Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes | SmithsonianX on edX


CHRIS ROBICHAUD: Welcome to
Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes. I’m Chris Robichaud, and I will be
your instructor for this semester. I teach ethics, I teach
social epistemology, I teach political philosophy at the
Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and I’m also an unapologetic
comic book and superhero geek. And for many years now, I
have been publishing papers on the intersection between
superhero stories and philosophy, and so I’m really thrilled at the
opportunity to turn all of that into a full-fledged course
offered through the Smithsonian and through the Harvard
Extension School. You might be asking yourself, what if I
don’t know anything about superheroes? Is this course for me? Yes, absolutely. Part of the course will give you a deep
dive into the history of superheroes, but it’s also for you if you have
been reading superhero stories or watching superhero films and
television your entire life. I, myself, have been consuming
this since I began to read, but I want to make it clear
what this course is and is not. As much as I love superheroes, first
and foremost, I’m a philosopher. And the value that I
can add to your learning is not exposing you to a
deep dive into the nuances of the adventures of Superman or the
activities of Spider-Man The value that I can add is empowering
you to think philosophically about your favorite superhero
stories by giving you a lot of deep and interesting
philosophical ideas. So, most of my lectures are
going to focus on philosophy and engage from time to time
with the superhero stories that I’m reminded of when thinking
about these deep and interesting philosophical concepts. I’m then going to invite you to
put the philosophy that you’ve learned into conversation with your
own favorite superhero stories. So I hope that you are as excited
about this course as I am. I can’t wait to get into
the material with you. There’s only a few– oh, I’m very sorry. [SUPERHERO MUSIC]

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