Thursday, November 26, 2020

Reader's Diary #2149 - David Kyle Johnson (editor): Black Mirror and Philosophy

I've really grown to love the Blackwell and Philosophy series and Black Mirror and Philosophy marks my 4th. I'm starting to recognize some of the more common philosophical ideas and theories as well as philosophers. I can't always match up the philosopher with the the philosophy but that's not why I enjoy the books anyway. Basically, I like how they take me deeper into the ideas of pop culture, ones that the creators intended or the ramifications even if they didn't. 

Of course, as fans of the Black Mirror TV show know, there's typically a lot of obviously intentionally provocative ideas about technology and society, so in that regard the philosophers writing for this book had a lot of their initial work done for them. Still, in the Blackwell series fashion, they explored the show more comprehensively and complexly, but in a conversational, usually amusing manner. Still, I doubt it would be of much interest of those who didn't see the show or the particular episodes discussed.

In this book we get the expected debates such a show would
inspire: should we be concerned with the direction technology is leading us in? Are our actions online and in the virtual world a reflection of our true selves and what are the ethics of such behaviours? Can technology help us gain real immortality? And so on. These are all handled expertly in the book and as an added bonus, it made me rethink certain episodes. For instance, I always felt that the very first episode, while good, was a weird way to start the series as I don't find it really representational of the series overall. The discussion in Black Mirror and Philosophy made be appreciate its positioning much more.

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