Inception and Philosophy : Because It's Never Just a Dream

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/15/2011
  • Publisher: Wiley

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A philosophical look at the movie Inception and its brilliant metaphysical puzzles Is the top still spinning? Was it all a dream? In the world of Christopher Nolans four-time Academy Award-winning movie, people can share one anothers dreams and alter their beliefs and thoughts. Inception is a metaphysical heist film that raises more questions than it answers: Can we know what is real? Can you be held morally responsible for what you do in dreams? What is the nature of dreams, and what do they tell us about the boundaries of "self" and "other"? From Plato to Aristotle and from Descartes to Hume, Inception and Philosophy draws from important philosophical minds to shed new light on the movies captivating themes, including the one that everyone talks about: did the top fall down (and does it even matter)? Explores the movies key questions and themes, including how we can tell if were dreaming or awake, how to make sense of a paradox, and whether or not inception is possible Gives new insights into the nature of free will, time, dreams, and the unconscious mind Discusses different interpretations of the film, and whether or not philosophy can help shed light on which is the "right one" Deepens your understanding of the movies multi-layered plot and dream-infiltrating characters, including Dom Cobb, Arthur, Mal, Ariadne, Eames, Saito, and Yusuf An essential companion for every dedicated Inception fan, this book will enrich your experience of the Inception universe and its complex dreamscape.

Author Biography

David Kyle Johnson is assistant professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and the editor of Heroes and Philosophy. William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the best-selling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles, including House and Philosophy, Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy, and Mad Men and Philosophy.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments: The Dream Teamp. xi
The Editor's Totem: An Elegant Solution for Keeping Track of Realityp. 1
Introduction: Plato's Academy Awardp. 11
Was Mal Right? Was it All Just a Dream?: Making Sense of Inception
Was It All a Dream?: Why Nolan's Answer Doesn't Matterp. 17
Let Me Put My Thoughts in You: It Was All Just a Dreamp. 31
Even If It Is a Dream, We Should Still Carep. 46
The Unavoidable Dream Problemp. 62
Is the Top Still Spinning?: Tackling the Unanswerable Question
The Parable of the Spinning Top: Skepticism, Angst, and Cobb's Choicep. 77
Reality Doesn't Really Matterp. 92
Why Care whether the Top Keeps Spinning?p. 108
Is Inception Possible?: The Metaphysics, Ethics, and Mechanics of Incepting
How to Hijack a Mind: Inception and the Ethics of Heist Filmsp. 125
Inception, Teaching, and Hypnosis: The Ethics of Idea-Givingp. 140
Inception and Free Will: Are They Compatible?p. 152
Honor and Redemption in Corporate Espionagep. 166
What is Dreaming?: Exploring the Nature of (Shared) Dreams (Upon Dreams)
Shared Dreaming and Extended Mindsp. 177
Morally Responsible Dreaming: Your Mind Is the Scene of the Crimep. 187
Dream Time: Inception and the Philosophy of Timep. 199
Dreams and Possible Worlds: Inception and the Metaphysics of Modalityp. 215
Do Our Dreams Occur While We Sleep?p. 231
Should I Take A Leap of Faith?: Religious Themes in Inception
Taking a Leap of Faith: A How-to Guidep. 249
Limbo, Utopia, and the Paradox of Idyllic Hopep. 265
Unlocking the Vault of the Mind: Inception and Asian Philosophyp. 276
What Does it All Mean?: Finding the Hidden Lession of Inception
Mal-Placed Regretp. 295
"You're Just a Shade": Knowing Others, and Yourselfp. 310
Paradox, Dreams, and Strange Loops in Inceptionp. 326
Appendix:A Safe Full of Secrets: Hidden Gems You May Have Missedp. 343
contributors: The Architectsp. 363
Index: The PASIV (Plenary Alphabetized Subject Index for This Volume) Devicep. 371
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