James Bond and Philosophy: Questions Are Forever (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

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9780812696073: James Bond and Philosophy: Questions Are Forever (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
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Bond. James Bond.” Since Sean Connery first uttered that iconic phrase in Dr. No, more than one quarter of the world’s population has seen a 007 film. Witty and urbane, Bond seduces and kills with equal ease often, it seems, with equal enthusiasm. This enthusiasm, coupled with his freedom to do what is forbidden to everyone else, evokes fascinating philosophical questions. Here, 15 witty, thought-provoking essays discuss hidden issues in Bond’s world, from his carnal pleasures to his license to kill. Among the lively topics explored are Bond’s relation to existentialism, including his graduation beyond good and evil”; his objectification of women; the paradox of breaking the law in order to ultimately uphold it like any stupid policeman”; the personality of 007 in terms of Plato’s moral psychology; and the Hegelian quest for recognition evinced by Bond villains. A reference guide to all the Bond movies rounds out the book’s many pleasures.

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The latest volume in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series (which has also tackled the philosophical import of the Simpsons and Bob Dylan, among others) is sure to appeal to Bond fans. The contributors, professional philosophers, ask us to look at 007 as Kierkegaard's "seducer," a man who lives "purely at the aesthetic level of existence"; or as one of Plato's three archetypes (specifically the Guardian, a man ruled by honor, glory, and competitiveness). We examine the superspy's reasoning, objectification of women, and notions of retribution. The book is written for the lay reader--both in terms of philosophy and Bond knowledge (though a little familiarity with 007 lore helps). Fortunately, the contributors explain their philosophical terms clearly and without appearing to be dumbing anything down. Bond fans and readers with a philosophical bent will give this one a big thumbs-up. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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