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Online Course

Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes

Harvard University and Smithsonian Institution via edX

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Overview

Pow! Bang! Kaboom! Superhero stories, first arriving on the scene in the late 1930s, are now among the most popular forms of global entertainment. The study of philosophy has been around for centuries. Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes, a SmithsonianX and Harvard Division of Continuing Education course, blends these superheroes narratives with the core areas of philosophy.

SmithsonianX has partnered with the Harvard Division of Continuing Education to bring this course from the Harvard Extension School to edX. This introductory philosophy course, led by Professor Christopher Robichaud of the Harvard Kennedy School, offers an exciting lens to interpret key philosophical ideas — metaphysics and epistemology, social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of mind, existentialism, moral relativism, and much more.

From Superman's embrace of truth, justice, and the American way to Wonder Woman's efforts at promoting peace rather than war, from Spider-Man's personal struggles at balancing his romantic life with his crime fighting exploits to the X-Men's social struggles with combating prejudice, Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes will give you the chance to explore philosophy through the many superhero narratives via videos, readings, and a meaningful course community. We invite both those new to philosophy and philosophy lovers to join us on this journey!

Taught by

Dr. Christopher Robichaud

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Review for edX's Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes Based on 1 reviews

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Ana R
Ana completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I found this course amazing. Professor Robichaud explores both superhero narratives and philosophy, and how the two intertwine, both amongst themselves and with the real world. I have always loved both superheroes and philosphy, and this course dives deep into both in ways that will not only blow your mind, but also leave you thinking and shifting the way you perceive these narratives.

It explores topics that range from justice (many types of justice), crime, and punishment, to possible and abstract worlds, to free will, to identities (different types), to ethics (of both superheroes and the real world), to knowledge, science, and power, to art philosphy, and more... and it does so in an innovative, original, and unexpected way that will make you eager to keep learning and enjoying the course.
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