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The Big Bang Theory and Philosophy


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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix INTRODUCTION: Unraveling the Mysteries 1 PART ONE IT ALL BEGAN ON A WARM SUMMER S EVENING IN GREECE : ARISTOTELIAN INSIGHTS 1 Aristotle on Sheldon Cooper: Ancient Greek Meets Modern Geek 7 Greg Littmann 2 You re a Sucky, Sucky Friend : Seeking Aristotelian Friendship in The Big Bang Theory 21 Dean A. Kowalski 3 The Big Bang Theory on the Use and Abuse of Modern Technology 35 Kenneth Wayne Sayles III PART TWO IS IT WRONG TO SAY I LOVE OUR KILLER ROBOT? : ETHICS AND VIRTUE 4 Feeling Bad about Feeling Good: Is It Morally Wrong to Laugh at Sheldon? 51 W. Scott Clifton 5 ... But Is Wil Wheaton Evil? 65 Donna Marie Smith 6 Do We Need a Roommate Agreement?: Pleasure, Selfi shness, and Virtue in The Big Bang Theory 80 Gregory L. Bock and Jeffrey L. Bock PART THREE PERHAPS YOU MEAN A DIFFERENT THING THAN I DO WHEN YOU SAY SCIENCE : SCIENCE, SCIENTISM, AND RELIGION 7 Getting Fundamental about Doing Physics in The Big Bang Theory 99 Jonathan Lawhead 8 Sheldon, Leonard, and Leslie: The Three Faces of Quantum Gravity 112 Andrew Zimmerman Jones 9 The One Paradigm to Rule Them All: Scientism and The Big Bang Theory 128 Massimo Pigliucci 10 Cooper Considerations: Science, Religion, and Family 144 Adam Barkman and Dean A. Kowalski PART FOUR I NEED YOUR OPINION ON A MATTER OF SEMIOTICS : LANGUAGE AND MEANING 11 Wittgenstein and Language Games in The Big Bang Theory 161 Janelle Potzsch 12 I m Afraid You Couldn t Be More Wrong! : Sheldon and Being Right about Being Wrong 175 Adolfas Mackonis 13 The Cooper Conundrum: Good Lord, Who s Tolerating Whom? 189 Ruth E. Lowe 14 The Mendacity Bifurcation 203 Don Fallis PART FIVE THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE THAT HAS ALWAYS ELUDED ME : THE HUMAN CONDITION 15 Mothers and Sons of The Big Bang Theory 219 Ashley Barkman 16 Penny, Sheldon, and Personal Growth through Difference 233 Nicholas G. Evans 17 Deconstructing the Women of The Big Bang Theory: So Much More Than Girlfriends 244 Mark D. White and Maryanne L. Fisher THE EPISODE COMPENDIUM: Hey, It s a Big Menu There s Two Pages Just for Desserts 257 CONTRIBUTORS: But If We Were Part of the Team ... We Could Drink for Free in Any Bar in Any College Town 261 INDEX: Cornucopia ... Let s Make That Our Word of the Day 267

About the Author

Dean A. Kowalski is an associate professor of philosophy atUniversity of Wisconsin-Waukesha and the author of five books, mostrecently Moral Theory at the Movies and The Philosophy ofJoss Whedon. William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College. Heoriginated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books ascoeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy andhas overseen recent titles including House and Philosophy,Batman and Philosophy, and Inception andPhilosophy.


If you re looking for a straight discussion ofphilosophy try reading Frederick Copleston s The History ofPhilosophy, but if you re open to learning in a funenvironment try this book. Just remember that this bookis first of all a study of philosophy geared to thenon-specialist. The by-product of the book is that you willdeepen your understanding of and engagement with the characters inthese shows. (Ponderings on a Faith Journey, 10August 2012)

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