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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:21 pm 
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I'm interviewing Mark D. White, the editor of the book "Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test" tomorrow.

Keep in mind the book explains common philosophical treatises and theories using Watchmen characters and their actions as examples, so construct your questions accordingly.

So questions like, "was Veidt right?" are no good, but questions like, "is Veidt a textbook Utilitarian?" are better.

Anyone have any questions you want me to ask?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:49 pm 
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1) Is Comedian a nihilist or a cynic? Please explain why in terms I can use to win internet arguments.

2) Who is the captain of the Black Freighter?

3) Can Doctor Manhattan assemble a rock that is so heavy that he can't levitate it?


Maybe just #1.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:58 pm 
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Damn, if the interview was later I could have read the book first.
As it is I've never been the biggest philosophy student.

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it was tying it into the rape-revenge stories and making light of a verys erious sub-genre that kind of offended me.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:24 pm 
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...look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!
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Have you ever interviewed Moore or Gibbons about this project?

Is there a risk of over-analysis? After all, it's "only a comic".

When did you first get interested in the story? Was it before or after you became interested in philosophy?

How would you define the "moral dilemma" contained in the book's ending?

Could you pigeon-hole specific character types depending on how each individual reader sees the resolution of the story?

The film's ending differs from the graphic novel. From what you have read or seen regarding this, do you think that it "changes" the message the GN is trying to convey?



Just a few to start with. I may cook up a couple more. :) Zack and Dave have each had one from me, so I'm on a roll, here. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:48 pm 
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Last edited by People Must Be Told. on Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:37 pm 
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People Must Be Told. wrote:
I happen to know that in March, another site is interviewing Moore just prior to the publication of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910 and that one of their questions will be what is his own take on academics, philosophers and literary critics dealing with his works.
That should prove interesting; I wonder, does Mr White think that he and his contributors will come up in conversation?


I'd like to read that interview when it gets done. Can you tell me which site it will be on?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:57 pm 
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It'll eventually go up over at the Forbidden Planet International blog.

The interviewer has something of a personal relationship with Moore and, at the prospective interviewee's own suggestion, is currently accepting questions from the good old general public to put to Alan in March (scroll halfway down to date entry 13/01/09 for details).
I have it on good authority that anything whatsoever to do with WATCHMEN in any way, shape or form is strictly off-limits for obvious reasons, however.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:23 pm 
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My question (sorry if it's long-winded):

Was there any concern about possibly ignoring or downplaying some of the more complex psychological facets present in each character by trying to examine them as embodiments of a particular philosophical outlook? The character of Adrian Veidt, for example, is often scrutinized through the prism of utilitarianism, and it is often said of him that he would sacrifice the lives of the few for the welfare of the many, which is obviously true. But, are you not ignoring Veidt's enormous personal investment in his plot and its success? His adulation and infatuation with Alexander the Great and Ramesses II, and his manic quest for self-actualization seem to be downplayed in favor of a more altruistic and decidedly more recognizable, run-of-the-mill utilitarian persona, for example. Likewise, Rorschach is often examined as a pure deontologist, and his individual experiences and motivations are not always factored into his deconstruction. Did you feel that including these things would have possibly detracted from the broader philosophical arguments?

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Last edited by EmPiiRe x on Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:25 am 
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Look up the words "utilitarianism" and "altruism", Emp. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:37 am 
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Whatever that's supposed to mean.

The book sometimes paints Veidt's motivations as selfless and altruistic. Again, this is sweeping his personal motivations under the rug. If somebody reading the book had never read Watchmen (not likely to happen, but still), they'd think that Veidt is this unselfish peacenik who worked tirelessly to achieve global harmony, albeit through questionable means. His lunatic infatuation and wholly selfish desire to be the one who ushered the world into this new age of peace is never addressed, and his messianic delusions are never addressed or factored into the discussion. His reasons for setting his plot in motion were equally selfish and selfless, but the book only addresses it from one angle. I'm not necessarily deriding this, as it may have been a necessary compromise in order to keep it within the framework of a philosophical discussion (bringing in personal motivations might have muddled that up), but I was just wondering if it was intentional or not.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:45 am 
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Adrian isn't utilitarian. His whole persona is the exact opposite. That's what I mean.

I thought you may have been looking for another word.


/peace

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:51 am 
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This book certainly operates off of the assumption that he is, so it's appropriate to frame the question in that way.

And I would make the case that he is indeed the embodiment of it, both its positive and negative aspects. The man's entire life is one big example of the ends justifying the means. Everything he does is done to further his goals and ambitions. But is the ultimate goal world peace or his own personal glory? Is world peace just a means to an end, the actual end being his place in history?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:45 pm 
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Hi, I wrote the chapter on utilitarianism and deontology in Watchmen and Philosophy, and I went out of my way to avoid making the mistake that EmPiiRe x describes.

EmPiiRe x is absolutely right, Veidt is not a utilitarian, he uses utilitarian ethics to rationalize his quest for power. Similarly, Rorschach is not a deontologist. He uses deontology to rationalize his actions.

Here's what I said in the book.
Quote:
So neither consequentialism nor deontology comes off well in Watchmen. The characters use the ideas as thin rationalizations for corrupt behavior, and at least in the case of utilitarianism the ideas themselves are shown to be flawed. But critiquing consequentialism and deontology is not the main goal for Moore and Gibbons. Their deepest concern is obviously expressed in the aphorism which gives the comic its name and which appears in fragmentary form throughout the book: “Who watches the watchmen?”
Then at the end I wrote
Quote:
Rorschach and Ozymandias are important because we see in them that anyone can be corrupted. Leftist or rightist political views are really of little consequence, because they are merely ways that the powerful rationalize what they are doing. Consequentialism and deontology are merely further rationalizations of these ruling ideologies. It is thus not surprising that neither view really gets a fair shake in Watchmen. Moore and Gibbons aren’t interested in whether the views can be tinkered with to the point that they are a reasonable guide to behavior, because that is not how these ideologies function in the real world.
I hope that clarifies things.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:15 am 
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I'd be interested to hear the authors' opinions on where Virtue ethics fit into Watchmen and how such areas of ethics can be explored. I didn't study it on my philosophy course unfortunately, so I'll rephrase it a little...

From what area of ethical thought would you say that Dan and Laurie's views be best understood, especially in contrast to those of Adrian and Rorschach?

Sorry, I know it's vague, but that's kind of the point as I would like a nice, juicy catch-all answer. ;)

Thanks,

V.


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