Thursday, August 12, 2010

Batman versus Kant

The Beeb has a good story today about how philosophy professors are using comic book narratives to illustrate philosophical concepts and to make their courses more interesting to students.

Mary Marvel knows all!

It's not so much that the average Lycra clad vigilante has any profound insight into epistemology or ontology, but that they can fill the seats in the classroom.

"We are not saying that the canon of Superman comic books is equivalent to Homer and Dante and you can study them for their own sake. We're not suggesting that comic books replace Plato and Descartes - not at all. The goal is always to get people interested in philosophy by speaking first in terms that people are familiar with."

Sounds like a bit of academic "the ends justify the means" to me, but I guess it's relatively harmless. Maybe they'll even start using those Action Philosophers! comics. I suppose the next logical progression will be that they start teaching The Philosophy of Yu-Gi-Oh!.

In other comics news, Jay has posted that Darkhorse is reprinting  the old Marvel John Carter titles. Those are the ones that took place in that nine year span mentioned at the end of A Princess of Mars.

For nine years I served in the councils and fought in the armies of Helium as a prince of the house of Tardos Mors. The people seemed never to tire of heaping honors upon me, and no day passed that did not bring some new proof of their love for my princess, the incomparable Dejah Thoris.

I have some of those comics, and, IIRC, the first ten are good, but after that they veer into blatant sword-and-sorcery type fantasy. Still enjoyable for the Gil Kane art, though.


Jay said...

I say we need more opportunities to mix Kant and Kirby! Thanks for the shout-out BTW!

Jerry Cornelius said...

I wish it were more a case of the academy recognizing instances of serious speculation in comics (or sf novels). Like the way Zizek will sometimes reference sf to make a point. Instead it seems more like they're pandering to the students. But maybe I'm being too cynical.