

And for the record, I loved Inception. In fact, my wife hasn't seen it so that gives me an excuse to watch it again! :)