Superhero Thought Experiments

Comic Book Philosophy


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2019
224 pages, 12 b&w figures, 6 × 9 inches
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$22.50
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9781609386559
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9781609386566

“Truly amazing! In a titanic team-up, Gavaler and Goldberg provide a secret origin for superhero fans and philosophers of the future (who may be the same people). Superhero fans will find they’ve transformed, changed into philosophizers who understand something deeper about the world. And philosophers will look back on Superhero Thought Experiments and see the laboratory where they gained their mental powers.”—Peter M. Coogan, author, Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre 

Superhero Thought Experiments presents a novel perspective on both comics and philosophy, arguing that superhero comics provide a rich source of philosophical thought experiments. Gavaler and Goldberg’s book should be required reading both for philosophers and for fans of comics interested in how philosophy is done.”—Roy T. Cook, author, The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach 

“From the earliest issues of the original Superman and Batman adventures, the writers of superhero comics have been doing philosophy. This great new book makes it clear how superheroes can help us think about some of the most important ideas we’ll ever confront. We adults ignore comics to our own intellectual peril. The artwork is amazing, but so are the thought experiments. So, put on your cape and take off! It’s time for Truth, Justice, and the Philosophical Way!”—Tom Morris, author, Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way 

“Comics can teach you about philosophy, and philosophy will help you understand comics. What is right and wrong? What is the nature of the self? Is time really real? Superhero comics deal seriously with these classic philosophical issues.”—David Carrier, author, Aesthetics of the Margins/The Margins of AestheticsWild Art Explained

Examining the deep philosophical topics addressed in superhero comics, authors Gavaler and Goldberg read plot lines for the complex thought experiments they contain and analyze their implications as if the comic authors were philosophers. Reading superhero comic books through a philosophical lens reveals how they experiment with complex issues of morality, metaphysics, meaning, and medium. Given comics’ ubiquity and influence directly on (especially young) readers—and indirectly on consumers of superhero movies and video games—understanding these deeper meanings is in many ways essential to understanding contemporary popular culture. The result is an entertaining and enlightening look at superhero dilemmas. 

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