Looking Up From the Gutter: Philosophy and Popular Culture

‘Is this new wave of philosophers exploiting pop culture in the service of philosophical inquiry? What can Dylan’s lyrics tell us about our concepts of God? What can Monty Python teach us about epistemology?’, asks Stephen Asma. He makes a case that ‘cultural-studies scholars may balk, claiming that, in the hands of philosophers, popular culture is not being analyzed on its own terms, but is being used only to get at perennial intellectual issues of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. That’s probably true, but pop-culture philosophers are unapologetic’.

In this article, Stephen T. Asma, Professor of philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, argues that ‘despite the hurdles of making philosophy popular (and pop culture more philosophical), there is still plenty of room to make it more enjoyable. And here the new publishing trend is definitely resonating with the next generation of philosophers. Old-school philosophers may see pop culture as a gutter, but I believe it was Oscar Wilde (or was it Chrissie Hynde, of the Pretenders?) who said, “We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”Popular culture may be a filthy gutter, but philosophers can still lie there and look at the stars’. Read the full article here. It’s good fun, but now I think it’s time to listen to some Bach! Anyone for a bash of St. John’s Passion?

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