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Since the Doom series, First Person Shooter (FPS) videogames have ricocheted through the gaming community, often reaching outside that community to the wider public. While critics primarily lampoon FPSs for their aggressiveness and on-screen violence, gamers see something else. Halo is one of the greatest, most successful FPSs ever to grace the world of gaming. Although Halo is a FPS, it has a science-fiction storyline that draws from previous award-winning science fiction literature. It employs a game mechanic that limits the amount of weapons a player can carry to two, and a multiplayer element that has spawned websites like Red vs. Blue and games within the game created by players themselves. Halo’s unique and extraordinary features raise serious questions. Are campers really doing anything wrong? Does Halo’s music match the experience of the gamer? Would Plato have used Halo to train citizens to live an ethical life? What sort of Artificial Intelligence exists in Halo and how is it used? Can the player’s experience of war tell us anything about actual war? Is there meaning to Master Chief’s rough existence? How does it affect the player’s ego if she identifies too strongly with an aggressive character like Master Chief? Is Halo really science fiction? Can Halo be used for enlightenment-oriented thinking in the Buddhist sense? Does Halo's weapon limitation actually contribute to the depth of the gameplay? When we willingly play Halo only to die again and again, are we engaging in some sort of self-injurious behavior? What is expansive gameplay and how can it be informed by the philosophy of Michel Foucault? In what way does Halo’s post-apocalyptic paradigm force gamers to see themselves as agents of divine deliverance? What can Red vs. Blue teach us about personal identity? These questions are tackled by writers who are both Halo cognoscenti and active philosophers, with a foreword by renowned Halo fiction author Fred Van Lente and an afterword by leading games scholar and artist Roger Ngim.
Considered a sign of the ‘coming of age’ of video games as an artistic medium, the award-winning BioShock franchise covers vast philosophical ground. BioShock and Philosophy: Irrational Game, Rational Book presents expert reflections by philosophers (and Bioshock connoisseurs) on this critically acclaimed and immersive fan-favorite. Reveals the philosophical questions raised through the artistic complexity, compelling characters and absorbing plots of this ground-breaking first-person shooter (FPS) Explores what BioShock teaches the gamer about gaming, and the aesthetics of video game storytelling Addresses a wide array of topics including Marxism, propaganda, human enhancement technologies, political decision-making, free will, morality, feminism, transworld individuality, and vending machines in the dystopian society of Rapture Considers visionary game developer Ken Levine’s depiction of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, as well as the theories of Aristotle, de Beauvoir, Dewey, Leibniz, Marx, Plato, and others from the Hall of Philosophical Heroes
SpongeBob SquarePants and Philosophy introduces fans of SpongeBob SquarePants to some of the great thinkers and questions in philosophy. The essays can be shared by young and old alike, kindling new interest in philosophy and life’s big questions. What keeps SpongeBob “reeling in” major audiences on a daily basis is that underneath the lighthearted and whimsical exterior are the seeds of philosophical discussions about identity and the self, our obligations toward others, benefits and tensions of the individual in community, principles of the marketplace and environmental ethics, and questions of just how exactly Jack Kahuna Laguna can build a fire at the bottom of the ocean. (Okay, so perhaps we don’t have an answer for that last one, but maybe if you look into that fire long enough the answer will be revealed.) The book begins with a section exploration of the major characters of the series. For instance, chapter 1 uses the philosophies of Aristotle to demonstrate why SpongeBob, more than any other character in the series, is defined by a life of well-being and flourishing. Chapter two provides an assessment of SpongeBob’s best friend, Patrick Star.
The Onion, with its unique brand of deadpan satirical humor, has become a familiar part of the American scene. The newspaper has a readership of over a million, and reaches millions more with its spin-off books and Onion News Network. The Onion has shown us that standard ways of thinking about the news have their grotesque and silly side, and this invites philosophical examination. Twenty-one philosophers were commissioned to provide witty philosophical perspectives on just what makes the Onion so truthful and insightful. Former Governor Sarah Palin reported: “I just couldn’t put it down. The Onion and Philosophy is the most exciting book I’ve read since Principia Mathematica.” Are the Onion writers truly cynical, or just cynically faking it? Does the Onion really have a serious point of view on religion? On sex? On politics? Who cares what Area Man thinks? If everyone’s so dumb, how come so many Onion readers keep on laughing at how dumb they are?
