"An epic story like this is a perfect lens for studying philosophy, and philosophy is the perfect lens through which to better understand the themes and deeper meaning of Tolkien's classic."
The Hobbit is one of the best-loved stories of modern times. Everyone knows the epic tale of Bilbo Baggins, who leaves the confines of his home to travel to new lands, meet new creatures, and embrace the adventurous side of his nature, all the while gaining in maturity and wisdom. But what would you do in Bilbo's hairy feet? Would you remain safe and comfy inside your hobbit-hole or, like him, set forth on a life-changing journey? Joined by a merry band of philosophers (who much like hobbits "have a fund of wisdom and wise sayings that men have mostly never heard of or forgotten long ago"), Bassham and Bronson select the latter, setting forth for Middle Earth to discover what Bilbo and the great thinkers can teach us about growth and human potential...
As this enjoyable book reveals, Middle Earth provides the setting for a wealth of philosophical conundrums. Are adventures simply "nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things" that "make you late for dinner" or can they be exciting and potentially life-changing? Was life better in pre-industrial times when there was "less noise and more green"? What duties do friends have to one another? Should mercy be extended even to those who deserve to die?
Drawing on Tolkien's own life and the works of some of the world's deepest thinkers, including Confucius, Plato, Kant, Aristotle and William Blake, the authors of this book join Bilbo on his journey from the Shire and back again, bringing fresh insights into all of the main characters and pondering small slimy creatures, riddles, rings, magic, and hairy feet as they go. The main lesson in clear: only by confronting challenges and taking risks can we grow and discover what we are capable of becoming. Someone as ordinary as Bilbo Baggins didn't shy away, and neither should we...
The Hobbit and Philosophy
October 2012 • 272pp
978-0-470-40514-7 • Electronic and Online Editions Available
$17.95; CAN $21.95; €14.40; £11.99
To speak to the Editors or for a review copy or sample chapters from The Hobbit and Philosophy, please contact:
Michelle Martella Tel: +1 (781) 833-8577/email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Editors
Gregory Bassham is Chair of the Philosophy Department at King's College, Pennsylvania and a professor of philosophy. He edited The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy and co-edited The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy and The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy. Eric Bronson is a visiting professor in the Humanities Department at York University in Toronto. He is the editor of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Philosophy, and co-editor of The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy and Baseball and Philosophy. William Irwin is Professor of Philosophy at King's College, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as co-editor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles including House and Philosophy, Batman and Philosophy, and Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy.
Introduction - Never Laugh at Live Philosophers - Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson
PART 1 - DISCOVER YOUR INNER TOOK
1 - The Adventurous Hobbit - Gregory Bassham
2 - "The Road Goes Ever On and On": A Hobbit's Tao - Michael C. Brannigan
3 - Big Hairy Feet: A Hobbit's Guide to Enlightenment - Eric Bronson
4 - Bilbo Baggins: The Cosmopolitan Hobbit - Dennis Knepp
PART 2 - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE SLIMY
5 - The Glory of Bilbo Baggins - Charles Taliaferro and Craig Lindahl-Urben
6 - Pride and Humility in The Hobbit - Laura Garcia
7 - "My Precious": Tolkien on the Perils of Possessiveness - Anna Minore and Gregory Bassham
8 - Tolkien's Just War - David Kyle Johnson
9 - "Pretty Fair Nonsense": Art and Beauty in The Hobbit - Philip Tallon
10 - Hobbitus Ludens: Why Hobbits Like to Play and Why We Should, Too - David L. O'Hara
PART 3 - RIDDLES AND RINGS
11 - "The Lord of Magic and Machines": Tolkien on Magic and Technology - W. Christopher Stewart
12 - Inside The Hobbit: Bilbo Baggins and the Paradox of Fiction - Amy Kind
13 - Philosophy in the Dark: The Hobbit and Hermeneutics - Tom Grimwood
PART 4 - BEING THERE AND BACK AGAIN
14 - Some Hobbits Have All the Luck - Randall M. Jensen
15 - The Consolation of Bilbo: Providence and Free Will in Middle-Earth - Grant Sterling
16 - Out of the Frying Pan: Courage and Decision Making in Wilderland - Jamie Carlin Watson
17 - There and Back Again: A Song of Innocence and Experience - Joe Kraus
CONTRIBUTORS: Our Most Excellent and Audacious Contributors/INDEX: The Moon Letters
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