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The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy: You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned

Jason T. Eberl (Editor), Kevin S. Decker (Editor), William Irwin (Series Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-119-03808-5
336 pages
August 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy: You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned (1119038081) cover image

Description

Does it take faith to be a Jedi? Are droids capable of thought? Should Jar Jar Binks be held responsible for the rise of the Empire? Presenting entirely new essays, no aspect of the myth and magic of George Lucas’s creation is left philosophically unexamined in The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy.

  • The editors of the original Star Wars and Philosophy strike back in this Ultimate volume that encompasses the complete Star Wars universe
  • Presents the most far-reaching examination of the philosophy behind Star Wars – includes coverage of the entire film catalogue to date as well as the Expanded Universe of novels, comics, television series, games and toys
  • Provides serious explorations into the deeper meaning of George Lucas’s philosophically rich creation
  • Topics explored include the moral code of bounty-hunter favourite Boba Fett, Stoicism and the Jedi Order, the nature of the Dark Side, Anakin and Achilles in a nihilism face-off, feminism and being chained to a giant slug, cloning, de-extinction, fatherhood, Wookiees, loyalty, betrayal, guardians, republics, tyrants, terrorism, civic duty, friendship, family, and more!
  • Publishing in time for the global release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015 – hotly anticipated to become the first film to top $3 billion in worldwide box office sales



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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments: Legacy of the Force ix

Introduction: “The Circle Is Now Complete” 1

I The Philosophical Menace 5

1 The Platonic Paradox of Darth Plagueis: How Could a Sith Lord Be Wise? 7
Terrance MacMullan

2 “You Are Asking Me to Be Rational”: Stoic Philosophy and the Jedi Order 20
Matt Hummel

3 The Jedi Knights of Faith: Anakin, Luke, and Søren (Kierkegaard) 31
William A. Lindenmuth

4 Anakin and Achilles: Scars of Nihilism 42
Don Adams

5 Dark Times: The End of the Republic and the Beginning of Chinese Philosophy 53
Kevin S. Decker

II Attack of the Morals 65

6 Chasing Kevin Smith: Was It Immoral for the Rebel Alliance to Destroy Death Star II? 67
Charles C. Camosy

7 The Ballad of Boba Fett: Mercenary Agency and Amoralism in War 79
David LaRocca

8 How Guilty Is Jar Jar Binks? 90
Nicolas Michaud

9 “Know the Dark Side”: A Theodicy of the Force 100
Jason T. Eberl

III Revenge of the Alliance 115

10 “Like My Father before Me”: Loss and Redemption of Fatherhood in Star Wars 117
Charles Taliaferro and Annika Beck

11 The Friends of a Jedi: Friendship, Family, and Civic Duty in a Galaxy at War 127
Greg Littmann

12 Light Side, Dark Side, and Switching Sides: Loyalty and Betrayal in Star Wars 136
Daniel Malloy

13 Guardians and Tyrants in the Republics of Star Wars and Plato 148
Adam Barkman and Kyle Alkema

IV A New Hermeneutic 159

14 Pregnant Padm´e and Slave Leia: Star Wars’ Female Role Models 161
Cole Bowman

15 Docile Bodies and a Viscous Force: Fear of the Flesh in Return of the Jedi 172
Jennifer L. McMahon

16 Of Battle Droids and Zillo Beasts: Moral Status in the Star Wars Galaxy 183
James M. Okapal

V Metaphysics Strikes Back 193

17 Why the Force Must Have a Dark Side 195
George A. Dunn

18 What Is It Like to Be a Jedi? A Life in the Force 208
Marek McGann

19 “Never Tell Me the Odds”: An Inquiry Concerning Jedi Understanding 219
Andrew Zimmerman Jones

VI Return of the Non-Human 229

20 Mindless Philosophers and Overweight Globs of Grease: Are Droids Capable of Thought? 231
Dan Burkett

21 Can Chewie Speak? Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Language 240
Rhiannon Grant and Myfanwy Reynolds

22 Can the Zillo Beast Strike Back? Cloning, De-extinction, and the Species Problem 250
Leonard Finkelman

VII The Fandom Awakens 261

23 “In That Time . . . ” in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Epic Myth-Understandings and Myth-Appropriation in Star Wars 263
John Thompson

24 Star Wars, Emotions, and the Paradox of Fiction 274
Lance Belluomini

25 The Mind of Blue Snaggletooth: The Intentional Stance, Vintage Star Wars Action Figures, and the Origins of Religion 287
Dennis Knepp

26 Gospel, Gossip, and Ghent: How Should We Understand the New Star Wars? 296
Roy T. Cook and Nathan Kellen

Contributors: Troopers of the 501st Legion 308

Index 317

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Author Information

Jason T. Eberl is the Semler Endowed Chair for Medical Ethics and Professor of Philosophy at Marian University in Indianapolis, where he teaches bioethics, ethics, and medieval philosophy. He authored Thomistic Principles and Bioethics (2006), and is the editor of Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008) and co-editor of Sons of Anarchy and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).

Kevin S. Decker is Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Washington University, where he teaches ethics, American and Continental Philosophy, and philosophy of popular culture. He is the editor or co-editor of five previous books on pop culture including Terminator and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), Ender’s Game and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), The Ultimate South Park and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) and Who is Who? The Philosophy of Doctor Who (2013).

Together, Eberl and Decker are the editors of Star Wars and Philosophy (2005).

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