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Popular Culture and Philosophy #5: The Lord of the Rings and Philosophyby Gregory Bassham
Synopses & Reviews
The Lord of the Rings is intended to be applicable to the real world of relationships, religion, pleasure, pain, and politics. Tolkien himself said that his grand tale of wizards, orcs, hobbits, and elves was aimed at truth and good morals in the actual world.
Analysis of the popular appeal of The Lord of the Rings (on websites and elsewhere) shows that Tolkien fans are hungry for discussion of the urgent moral and cosmological issues arising out of this fantastic epic story.
Can political power be wielded for good, or must it always corrupt? Does technology destroy the truly human? Is it morally wrong to give up hope? Can we find meaning in chance events?
In The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, seventeen young philosophy professors, all of them ardent Tolkien fans and most of them contributors to the four earlier volumes in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series, address some of these important issues and show how clues to their solutions may be found in the imaginary world of Middle-earth. The book is divided into five sections, concerned with Power and the Ring, the Quest for Happiness, Good and Evil in Middle-earth, Time and Mortality, and the Relevance
Book News Annotation:
From the series that addressed the philosophy of Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, comes this collection of 16 essays exploring philosophical themes and topics raised by the famous fantasy works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Presented by Bassham (philosophy, King's College, Pennsylvania) and Bronson (philosophy and history, Berkeley College, New York City), the essays address such topics as the "Rings of Power" as metaphors for emerging technologies, the Elves as representative of the "bounded joy of the Existentialists," time and mortality, aesthetics, and (of course) good and evil. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Can power be wielded for good, or must it always corrupt? Does technology destroy the truly human? Is beer essential to the good life? The Lord of the Rings raises many such searching questions, and this book attempts some answers. Divided into five sections concerned with power and the Ring, the quest for happiness, good and evil in Middle-earth, time and mortality, and the relevance of fairy tales, The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy mines Tolkiens fantasy worlds for wisdom in areas including the menace of technology, addiction and fetishism, the vitality of tradition, the environmental implications of Tolkien's thought, Middle-earth's relationship to Buddhism and Taoism, and more.
Can power be wielded for good, or must it always corrupt? Does technology destroy the truly human? Is beer essential to the good life?"
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