Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes by Jamey Heit

Filed under:Humor,Philosophy,Technical — posted by Randolph on September 20, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes
by Jamey Heit

This book is an analysis of the Calivin and Hobbes comic strip through the eyes of philosophy. In some ways it reminds me of the popular culture and philosophy series, but here the focus is on building a better understanding the comic rather than philosophy, philosophy is the tool for the understanding.

At first glance, the book does remind me of more traditional philosophy books. It has a smaller font, dense pages with few breaks, and a serious list of footnotes. On starting to read it the same impression continued, high information density and heavy at times. Sometimes it became difficult to follow, but the focus on the comic brought recurring themes of humor.

Difficult as it may have been, I never considered giving up. The book reveals a lot of information about the comics, calling on specific themes and even individual strips to support its arguments. While reading the book, I gained insights in to the strips, and a great desire to reread the series with my new understanding.

Watterson drew heavily on philosophers for his inspiration, from the very name of the strip and characters. The book discusses themes and how they relate to philosophy, from flying dinosaurs, Spaceman Spiff, Calvin as god of his snow creatures, and Hobbes appears real to the reader so long as an adult isn’t in the strip.

My two issues with the book is that I would have liked some comics included to help break up the book’s text, and having just finished it, I’m already having trouble remembering many portions of it due to its heavy content.

I do recommend the book for anyone who has enjoyed the comic and has any interest in philosophy. I’m going to reread the comics, and my try tacking the book for a second time, some day…

The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy edited by Randall E. Auxier and Phil Seng

Filed under:Philosophy — posted by Randolph on June 20, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy edited by Randall E. Auxier and Phil Seng

This series is a lot of fun. It feels light, yet gets into some important philosophical topics, using the stories of The Wizard of Oz as a mechanism to drive the discussion.

The book covers the movie, touching on some of the earlier versions, the original series of books, the books by Gregory Maguire, and a couple of plays. The authors also touch on Rushdie’s analysis of Oz. The focus is on the 1939 movie, the first two or three books of Baum’s series, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Several philosophers provide short discussions on different topics touched on, intentionally or not, by the different versions of the Wizard of Oz. These include the nature of evil, the value of home and what it means, feminism, morals, slavery, and more. Phillip Seng discusses the relationship between the Pink Floyd soundtrack and its relationship to the movie, and discusses some basic probability with it.

The discussions are very interesting. They are admittedly light, as entire books can be found on most of these subjects, but they provide good food for thought and a solid basis to build on.

The Little Book of Coaching: Motivating People to Be Winners by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula

Filed under:Philosophy,Sports — posted by Randolph on July 29, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One  by Stanley Fish

Ken Blanchard and Don Shula teamed up to create a book on the basics of coaching. I was curious about this book and Don Shula’s contributions, but must say that I did enjoy them. The parallels they draw between football coaching and business are good, the principles presented apply equally to both areas.

The wisdom provided aren’t surprising. This is more of a primer or a book to reinforce good practices than it is a book to provide new insights or ideas. But it is a quick and enjoyable read.

Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between by Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein

Filed under:Philosophy — posted by Randolph on December 3, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between by Thomas CathcartThis is the third in a series of humor-focused philosophy books, this dealing with the matter of life and death. The authors use humor to drive points hope, with varying amounts of success. The book feels light, in spite of the weighty philosophical material. It is easy to read and digest, but I do question how much retaining power it has. It is an enjoyable and pretty fast read.

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard

Filed under:Art,Humor,Philosophy — posted by Randolph on January 26, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard

Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington by Thomas Cathcart

Filed under:Philosophy — posted by Randolph on August 16, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes by Thomas Cathcart


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace