Comics and Consequentialism

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Just thought it was fairly interesting how philosophy lessons in the US are now incorporating more popular culture material into their teaching. William Irwin, a philosophy professor at King’s College in Pennsylvania who edits the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, rationalizes the use of such seemingly radical methodologies by claiming how

“…this is what philosophy has tried to do from the very beginning…Philosophy starts with Socrates in the streets of Athens taking his message to the people and speaking in their language – agricultural analogies and common mythology.”

Although such innovations are not without their detractors and critics, the move does seem to be getting students more interested in philosophy when given such familiar cultural ‘hooks’ to help ease them into the theories and concepts. For example, in a Boston Globe  interview, professor Mark D. White of the College of Staten Island (CUNY) describes how Batman’s limitations in his crime-fighting endeavor are actually underpinned by many philosophical considerations:

Because he doesn’t have powers, Batman faces more limitations, and limitations force decisions, many of which will be ethical, or more broadly philosophical, in nature. He can’t always save everyone, so who to save? How far does he have to push himself for his mission? Superman rarely confronts these issues, because he is so strong and so fast.

Do you think the teaching of subjects (especially GP!) in the JC could perhaps directly incorporate more elements of popular culture? If so, why? Any possible examples?

Comprehension: (From this BBC article) Professor Mark White says he is sure his work on Batman and philosophy “arouses some chuckles in the corridors”, but he is careful to point out that he is not teaching the philosophy of comic books, he is using comic books to teach philosophy.
Q1. What could the phrase ‘chuckles in the corridors’ represent/refer to?
Q2. How does Professor White reinforce the justification for his work?

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3 thoughts on “Comics and Consequentialism

  1. Do you think the teaching of subjects (especially GP!) in the JC could perhaps directly incorporate more elements of popular culture? If so, why? Any possible examples?

    Ans: Yes they should. This would make lessons more interesting and interactive for the students. The teachers can also get more response from the students as they can relate to these topics easily. In turn, they will be able to benefit and to apply it in the future.

  2. The way he teaches is funny and exciting unlike the way others teach philosiphy which is serious
    The move does seem to be getting students more interested in philosophy when given such familiar cultural ‘hooks’ to help ease them into the theories and concepts

  3. Using popular culture to teach subjects may not be a bad idea at all. However, there may be some issues that might arise due to the usage of such convention. Some may think that using popular culture would indeed arouse the interest of the students, however, through usage of comics, the main point might be loss and time might be wasted due to the constant chuckles and giggles. Especially, in Singapore’s class system, most of the time, students might be interested if there was popular culture infused into the lesson, but they would discuss more on the popular culture, such as modern pop music or comics, instead of the main topic, such as GP. This move might be more plausible if only the usage is controlled and only applied in certain topics in the subject, especially the dryer topics (Science). Examples of popular culture that can be used are like, pop music, youtube videos(science), parts of relevant movies ( GP).

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