Synopses & Reviews
Can we justify Ozymandias's grand plan?
Does Dr. Manhattan really know what's going to happen in the future?
Is the Comedian actually a comedian (or just a jerk)?
Can either Silk Spectre be considered a feminist?
Does Nite Owl's paunch actually make him virtuous?
Watchmen is the most critically acclaimed graphic novel ever published and turned the world of comic superheroes on its head. This masterpiece of realistic storytelling, dialogue, and artwork, courtesy of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, raises a host of compelling philosophical questions. How do Ozymandias and Rorschach justify their actions? What are the political ramifications of the Comedian's work for the government? How do we explain the nature of Dr. Manhattan? And can a graphic novel be considered literature? Whether you're reading Watchmen for the first time or have been a fan for more than twenty years, Watchmen and Philosophy will help you read deeper into the philosophical questions and the revolutionary story that changed comic fiction forever.
Alan Moore's Watchmen is set in 1985 and chronicles the alternative history of the United States where the US edges dangerously closer to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Within this world exists a group of crime busters, who don elaborate costumes to conceal their identity and fight crime, and an intricate plot to kill and discredit these "superheroes."
Alan Moore's Watchmen popularized the graphic novel format, has been named one of Time magazine's top 100 novels, and is now being made into a highly anticipated movie adaptation. This latest book in the popular Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series peers into Moore's deeply philosophical work to parse and deconstruct the ethical issues raised by Watchmen's costumed adventurers, their actions, and their world. From nuclear destruction to utopia, from governmental authority to human morality and social responsibility, it answers questions fans have had for years about Watchmen's ethical quandaries, themes, and characters.
About the Author
Mark D. White
is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island/CUNY and coeditor of Batman and Philosophy
William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles, including Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Watchmen and Philosophy.
Table of Contents
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: They Left It Entirely in My Hands.
Introduction: A Rorschach Test.
PART ONE: THE POLITICS OF POWER: WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?
1 The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power (Christopher Robichaud).
2 Can We Steer This Rudderless World? Kant, Rorschach, Retributivism, and Honor (Jacob M. Held).
3 Super-Vigilantes and the Keene Act (Tony Spanakos).
4 Superheroes and Supermen: Finding Nietzsche’s Übermensch in Watchmen (J. Keeping).
PART TWO: THE VEIDT PLAN: WATCHMEN AND ETHICS.
5 Means, Ends, and the Critique of Pure Superheroes (J. Robert Loftis).
6 The Virtues of Nite Owl’s Potbelly (Mark D. White).
7 Rorschach: When Telling the Truth Is Wrong (Alex Nuttall).
PART THREE: THE METAPHYSICS OF DR. MANHATTAN.
8 Dr. Manhattan, I Presume? (James DiGiovanna).
9 A Timely Encounter: Dr. Manhattan and Henri Bergson (Christopher M. Drohan).
10 Free Will and Foreknowledge: Does Jon Really Know What Laurie Will Do Next, and Can She Do Otherwise? (Arthur Ward).
11 I’m Just a Puppet Who Can See the Strings: Dr. Manhattan as a Stoic Sage (Andrew Terjesen).
PART FOUR: THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER’S COMIC BOOK.
12 “Why Don’t You Go Read a Book or Something?” Watchmen as Literature (Aaron Meskin).
13 Watchwomen (Sarah Donovan and Nick Richardson).
14 Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis: The Ambiguously Gay Duo (Robert Arp).
15 What’s So Goddamned Funny? The Comedian and Rorschach on Life’s Way (Taneli Kukkonen).