Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy: The Footprints of a Gigantic Mind
Open Court Publishing, 2011 - Philosophy - 376 pages
This entertaining collection of essays deserves to exist because Sherlock Holmes sees things others don’t. He sees the world in a different way, and by so doing, allows us to see that same world - and human behavior - in different ways as well. Oh, sure, there have been countless detectives who have followed in his footsteps and who seem to rival his abilities. Just turn on the TV or browse the local bookshop and you’ll find idiosyncratic super sleuths using forensics and reasoning to solve a whole host of crimes and misdeeds.
And yet no one rivals our dear, dear Holmes. Why does Sherlock reign, even more than a century later, as king? Can this mystery be solved? Unable to reach either Holmes or Watson (or Doyle for that matter, though we’ve tried every medium we can think of), we’ve been forced to gather our own team of investigators to practice their powers of observation and perception, to apply their own reasoning and methodologies to the task at hand. The results, I fear, have led us to a number of cases that must be solved first.
Is Holmes simply eccentric or a sociopath? s he human, a dog or something from the holodeck? Is he as dangerous on the page as he is in person? Wait - does he even exist? For that matter, do you? (I fear several investigators have been forced to take a much needed holiday after wrestling with that one.)
What is the source of his faculty of observation and facility for deduction? Systematic training as Watson surmises? Genetic? Or is he just really lucky?
And is this whole logic thing compatible with emotions? Are Holmes and Watson good friends or soul mates? Just what is the nature of friendship? Do they complete each other or just get on each other’s nerves? And why all the secrecy? Disguises? Deceptions?
The plot thickens. What is the essence of consciousness? Is the observable world subject to our intentions? Why does Holmes debunk mysticism when Doyle so readily embraces it? Why is Holmes our favorite drug user?
Our notebooks are filled with clues and, dare I say, answers. Is there more than one way to define the concept, justice? Is hope necessary in the world? Is boredom? Play? Can anything really be understood? Objectively?
And just what is the last unresolved mystery involving Sherlock Holmes? The game that's afoot isn't just the thing being pursued but the fun to be had as well.
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abduction Adventure Arthur Conan Arthur Conan Doyle Baker Street Baskervilles believe bored boredom canon character clues cocaine Conan Doyle conclusion consulting detective crime criminal Data dear deceive deception deduction disguise Doyle’s Edited emotions Episode evidence example explanation fact false famous fear fiction film genre Holmes and Watson Holmes stories Holmes’s Holmes’s method holodeck hope Hound human hyperreal hypotheses imagination induction inductive reasoning investigation Irene Adler Japanese Jeremy Brett justice knowledge Lestrade lives logic look man’s masculinity means mind moral Moriarty Moriarty’s murder Mycroft mystery narrative never object observation one’s perhaps person Philosophy play police possible problem Problem of Induction Professor Moriarty question reality reasoning Ronder Scandal in Bohemia scene seems sense Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes’s solve someone Spinoza Star Trek Study in Scarlet television tells texts theory there’s things true truth understand Valley of Fear Victorian what’s woman