e-book The Philosopher At The End Of The Universe: Philosophy Explained Through Science Fiction Films

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It was totally fun, and I'd recommend it! It seems like, from my chapter by chapter progress reports, see below unless goodreads has rearranged stuff that I really enjoyed and engaged with this book, so it's slightly puzzling that I only gave it four stars. I love the premise of the book - that it is possible to use Science Fiction movies as an aid to understanding certain aspects of philosophy. I love this not just because it's more engaging to study philosophy by watching movies, but because I genuinely feel that there are deeper w It seems like, from my chapter by chapter progress reports, see below unless goodreads has rearranged stuff that I really enjoyed and engaged with this book, so it's slightly puzzling that I only gave it four stars.

I love this not just because it's more engaging to study philosophy by watching movies, but because I genuinely feel that there are deeper ways to enjoy Hollywood blockbusters than relishing the alien blood splatter patterns or piggy-backing on the adrenalin rush of the big guy running about on screen. The author seems to agree with me, despite his tongue in cheek treatment of Big Arnie as being the finest Austrian philosopher extant. I think the reason the book drops a star is because the author portrays philosophy as being so darned depressing!

The 25 best sci-fi movies in this – or any other – galaxy | GamesRadar+

Words can be used in oh so many ways - to heal, to harm or just to entertain, but I think its a shame that most of the philosophical words I've read seem intent on deconstructing the things that make us feel good free will, consciousness, central place in things and I think that's harmful. After all, no-one really, really knows the real meaning or basis of reality - and any attempts to explain it are just scratching at the surface with no chance of ever reaching any depth.

Even a cursory look at the movie 'The Matrix' shows that any philosophical attempt to divine the nature of our day-to-day experience might well be entertaining, in a limited way, but can only look at the way things appear to be rather than the way they really are. So why not just kick back and enjoy the ride?! And if philosophers just have to write books purporting to explain the meaning of life, then make it a happy meaning!

Happy explanations probably won't be any more or less true, but at least people will have fun reading and living them.

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Either that, or stick to watching movies. Mar 04, Bruce rated it really liked it Shelves: culture-studies , reference. This is a Sci-Phi book as opposed to Sci-fi. The author uses Sci-fi movies to make philosophical points. While there are many doubts that film producers are trying to make philosophical points when making movies one can read a lot of social commentary into them.

Rowlands claims Arnold Schwartzenegger is perhaps the greatest Austrian philosopher of the 20th century. That is kind of a stretch, but the characters he plays can be used to discuss philosophical issues. The mind-body problem is exempli This is a Sci-Phi book as opposed to Sci-fi.

The mind-body problem is exemplified by Terminator, the problem of personal identity by Total Recall. He uses other movies and actors to discuss these and other issues, e. Star Wars for the good versus evil debate. The work is an interesting read that can fit into numerous categories, e. Perhaps bringing modern culture and interpretation to age-old philosophical issues will cause people to begin thinking about rather than reacting to the many sound bites that assault our senses each day.

I'm planning to use this for teaching a college class on philosophy and film. I think it will work pretty well. Rowlands does more than just summarize philosophical ideas although he does that rather well. He also makes some intriguing points of his own, which makes this a lot more philosophically interesting. Oh, Rowlands also has a great sense of humor or, since it's a very British ty I'm planning to use this for teaching a college class on philosophy and film. Oh, Rowlands also has a great sense of humor or, since it's a very British type of humor, I should say "humour".

He isn't above some occasional use of profanity, which often enhances the humor although humorless people who are bothered by profanity might not like it, but - as Rowlands might say - fuck them. Dec 08, Sarah rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction. I like the premise, and sentences like these: "If Kevin Bacon attempts to kill his co-workers, is he doing anything wrong according to the social contract theory?

I get the impression that this would make a fun lecture series for an "introduction to philosophy for non-majors" class, where there's a back-and-forth dialogue between the professor and his students. A very interesting book for those who'd like to enjoy philosophy with some popcorn. If you loved those Sci-Fi movies of the last two decades, you're gonna love this one.

Aug 16, Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it. Rowlands achieves this by conveying the concepts of erudite philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, Sartre, Laplace, Kant, Heraclitus, Wittgenstein, Hume, and Heidegger through the lens of popular speculative fiction movies almost all Sci-fi.

The book uses thirteen films as case studies to consider ten critical philosophical concepts over ten chapters. Virtually all sci-fi fans are likely to have seen most—if not all—of these films. Hollow Man and The Lord of the Rings. However, for The Lord of The Rings book I had to rely more on the synopsis the author provides to follow the chain of thought. The philosophical issues that are addressed include: the meaning of life, what can we really know if anything , what am I or you or any other individual , what makes me you, etc.

