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The Ultimate South Park and Philosophy: Respect My Philosophah!

Robert Arp (Editor), Kevin S. Decker (Editor), William Irwin (Series Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-118-38992-8
288 pages
June 2013
The Ultimate South Park and Philosophy: Respect My Philosophah! (1118389921) cover image


Enlightenment from the South Park gang faster than you can say, "Screw you guys, I'm going home"!

The Ultimate South Park and Philosophy: Respect My Philosophah! presents a compilation of serious philosophical reflections on the twisted insights voiced by characters in TV’s most irreverent animated series.

  • Offers readers a philosophically smart and candid approach to one of television’s most subversive and controversial shows as it enters its 17th season
  • Draws sharp parallels between the irreverent nature of South Park and the inquiring and skeptical approach of Western philosophy
  • Journeys deep beyond the surface of the show’s scatological humor to address the perennial questions raised in South Park and the contemporary social and political issues that inspire each episode
  • Utilizes familiar characters and episodes to illustrate such philosophical topics as moral relativism, freedom of expression, gay marriage, blasphemy, democracy, feminism, animal ethics, existential questions, and much more
  • It’s a Bigger, Longer & Uncut version of the highly acclaimed South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today—and is guaranteed to be much funnier than killing Kenny
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Table of Contents

Introduction: “Well, I’m Afraid It’s About to Happen Again” 1
Robert Arp and Kevin S. Decker

Part I Doing Philosophical Things with South Park 5

1 Flatulence and Philosophy: A Lot of Hot Air, or the Corruption of Youth? 7
Willie Young

2 You Know, I Learned Something Today: Stan Marsh and the Ethics of Belief 19
Henry Jacoby

3 “Imaginationland,” Terrorism, and the Difference Between Real and Imaginary 29
Christopher C. Kirby

4 Dude, Listen to Reason! Logic Lessons Inside and Outside South Park 41
Robert Arp

Part II South Park and … Religion 53

5 Science, Religion, South Park, and God 55
David Kyle Johnson

6 “Your Magic Is No Match for Our Powers Combined!”—Religious Pluralism and the Search for Truth 71
Jeffrey Dueck

7 Cartmanland and the Problem of Evil 83
David Kyle Johnson

Part III South Park versus … Religion 95

8 “Respect My Religiositah!”—South Park and Blasphemy 97
David Koepsell

9 Mary’s Menses and Morality: Blasphemy in South Park 108
Kevin J. Murtagh

10 South Park, The Book of Mormon, and How Religious Fundamentalists Always Find a Way to Be Naive and Arrogant at the Same Time 119
Roberto Sirvent and Neil Baker

Part IV Respecting My Authoritah! in South Park 131

11 Juvenile Hijinks With Serious Subtext: Dissent and Democracy in South Park 133
David Valleau Curtis and Gerald J. Erion

12 Of Marx and Mantequilla: Labor and Immigration in “The Last of the Meheecans” 143
Jeffrey Ewing

13 “Vote or Die, Bitch”—Does Every Vote Count in a Two-Party System? 153
John Scott Gray

14 Socioeconomic Darwinism from a South Park Perspective 164
Dale Jacquette

Part V Liber-arianism in South Park 175

15 Cartman Shrugged: South Park and Libertarian Philosophy 177
Paul A. Cantor

16 Sitting Downtown at Kentucky Fried Chicken: One Toke Over the Line 194
Kevin S. Decker

17 Cat Urine, Medicinal Fried Chicken, and Smoking: South Park’s Anti-Paternalistic Libertarianism 208
Shane D. Courtland

Part VI There’s a Time and a Place for Everything, Children 221

18 You (Still) Can’t Get Married, You’re Faggots: Mrs. Garrison and the Gay Marriage Debate 223
Jacob M. Held

19 Cute and Cuddly Animals versus Yummy Animals 236
Cynthia Jones

20 Aesthetic Value, Ethos, and Phil Collins: The Power of Music in South Park 247
Per F. Broman

Contributors 260

Index 265

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Author Information

Robert Arp is an analyst working with the U.S. Government. He has done data modeling work as an ontologist, and has taught philosophy courses at colleges and universities, too. His interests include philosophy of biology, ontology in the information science sense, and philosophy and pop culture.

Kevin S. Decker teaches philosophy at Eastern Washington University, where he is also an Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Letters and Education. His research interests are American pragmatism, Continental philosophy, ethics, philosophy and pop culture, and social theory.

William Irwin is Professor of Philosophy at King’s College. 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 Superman and Philosophy, Black Sabbath and Philosophy, and Spider-Man and Philosophy.

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