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In The Walking Dead, human beings are pushed to their limits by a zombie apocalypse and have to decide what really matters. Good and evil, freedom and slavery, when one life has to be sacrificed for another, even the nature of religionall the ultimate questions of human existence are posed afresh as the old society crumbles away and a new form of society emerges, with new beliefs and new rules.
The Ultimate Walking Dead and Philosophy brings together twenty philosophers with different perspectives on the imagined world of this addictive TV show. How can we keep our humanity when faced with such extreme life-or-death choices? Did Dr. Jenner do the right thing in committing suicide, when all hope seemed to be lost? Does the Governor, as the new Machiavelli, prove that willingness to repeatedly commit murder is the best technique for getting and keeping political power? Why do most characters place such importance on keeping particular individuals alive, especially children? What can we learn about reality from Rick’s haunting hallucinations?
Wayne Yuen teaches philosophy at Ohlone College in California. He is the editor of The Walking Dead and Philosophy: Zombie Apocalypse Now! (2012). He lives in San Jose, CA.