[lbo-talk] popularizing philosophy

shag carpet bomb shag at cleandraws.com
Sun Aug 28 11:53:10 PDT 2011

Awhile back, James Heartfield made an interesting observation about the publishing industry, noting that there was a rash of books that focused on just one thing, tracing history and culture through, say, the use of salt or cultivation of broccoli (or somesuch).

I have noticed other trends like that, particularly the recent trend toward popularizing philosophy. "Driving with Plato" is an example. There's the whole series of philosophy and pop culture (e.g., "Madmen and Philosophy", "Spongebob Squarepants and phil," ...) and "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .,"

Any academics on the list use them in courses or have you taken a course that uses them? I'm curious if they are any good. They look so gimmicky, and I can't fathom that anyone can squeeze every thinker into the same framework for analysis - like it's going to be stretching it to subject every bit of popular culture to the same analysis, forcing it to have something interesting to say to the question of, say, essentialism (or whathaveyou).

Anyway, curious about these books and if they are good, bad, meh?


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