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The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles

William Irwin (Editor), Gregory Bassham (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-39825-8
304 pages
September 2010
The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles  (0470398256) cover image

A philosophical exploration of the entire seven-book Harry Potter series

Harry Potter has been heralded as one of the most popular book series of all time and the philosophical nature of Harry, Hermione, and Ron's quest to rid the world of its ultimate evil is one of the many things that make this series special. The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy covers all seven titles in J.K. Rowling's groundbreaking series and takes fans back to Godric's Hollow to discuss life after death, to consider what moral reasoning drove Harry to choose death, and to debate whether Sirius Black is a man or a dog.

With publication timed to coincide with the release of the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1), this book will be the definitive guide for all fans looking to appreciate the series on a deeper level.

  • Covers a range of intriguing topics such as the redemption of Severus Snape, the power of love, and destiny in the wizarding world
  • Gives you a new perspective on Harry Potter characters, plot lines, and themes
  • Makes a perfect companion to the Harry Potter books and movies

Packed with interesting ideas and insights, The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy is an ideal companion for anyone interested in unraveling the subtext and exploring the greater issues at work in the story.

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Foreword by Tom Morris.

Acknowledgments: Some House Points I'd Like to Make.

Introduction: Harry Potter and the Enchantment of Philosophy.

PART ONE The Horcrux of the Matter: Destiny, Identity, and the Soul.

1 The Soul in Harry Potter (Scott Sehon).

2 Sirius Black: Man or Dog? (Eric Saidel).

3 Destiny in the Wizarding World (Jeremy Pierce).

PART TWO The Most Powerful Magic of All.

4 Choosing Love: The Redemption of Severus Snape (Catherine Jack Deavel and David Paul Deavel).

5 Love Potion No. 9¾ (Gregory Bassham).

6 Harry Potter, Radical Feminism, and the Power of Love (Anne Collins Smith).

PART THREE Potterwatch: Freedom and Politics.

7 Patriotism, House Loyalty, and the Obligations of Belonging (Andrew P. Mills).

8 Dumbledore's Politics (Beth Admiraal and Regan Lance Reitsma).

9 Dumbledore, Plato, and the Lust for Power (David Lay Williams and Alan J. Kellner).

PART FOUR The Room of Requirement: A Potter Potpourri.

10 Is Dumbledore Gay? Who's to Say? (Tamar Szabó Gendler).

11 Choices vs. Abilities: Dumbledore on Self-Understanding (Gregory Bassham).

12 The Magic of Personal Transformation (S. Joel Garver).

13 Just in Your Head? J. K. Rowling on Separating Reality from Illusion (John Granger with Gregory Bassham).

14 A Pensieve for Your Thoughts? Harry Potter and the Magic of Memory (Amy Kind).

15 A Hogwarts Education: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Gregory Bassham).

PART FIVE Beyond the Veil: Death, Hope, and Meaning.

16 The Real Secret of the Phoenix: Moral Regeneration through Death (Charles Talia).

17 Beyond Godric's Hollow: Life after Death and the Search for Meaning (Jonathan L. Walls and Jerry L. Walls).

18 Why Harry and Socrates Decide to Die: Virtue and the Common Good (Michael W. Austin).

Contributors: The Hogwarts (for Muggles) Faculty.

The Marauder's Index.

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GREGORY BASSHAM is chair of the Philosophy Department and a professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is coeditor of the forthcoming The Hobbit and Philosophy and has coedited The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy, and Basketball and Philosophy.

WILLIAM IRWIN is a professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles, including Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy.

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October 06, 2010
The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy, Hogwarts for Muggles

Harry Potter, arguably the most popular story book series of all time, has been critically acclaimed for its myriad of interweaving plot lines that draw on the universal themes of good versus evil, love, death, power, sacrifice and hope.

The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy, Hogwarts for Muggles, examines how these themes resonate with ancient and modern philosophy.

The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy covers all seven J.K. Rowling's titles and explores the philosophical questions that are unveiled through Harry, Hermione, and Ron's adventures and quests to rid their world of evil.

Some of the philosophical perspectives explored include:

  • Harry Potter, Radical Feminism, and the Power of love (p.80)
  • What can Severus Snape teach us about the possibility of redemption? (p.53)
  • Choices versus Abilities: Dumbledore on self understanding. (p.157)

Drawing on the work of modern day, and ancient philosophers, this book is the definitive guide for all Harry Potter fans looking to unravel the subtext and appreciate the series on a deeper level.

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