Wiley
Wiley.com
Print this page Share

Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems

William Irwin (Series Editor), James B. South (Editor), Rod Carveth (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-60301-7
272 pages
June 2010
Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems (0470603011) cover image
A look at the philosophical underpinnings of the hit TV show, Mad Men

With its swirling cigarette smoke, martini lunches, skinny ties, and tight pencil skirts, Mad Men is unquestionably one of the most stylish, sexy, and irresistible shows on television. But the series becomes even more absorbing once you dig deeper into its portrayal of the changing social and political mores of 1960s America and explore the philosophical complexities of its key characters and themes. From Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand, Mad Men and Philosophy brings the thinking of some of history's most powerful minds to bear on the world of Don Draper and the Sterling Cooper ad agency. You'll gain insights into a host of compelling Mad Men questions and issues, including happiness, freedom, authenticity, feminism, Don Draper's identity, and more.

  • Takes an unprecedented look at the philosophical issues and themes behind AMC's Emmy Award-winning show, Mad Men
  • Explores issues ranging from identity to authenticity to feminism, and more
  • Offers new insights on your favorite Mad Men characters, themes, and storylines

Mad Men and Philosophy will give Mad Men fans everywhere something new to talk about around the water cooler.

See More
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: "I Think We Need to Salute That!"

Introduction: "A Thing Like That".

PART ONE: "PEOPLE MAY SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY, BUT THEY DON’T REALLY WANT TO": MAD MEN AND PROBLEMS OF KNOWLEDGE AND FREEDOM.

1 What Fools We Were: Mad Men, Hindsight, and Justification (Landon W. Schurtz).

2 "People Want to Be Told What to Do So Badly That They'll Listen to Anyone": Mimetic Madness at Sterling Cooper (George A. Dunn).

3 Capitalism and Freedom in the Affluent Society (Kevin Guilfoy).

PART TWO: "THERE IS NO BIG LIE, THERE IS NO SYSTEM, THE UNIVERSE IS INDIFFERENT": MAD MEN AND THE PROBLEM OF MEANING.

4 Pete, Peggy, Don, and the Dialectic of Remembering and Forgetting (John Fritz).

5 The Existential Void of Roger Sterling (Raymond Angelo Belliotti).

6 Egoless Egoists: The Second-Hand Lives of Mad Men (Robert White).

7 An Existential Look at Mad Men: Don Draper, Advertising, and the Promise of Happiness (Ada S. Jaarsma).

PART THREE: "AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPINESS IS?": MAD MEN AND ETHICS.

8 "In on It": Honesty, Respect, and the Ethics of Advertising (Andreja Novakovic and Tyler Whitney).

9 Creating the Need for the New: "It's Not the Wheel. It's the Carousel." (George Teschner and Gabrielle Teschner).

10 "You're Looking in the Wrong Direction": Mad Men and the Ethics of Advertising (Adam Barkman).

11 Is Don Draper a Good Man? (Andrew Terjesen).

12 Don Draper, on How to Make Oneself (Whole Again) (John Elia).

PART FOUR: "NO ONE ELSE IS SAYING THE RIGHT THING ABOUT THIS": MAD MEN AND SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY.

13 "And Nobody Understands That, but You Do": The Aristotelian Ideal of Friendship among the Mad Men (and Women) (Abigail E. Myers).

14 Mad Women: Aristotle, Second-Wave Feminism, and the Women of Mad Men (Ashley Jihee Barkman).

15 "We've Got Bigger Problems to Worry about Than TV, Okay?" Mad Men and Race (Rod Carveth).

16 "New York City Is a Marvelous Machine": Mad Men and the Power of Social Convention (James B. South).

APPENDIX: It's Not a List of Titles and Air Dates; It's an Episode Guide.

CONTRIBUTORS: Some Real Mad Men and Women.

INDEX: Client Files Lifted from Sterling Cooper.

See More
ROD CARVETH is an assistant professor in the department of Communications Media at Fitchburg State College.

JAMES B. SOUTH is chair of the philosophy department at Marquette University. He edited Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy and James Bond 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 Twilight and Philosophy.

See More
March 29, 2011
Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems

Mad Men may be stylish, sexy, and utterly absorbing in its portrayal of the changing social and political mores of 1960s America, but understanding the philosophy behind this show is even more fascinating. Who is the real Don Draper? Is Roger Sterling an existential void? If Peggy forgets about her baby, does that mean the pregnancy never happened? What are the ethics of advertising? Mad Men and Philosophy (Wiley; June 2010; By James B. South; Series Editor William Irwin) answers these questions and many others.

  • Takes an unprecedented look at the philosophical issues and themes behind AMC’s Emmy Award-winning show, Mad Men
  • Explores issues ranging from identity to authenticity to feminism, and more
  • Offers new insights on your favorite Mad Men characters, themes, and storylines

Mad Men and Philosophy will give Mad Men fans everywhere something new to talk about around the water cooler.

See More

Related Titles

Back to Top