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LEGO and Philosophy: Constructing Reality Brick By Brick

William Irwin (Series Editor), Roy T. Cook (Editor), Sondra Bacharach (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-119-19397-5
256 pages
August 2017, Wiley-Blackwell
LEGO and Philosophy: Constructing Reality Brick By Brick (1119193974) cover image

Description

How profound is a little plastic building block? It turns out the answer is “very”! 22 chapters explore philosophy through the world of LEGO which encompasses the iconic brick itself as well as the animated televisions shows, feature films, a vibrant adult fan base with over a dozen yearly conventions, an educational robotics program, an award winning series of videogames, hundreds of books, magazines, and comics, a team-building workshop program for businesses and much, much more.

  • Dives into the many philosophical ideas raised by LEGO bricks and the global multimedia phenomenon they have created
  • Tackles metaphysical, logical, moral, and conceptual issues in a series of fascinating and stimulating essays
  • Introduces key areas of philosophy through topics such as creativity and play, conformity and autonomy, consumption and culture, authenticity and identity, architecture, mathematics, intellectual property, business and environmental ethics
  • Written by a global group of esteemed philosophers and LEGO fans
  • A lively philosophical discussion of bricks, minifigures, and the LEGO world that will appeal to LEGO fans and armchair philosophers alike
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors ix

Introduction: Play Well, Philosophize Well! 1
Sondra Bacharach and Roy T. Cook

Part I LEGO® and Creativity 5

1 Constructing Creativity 7
Mary Beth Willard

2 Building Blocks of Thought: LEGO® and the Philosophy of Play 17
Tyler Shores

3 LEGO® Formalism in Architecture 27
Saul Fisher

4 “That Was My Idea!”: LEGO® Ideas and Intellectual Property 39
Michael Gettings

Part II LEGO®, Ethics, and Rules 49

5 “You Know the Rules!” What’s Wrong with The Man Upstairs? 51
Jon Robson

6 Searching for “The Special”: The LEGO® Movie and the Value of (LEGO®) Persons 59
Alexander Quanbeck

7 LEGO® and the Social Blocks of Autonomy 69
Eric Chelstrom

8 Building and Dwelling with Heidegger and LEGO® Toys 79
Ellen Miller

Part III LEGO® and Identity 89

9 Ninjas, Kobe Bryant, and Yellow Plastic: The LEGO® Minifigure and Race 91
Roy T. Cook

10 Girl, LEGO® Friends is not your Friend! Does LEGO® Construct Gender Stereotypes? 103
Rebecca Gutwald

11 Representation in Plastic and Marketing: The Significance of the LEGO® Women Scientists 113
Rhiannon Grant and Ruth Wainman

12 Real Signature Figures: LEGO® Minifigures and the Human Individual 123
Robert M. Mentyka

Part IV LEGO®, Consumption, and Culture 133

13 LEGO® Values: Image and Reality 135
Sondra Bacharach and Ramon Das

14 Small Farms, Big Ideas: LEGO® Farm and Agricultural Idealism 145
Craig Van Pelt

15 The Reality of LEGO®: Building the Apocalypse 153
David Lueth

16 The American Archipelago: Touring the Nation at Miniland USA 163
Samantha J. Boardman

Part V LEGO®, Metaphysics, and Math 173

17 The Brick, the Plate, and the Uncarved Block: LEGO® as an Expression of Dao 175
Steve Bein

18 LEGO®, Impermanence, and Buddhism 185
David Kahn

19 LEGO® and the Building Blocks of Metaphysics 197
Stephan Leuenberger

20 What Can You Build? 207
Bob Fischer

21 Playing with LEGO® and Proving Theorems 217
Fenner Tanswell

Glossary 227
Alice Leber-Cook and Roy T. Cook

Index 233

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Author Information

Roy T. Cook is CLA Scholar of the College and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Resident Fellow at the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science. He is the author of Paradoxes (Polity, 2013) and The Yablo Paradox (2014), the editor of The Arché Papers on the Mathematics of Abstraction (2007), and co-editor of The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley Blackwell, 2012) and The Routledge Companion to Comics (2016). No matter how much LEGO he buys, he never seems to have enough headlight bricks.

Sondra Bacharach is Senior Lecturer in the philosophy department at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She works in philosophy of art and philosophy for children. She is co-editor of Collaborating Now: Art in the Twenty-first Century (2016) and is the former co-editor of the American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter. When she's not doing philosophy, she can be found building Classic Spaceships (Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!) with her kids' big box of LEGO.

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