Monday, March 19, 2007

Call for papers: Batman and Philosophy (edited book)

Since this has come up in the comments, I'll just mention this here:

Call for Abstracts

Please circulate and post widely.

Apologies for Cross-posting.

Batman and Philosophy
Edited by Mark D. White and Robert Arp

The Blackwell Philosophy and PopCulture Series
William Irwin, Series Editor (

To propose ideas for future volumes in the Blackwell series please contact William Irwin (

Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.

Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • The dynamic duo and dualism
  • The aesthetics of the Batman universe
  • The flip of a coin: Two-Face and determinism
  • Batman and the ethics of collateral damage
  • Batman and the ethics of vigilantism
  • Batman or Bruce Wayne: which is his 'true' identity?
  • “What’s it like to be a Batman?”: subjectivity and the mind/body problem
  • Appearance, reality, and the importance of masquerade
  • Gotham City, political corruption, and the need for heroes
  • Bruce Wayne and Batman, the morning star and the evening star: sense, reference, and the problem of naming
  • Batman and the ethics of child care
  • Batman and the recurring Messiah complex
  • Knowing Bruce Wayne and knowing Batman: propositional attitudes and substance dualism
  • Batman and the use/abuse of technology
  • Bats, confronting fears, and moral courage as a motivator for action
  • Heroes and obligatory vs. supererogatory acts
  • Batman’s deontological respect for Robin vs. a villain’s objectification of his/her henchmen
  • The death of god and the birth of god-like heroes in Western societies
  • Batman and paranoia: what kind of hero builds a satellite to spy on his friends?
  • Batman and Superman: Different means to the same end, or different ends altogether?
  • Batman and identification: can there truly be another Batman
  • Batman and dealing with the recurrence of death (parents, Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown)
  • Playing well with others: Batman and other heroes/teams

    Contributor guidelines:
    1. Abstract of paper (100-500 words).
    2. CV or resume for each author and co-author.
    3. Submission deadline for abstracts: April 27, 2007
    4. Submission deadline for first drafts of accepted papers (tentative): August 31, 2007
    5. Abstracts should be submitted by e-mail, with or without Word attachment.

Send by e-mail to: Mark D. White (


David said...

Sounds excellent. Batman's been my favorite character since I was 10, so I'll certainly be submitting. Quick question. I'm very much coming from a continental perspective; is that going to be a problem? That is, would something on Levinas or Lacan, for example, be at a disadvantage compared to something on philosophy of mind?

Many thanks,
David M. Hart
Depaul University

comicsprof said...


Not a problem at all - the primary consideration is explaining the concept to a popular audience - the "educated layperson," as he or she is called.

If you email me at, I'll send you some samples of my previous work in the Philosophy and Pop Culture series to give you an idea what I mean. (Or buy South Park and Philosophy, which is available now!)