This past summer, as my Bat-nerd-dom was soaring to new levels, I purchased the book Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul edited by Mark D. White and Robert Arp.
Now, many of my friends and family know that I am a huge fan of Batman. Ever since I can remember, Batman has always been my favorite superhero. I don’t know when it started or how it started, but Batman has always been my favorite. No superhero ever really appealed to me as a little kid. Nowadays, I’ll watch just about any superhero movie. That doesn’t mean I’ll like them, though (EX: Spiderman 3, The Amazing Spiderman, and Superman Returns). While I can go on and on about my enjoyment of The World’s Greatest Detective (which is a heckuva title when you consider Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown (coincidentally two other members of my all-time favorite fictional characters), but I digress…..), but what I’ll bet most people don’t know about me is my love for Philosophy. So, when a Philosophical Bat-nerd discovers there is a book called Batman and Philosophy, it is very predictable what he’ll do: BUY IT IMMEDIATELY AND IN E-BOOK FORM SO HE CAN START READING IT WITHIN MINUTES!
I eagerly began reading it, but much to my dismay I discovered quickly that the book was filled with what I would call “bad philosophy”, namely the writers talking about subjective truth and choosing our own realities and identities, which is blatantly wrong. Truth is objective, and reality and identity are not subject to interpretation or human creation. Furthermore, when discussing moral issues, there was a tendency to discuss both sides of the argument, but not make any conclusions. Come on! What’s the point of bringing it up, if you’re not going to make a bold statement on the matter. That is why some people have an aversion to philosophy. It is because of people who abuse it. Philosophy literally means “the love of wisdom.” It is not wisdom to not come to a conclusion. Philosophers (like Batman) can be likened to detectives, in that they investigate and come to a conclusion to solve the mystery. They NEVER investigate for the sake of investigation. They always see it through until the (objective) truth comes out.
The one chapter I actually liked was Chapter 17 “Why Batman is Better Than Superman.” In this chapter, Galen Foresman proves logically that Batman is better than Superman and dismisses Super-fans’ argument that Superman is better as a logical fallacy.
Lastly, if you get an opportunity to, read the bios of the authors of this book. At the end of their bios, they each include a small funny bit about their nerd-dom. I found it hilarious. One even expresses his desire for Batman “to figure out whose idea it was to have these cute additions at the ends of our bios.”
Q: WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS BOOK??????
A: Only to philosophical Bat-nerds…….but with the understanding that I do NOT approve of all but one of the authors’ philosophies.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.