Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul

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Mark D. White, Robert Arp
John Wiley & Sons, Jun 23, 2008 - Philosophy - 294 pages
9 Reviews
Why doesn't Batman just kill the Joker and end everyone's misery?

Can we hold the Joker morally responsible for his actions?

Is Batman better than Superman?

If everyone followed Batman's example,

would Gotham be a better place?

What is the Tao of the Bat?

Batman is one of the most complex characters ever to appear in comic books, graphic novels, and on the big screen. What philosophical trials does this superhero confront in order to keep Gotham safe? Combing through seventy years of comic books, television shows, and movies, Batman and Philosophy explores how the Dark Knight grapples with ethical conundrums, moral responsibility, his identity crisis, the moral weight he carries to avenge his murdered parents, and much more. How does this caped crusader measure up against the teachings of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Lao Tzu?

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Fantastic book

User Review  - Dairymilklady - Tesco

My son says - Great book, really enjoyable read, I'm sixteen and studying philosophy and this book has really come in handy with the philosophy side but all the batman stuff is really enjoyable as well. Recommend it! Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aadyer - LibraryThing

Excellent overview & there are some brilliant essays in this, making this surprisingly accessible at times. There are some duff efforts and there are some mediocre efforts but these are few & far ... Read full review


Meet the Joker
Is Batman a Utilitarian or Deontologist? Or None of the Above?
To the BatTrolley Professor Thomson
Hush WillLoveThis Next Story
I Want My Lawyer Oh Thats Right I Killed Him Too
So Case ClosedRight?
What Should a Batman Do?
The Duty of the Superhero
How Batman Sees Through the Lies about Identity and Reality
Batman andWell Uh You KnowBats
Can You Face the Bat?
A Modal Question
Some NotSoSecret Things about Identity
Picking through Possible Worlds
Necessary Secret Identities
The Batman and The Robin

Using Robin for the General Good
Crime Fighting and Character
Can Batman Train Robin in Virtue?
Sometimes Heroes Fail
Batman Hates
Vice and Hatred
Is Batman Virtuous or Does He Do Virtuous Things?
Batmans Hatred Is Virtuous
Batmans Hatred Is Not in His SelfInterest
Lacking Balance
Gotham City and New Orleans
The Road to No Mans Land
Villains Gangs and Hobbess State of Nature
Violence in the Quest for Justice
The Witness of Nonviolent Humanitarians
Batman and the Restoration of Order
The Thin Veil
Gotham Made Me Do It
Do We Need Any Stinking Badges? Legitimacy and Violence
Hobbes and Gotham
Two Little Security
Nietzschean Rebellions
Batman and Gordon
Theorizing Government
Laugh and the World Laughs with Youor Does It?
Clearing Out Some Bats in the Belfry
Putting One More Card on the Table Dont Worry Its Not a Joker
The Fall from Freedom
Who Has the Last Laugh?
Batman Begins
The Nature of the Promise
Promises and Morality
Making Promises to the Dead
Batman Returns
Batman Forever?
What to Do with So Much Time and Money?
Batmans First Real Nemesis
The Battle over Aiding Gotham
No Supererogatory Superheroes
Letting the Light of Reason Illuminate the BatCave
But This Ruins Everything
Moral Exemplars
The Unrealistic Objection
The Language Objection
The Exaggeration Objection
Incomplete Information
But Then Again
Batman the Icon
So You Wanna Be Batman?
Building a Batman
Arkham Asylum and the Construction of Truth
Your Turn Batman
Fictions and Possible Worlds
All Joking Aside This Is a Modal Muddle
Comics Conditions and Counterexamples
Wittgenstein and Language Games
Games and Gotham
Robin? Whos That?
Keeping It in the Family?
Answering the Batphone
What Its Not Like to Be Batman
Bats and Thomas Nagel
What It Is Like to Be Out of the Asylum
The Saint
Law and Fairness versus Love and Devotion
The Absurdity of It All
Absurdity Irony and Faith
Batman the Knight of the Infinite Resignation
Alfred the Knight of Faith
Paradox and Peace
Does Batman Have a Conscience?
Conscience and Authority
Money Hot Tubs and Lifes Tough Decisions
Seeing Things Clearly with Better BatVision
Feeling Guilty or How to Battle the Blues
Dark Nights and the Call of Authentic Conscience
Conclusions Capes and Cowls
A Determined Batman?
Alfred and Appearance
Thrown into Our Worlds
Death and the Dark Knight
I Shall Become a Bat
Determinism and the Dark Knight
Batfans Bane
How We Make Evaluative Comparisons
Begging the Question
Superheroes and Bravery
To Be Continued
Worlds Finest
That SupermanWhat a Guy
Superman the Aristotelian
What Kind of Friend Is Batmanor Bruce Wayne?
Batman the Nietzschean
Batman versus Superman
Best Superfriends Forever?
A Superhero without Superpowers
Aristotle and LearningbyDoing
Is Batman a Morally Exemplary Human Being?
Authority Shmauthority
And in the Other Corner Kant
Dick Grayson and How to Become an Autonomous Human Being or Your Money Back
Leaving the Shadow of the Bat

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About the author (2008)

Mark D. White is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY.

Robert Arp is a postdoctoral research associate through the National Center for Biomedical Ontology at the University at Buffalo, and edited South Park and Philosophy.

William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College, Pennsylvania, and has coedited The Simpsons and Philosophy and edited Seinfeld and Philosophy, The Matrix and Philosophy, and Metallica and Philosophy.

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