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Contemporary Philosophy


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Popular Studies

Doctor Who and Philosophy edited by Courtland Lewis and Paula Smithka (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series: Open Court)

Doctor Who is the longest-running science-fiction television show in history. The old (or Classic 1963-1989) Doctor Who series built up a loyal American cult following with regular conventions and other activities. The current series, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is breaking all earlier records, in both the UK and the US.

In Doctor Who and Philosophy, a team of mostly human philosophers (who are also fans) looks at the deeper issues raised by the Doctor's mind-blowing adventures. They discuss, among other topics, the Doctor's philosophy of science, the ethics of a universe with millions of intelligent species, what makes one life-form more important than another, whether time travelers can change history, and how the Doctor Who TV show is changing the world we live in.

Doctor Who and Philosophy examines issues of personal identity and explains how the Doctor provides valuable insights into understanding who we are, the volume also discusses Doctor Who's representation of science, logic, speciesism, perception, physics, and causation. The chapters draw freely on both the classic series and the new series. The book includes a collection of entertaining and insightful quotes from Doctor Who plus a complete list of episodes and companions.

Courtland Lewis is a lifelong Doctor Who fan and a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Paula Smithka, coeditor of Community, Diversity, and Difference: Implications for Peace, is associate professor of philosophy at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Opening this book is like opening the door to the TARDIS: we get to spend time with our favorite incarnations of the Doctor whether the First, the Fourth, the Eleventh, or Doctor-Donna, and ponder what it means to travel through time, grow a new personality, fall in love, sacrifice for a greater good, and experience the cosmos for all the wonder it is. Really, Doctor Who and Philosophy is even better than a Sonic Screwdriver. Josef Steiff, Professor of Film at Columbia College Chicago and author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Independent Filmmaking
This dimensionally transcendental volume explains what the Doctor never gets around to until later: the basics of Gallifreyan philosophy and ethics, as translated through Earths philosophers. A fun, informative volume for folks interested in an introduction to philosophy through the vortex of Doctor Who. Lynne M. Thomas, co-editor of Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It
Lewis and Smithka have done all sapient species a brilliant service by introducing Doctor Who and Philosophy into the time continuum. Like the Doctors human companions, we get to travel through a universe of Big Ideas with a caring, clever, and, yes, conflicted friend. Next to a real TARDIS swooping down and carrying us off, nothing could beat the experience of reading this book. Patrick D. Hopkins, editor of Sex/Machine
Doctor Who and Philosophy makes you want to go right back to episodes like Robot and The Brain of Morbius so you can watch them again, now that you know what theyre really about. No series in the entire history of television has lit up all the beacons of classic philosophy like Doctor Who, and this brilliant book is chock full of Time Lord enlightenment. Rob Arp, Consulting Ontologist and author of Scenario Visualization: An Evolutionary Account of Creative Problem Solving
An intriguing collection of essays that examines Doctor Who from every philosophical angle imaginable. Do you want theories and contradictions of time travel? Its in there. Do you want a deep examination of the nature of identity, as understood through the Doctor and his regenerative ability? Its in there, too, and it is considered from a variety of philosophical approaches. And so is much, much more. Lewis and Smithka have assembled a fascinating anthology, one that all Who fans, media scholars, and armchair philosophers should want on their shelves. Chris Hansen, editor of Ruminations, Peregrinations, and Regenerations: A Critical Approach to Doctor Who

Fascinating, fun and educational, Doctor Who and Philosophy is a great addition to the popular series, Popular Culture and Philosophy, of which it is volume 55. A section on ethics provides both a nice introduction to ethics and also some important insights into how the Doctor tells us to live the good life.


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