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Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality



Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality

William Irwin (Series Editor), Mark D. White (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-58310-4 February 2010 288 Pages


The first look at the philosophy behind the Iron Man comics and movies, timed for the release of Iron Man 2 in March 2010

On the surface, Iron Man appears to be a straightforward superhero, another rich guy fighting crime with fancy gadgets. But beneath the shiny armor and flashy technology lies Tony Stark, brilliant inventor and eccentric playboy, struggling to balance his desires, addictions, and relationships with his duties as the Armored Avenger. Iron Man and Philosophy explores the many philosophical issues that emerge from the essential conflicts found in the decades of Iron Man stories in comics and movies. What kind of moral compass does Tony Stark have? Is Iron Man responsible for the death of Captain America after the Marvel Universe “Civil War”? Should people like Stark run the world? How does Tony’s alcoholism impact his performance as Iron Man, and what does it say about moral character? Ultimately, what can Iron Man teach us about the role of technology in society?

As absorbing as Iron Man comic books and movies, Iron Man and Philosophy:

  • Gives you a new perspective on Iron Man characters, story lines, and themes
  • Shows what philosophical heavy hitters such as Aristotle, Locke, and Heidegger can teach us about Tony Stark/Iron Man
  • Considers issues such as addiction, personal responsibility, the use of technology, and the role of government

Whether you've been reading the comic books for years or have gotten into Iron Man through the movies, Iron Man and Philosophy is a must-have companion for every fan.

Iron Introductions and Armored Acknowledgments.

Part One The Nuts and Bolts of Tony Stark.

1 The Stark Madness of Technology (George A. Dunn).

2 The Technological Subversion of Technology: Tony Stark, Heidegger and the Subject of Resistance (Rocco Gangle).

3 The Literal Making of a Superhero (Travis N. Rieder).

Part Two Wearing the Armor Responsibly.

4 Can Iron Man Atone for Tony Stark’s Wrongs? (Christopher Robichaud).

5 Did Iron Man Kill Captain America? (Mark D. White).

6 Fate at the Bottom of a Bottle: Alcohol and Tony Stark (Ron Novy).

Part Three The Iron Age: Tony Stark’s Role in Society.

7 Tony Stark and "The Gospel of Wealth" (Andrew Terjesen).

8 ™ and © Stark Industries: Iron Man and Property Rights (Daniel P. Malloy).

9 Tony Stark, Philosopher King of the Future? (Tony Spanakos).

Part Four The Mind Inside the Iron Man.

10 Iron Man in a Chinese Room: Does Living Armor Think? (Ron Novy).

11 Flexing His Intelligence: Tony Stark’s Brainy Brawn (Phillip S. Seng).

12 Does Tony Stark Have an Iron Will? (Mark D. White).

Part Five The Virtue of an Avenger.

13. Does Tony Stark Use a Moral Compass? (Sarah K. Donovan and Nicholas P. Richardson).

14 Flawed Heroes and Courageous Villains: Plato, Aristotle, and Iron Man on the Unity of the Virtues (Carsten Fogh Nielsen).

15 "I Have a Good Life": Iron Man and the Avenger School of Virtue (Stephanie Patterson and Brett Patterson).

Part Six What It Means to Be an Iron Man.

16 Iron Man and the Problem of Progress (David Valleau Curtis).

17 Engendering Justice in Iron Man (Rebecca Housel and Gary Housel).

18 Iron Man’s Transcendent Challenge (Stephen Faller).

Contributor: Avengers Assembled.

Index: Topics from the S.H.I.E.L.D. File on Tony Stark/Iron Man.