Reflections on Popular Culture and Philosophy

Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy 35 (4):335-357 (2021)
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Abstract

Contributions to the philosophical genre of popular culture and philosophy aim to popularize philosophical ideas with the help of references to the products of popular culture with TV series like The Simpsons, Hollywood blockbusters like The Matrix and Jurassic Park, or popular music groups like Metallica. While being commercially successful, books in this comparatively new genre are often criticized for lacking scientific rigor, providing a shallow cultural commentary, and having little didactic value to foster philosophical understanding. This paper discusses some of these methodological and didactic objections and seeks to encourage a constructive discussion of concerns with the genre. It shows how the genre similar to previous attempts to foster public understanding of philosophy and that it is a methodologically viable approach to reach a broad range of readers with diverse informational preferences and educational backgrounds. Considering what makes this approach to the popularization of philosophical thinking successful will shed light on some of the criteria for popularization of philosophy in general.

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Alexander Christian
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

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