Star Wars and Philosophy

Title: Star Wars and Philosophy

Author: Decker, Kevin S. and Jason T. Eberl

Publisher: Carus Publishing Company

ISBN: 0812695836

If you ever wondered whether Yoda is really a Zen master, or if Darth Vader embodies the cold impersonal nature of modern technology, then this book is probably for you. It also has many thought-provoking ideas that teachers and some older students could draw upon for studying Star Wars in a philosophy class.

The following chapters could be useful:

1. Stephens, William O. “Stoicism in the Stars: Yoda, the Emperor and the Force” in Star Wars and Philosophy, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, 16-28. Peru, Illinois:: Carus Publishing Company, 2005.

Although Yoda and the Emperor are on opposite sides of the Force, according to William Stephens they are both similar to the Stoics of ancient Greece.

2. Robinson, Walter [Ritoku]. “The Far East of Star Wars” in Star Wars and Philosophy, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, 29-38. Peru, Illinois:: Carus Publishing Company, 2005.

This chapter compares Yoda’s method of mental training to that of Eastern philosophies such as Taoism and Zen, suggesting that they share a lot in common. “Fear is the path to the Dark Side…Fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering”.

2. Barad, Judith. “The Aspiring Jedi’s Handbook of Virtue” in Star Wars and Philosophy, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, 57-68. Peru, Illinois:: Carus Publishing Company, 2005.

What are the ethical principles behind the Jedi Order? According to Judith Barad, Jedi virtues share a lot in common with those of the Greek philosopher Plato.

3. Brown, Christopher M.. “‘A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy’: Star Wars and the Problem of Evil ” in Star Wars and Philosophy, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, 69-79. Peru, Illinois:: Carus Publishing Company, 2005.

How does one explain the Dark Side of the Force? Are light and dark both necessary to maintain balance or is the Dark Side an unintended result of free will? This chapter discusses the problem of evil, which is just as important in the Star Wars universe as it is in our own.

4. Abrams, Jerold J.. “A Technological Galaxy: Heidegger and the Philosophy of Technology in Star Wars” in Star Wars and Philosophy, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, 57-68. Peru, Illinois:: Carus Publishing Company, 2005.

Is technology a tool of progress, or does it herald the Dark Age of the Empire? Heidegger thought that technology changes humanity’s relationship with nature for the worse. This essay ponders whether Star Wars gives us any hints for our own future.

5. Fader, Shanti.“‘A Certain Point of View’: Lying Jedi, Honest Sith, and the Viewers Who Love Them” in Star Wars and Philosophy, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, 192-204. Peru, Illinois:: Carus Publishing Company, 2005.

Is lying always bad? Some reflections on the value of truth and falsehood with reference to the behaviour of characters in Star Wars.

6. Long, Joseph W. “Religious Pragmatism through the Eyes of Luke Skywalker” in Star Wars and Philosophy, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, 205-212. Peru, Illinois:: Carus Publishing Company, 2005.

Should we trust our feelings and believe in the Force? According to the pragmatist philosopher William James, there are good reasons why we should.

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