This entertaining collection of essays shows that Sherlock Holmes sees things others don’t. He sees the world in a different way, and by so doing, allows us to see that same world – and human behavior – in different ways as well. Oh, sure, there have been countless detectives who have followed in his footsteps and who seem to rival his abilities. Just turn on the TV or browse the local bookshop and you’ll find idiosyncratic super sleuths using forensics and reasoning to solve a whole host of crimes and misdeeds. And yet no one rivals our dear, dear Holmes. Why does Sherlock reign, even more than a century later, as king? Can this mystery be solved? Unable to reach either Holmes or Watson (or Doyle for that matter, though we’ve tried every medium we can think of), we’ve been forced to gather our own team of investigators to practice their powers of observation and perception, to apply their own reasoning and methodologies to the task at hand. The results, I fear, have led us to a number of cases that must be solved first. Is Holmes simply eccentric or a sociopath? Is he human or something from the holodeck? Is he as dangerous on the page as he is in person? Wait – does he even exist? For that matter, do you? (I fear several investigators have been forced to take a much needed holiday after wrestling with that one.) What is the source of his faculty of observation and facility for deduction? Systematic training as Watson surmises? Genetic? Or is he just really lucky? And is this whole logic thing compatible with emotions? Are Holmes and Watson good friends or soul mates? Just what is the nature of friendship? Do they complete each other or just get on each other’s nerves? And why all the secrecy? Disguises? Deceptions? The plot thickens. What is the essence of consciousness? Is the observable world subject to our intentions? Why does Holmes debunk mysticism when Doyle so readily embraces it? Why is Holmes our favorite drug user? Our notebooks are filled with clues and, dare I say, answers. Is there more than one way to define the concept, justice? Is hope necessary in the world? Is boredom? Play? Can any thing really be understood? Objectively? And just what is the last unresolved mystery involving Sherlock Holmes? The game that's afoot isn't just the thing being pursued but the fun to be had as well.
Facebook and Philosophy is an entertaining, multi-faceted exploration of what Facebook means for us and for our relationships. With discussions ranging from the nature of friendship and its relationship to "friending," to the (debatable) efficacy of "online activism," this book is the most extensive and systematic attempt to understand Facebook yet. And with plenty of new perspectives on Twitter and Web 2.0 along the way, this fun, thought-provoking book is a serious and significant contribution for anyone working with social media, whether in academia, journalism, public relations, activism, or business. Exploring far-reaching questions — Can our interactions on Facebook help us care about each other more? Does Facebook signal the death of privacy, or (perhaps worse yet) the death of our desire for privacy? — Facebook and Philosophy is vital reading for anyone involved in social networks today.
Socrates, an Athenian soldier, was a calmly efficient killing machine. His student Plato was an accomplished and broad-shouldered wrestler. Martial arts and philosophy have always gone hand in hand, as well as fist in throat. Philosophical argument is closely parallel with hand-to-hand combat. And all of today’s Asian martial arts—like Karate, Kung-Fu, Judo, or Aikido—were developed to embody and apply philosophical ideas. The Japanese martial tradition of Budo, for instance, was influenced by the three philosophical traditions of Shinto, Confucianism, and Zen Buddhism, and these philosophies are still taught in Japanese martial arts schools all across the world. As Damon Young explains in his chapter, the Japanese martial arts customs of courtesy are derived from Shinto purity, Confucian virtues, and the loving brutality of Zen. In his interview with Bodidharma (included in the book), Graham Priest brings out aspects of Buddhist philosophy behind Shaolin Kung-Fu—how fighting monks are seeking Buddhahood, not brawls. But as Scott Farrell’s chapter reveals, Eastern martial arts have no monopoly on philosophical traditions. Western chivalry is an education in and living revival of Aristotelian ethical theories. The Western martial art of fencing is explored by Nick Michaud, who looks at the morality of selfishness in fencing, and Christopher Lawrence and Jeremy Moss, who try to pin down what makes fencing unique: is it the sword, the techniques, the footwork, the aristocratic aura, or something else? Jack Fuller argues that his training in Karate was an education in Stoicism. Travis Taylor and Sasha Cooper reveal the utilitarian thinking behind Jigoro Kano’s Judo. Kevin Krein maintains that the martial arts are a reply to the existentialist’s anxiety about the meaninglessness of life. Patricia Peterson examines Karate’s contribution to feminism, and Scott Beattie analyzes the role of space in the martial arts school. Joe Lynch pits the Western ideas of Plato against the Eastern ideas of the Shaolin monks. Bronwyn Finnigan and Koji Tanaka uncover the meaning of human action as it appears in Kendo. Rick Schubert explains the meaning of mastery in the fighting arts. Moving to ethical issues, Tamara Kohn discovers what we owe to others in Aikido. Chris Mortensen questions whether his own Buddhist pacifism is compatible with being a martial artist. In different ways, Gillian Russell and John Haffner and Jason Vogel assess the ways in which martial arts can morally compromise us. How can the sweaty and the brutal be exquisitely beautiful? Judy Saltzman looks into the curious charm of fighting and forms, with help from Friedrich Nietzsche.

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