I enjoyed this book. Second, the author has a good sense of humor. It should be noted that the humor and the exclusive focus on movies versus literature or films set this book aside from a number of others that are superficially quite the same. I have another book in storage back home called Science Fiction and Philosophy that is by an academic publisher, maintains the scholarly tone, goes into a bit more depth, but covers many of the same ideas e. Brain-in-a-vat, etc. However, the book often reads like it was written by a colorful football coach rather than a Philosophy Professor.

Science fiction

However, these are not B-movies like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes as one might think from the commentary. Jan 14, Cody Sexton rated it it was amazing Shelves: own. Absurdity is the defining feature of human existence. The idea of absurdity revolves around the clash of two perspectives we have on ourselves, a view from the inside and a view from the outside.

From the inside you are somebody, from the outside you are a joke. Life is ultimately meaningless, but then so is the statement that says it is, but it still remains as the most meaningful thing that will ever happen to us, a paradox. Our lives are meaningless but in order for it to be absurd requires c Absurdity is the defining feature of human existence. Our lives are meaningless but in order for it to be absurd requires comprehension of its meaninglessness.

Which brings us to the central thesis, the main problem of Philosophy alluded to earlier; from the inside we find meaning and knowledge, but from the outside, we find the possibility of neither. The concept of this book is absolutely brilliant: to serve as an introduction to philosophy by way of popular science-fiction films.

Largest Space Stations in Science Fiction Films

It does that an more, it binds old concepts with fresh, clearer examples that are simple to understand by every one. It's a doorway to a new world that is accessible to everyone. A very entertaining, easy to read introduction to the most important philosophical questions with intelligible explanations. I also liked that the examples from the movies don't seem that far-fetched, compared with similar books on that topic that I've read. Better than I expected! Silly intro to a lot of different philosophical concepts using plots from Sci-Fi movies. Fun to read. Rowlands succeeds at explaining philosophy in an accesible and very amusing manner.

He manages to explain complex philosophical subjects, questions and themes in a way that they can become relatable for people that have not studied philosophy.

The use of movies is entertaining and helps imagine what philosophical questions he is adressing. I do think, however, that not in every chapter the use of movies is equally adequate or fun.

Oftentimes it seems more like he is explaining philosophy from hi Rowlands succeeds at explaining philosophy in an accesible and very amusing manner. Oftentimes it seems more like he is explaining philosophy from his own epistemological and ethical viewpoint, for which he sometimes only briefly refers to movies. It would have been intellectually more honest if he gave some epistemological positions some more credit or attention, instead of the ones he happens to endorse.

However, he does convey his points rather convincingly and the book still gives the reader room to draw his or her own conclusions about the matters he discusses. Points with which I could myself normatively identify were his views on animal suffering I'm glad to know Rowlands is vegetarian and epistemic duties and epistemic responsibility the duty to be lieve only true things and actively pursue truth by carefully weighing empirical evidence and stringent reasoning.

Regarding the latter he ends his book with an appeal and call to us, since beliefs lead to actions: "Try not to be stupid - the world will be a better place for it. Jun 10, Shelley rated it it was ok Shelves: science-fiction , philosophy.

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If I could, I would give this book 2. I like the concept of discussing philosophy by using science fiction films as examples. In college, one of my favorite courses was Philosophy as shown in Ingmar Bergman films. I really like science fiction films so I was hoping I would really like this book.

I am probably not the right target audience for this book. It's obviously written for people in their 20's who are new to the concepts of philosophy.


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I am 60 years old with a Ph. However, even when I was in that age and education bracket, I suspect I would have thought the author was trying a bit too hard to be considered cool. I could easily imagine the author giving a lecture and some students being very engaged and motivated to learn more about philosophy and others just rolling their eyes. Besides the writing style, my main problem with the book was that the author presented the material as if most of it consisted of facts to learn rather than presenting it as existential questions that each person has to answer for themselves.

I had already seen all but one of the films described in the book. At least it gave me one new film to see May 10, Tony rated it really liked it. As good a book on philosophy as I've ever read. Clear, concise, easy to read. And that's no mean feat when it come to subject matter such as identity, morality, the mind-body problem and good and evil.

I don't agree with everything he says or some of his conclusions but at least I could understand them. Try saying that after reading Kant, Descartes, and others. Definitely one I can recommend. Dec 17, Pete Majarich rated it it was amazing. Introduces the fantastic idea of sci-phi science fiction that contemplates philosophy.


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