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ISBN 0-8126-9606-9



320 pages

(Fall 2006)

The Beatles and Philosophy

Nothing You Can Think That Can't Be Thunk

Edited by Michael Baur and Steven Baur
Volume 25 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

The Beatles rapidly evolved from producing innocent teenage love lyrics to posing profound and disturbing questions about reality. They revolutionized popular songs intellectually as well as musically. Their work and their influence distilled all the enthusiasms and disquiets of the Sixties: the longing for more authentic relationships, the skepticism about radical leaders both spiritual and political, the eager yet critical embrace of consumer culture, the chemically assisted lift-off into inner space.

In The Beatles and Philosophy, twenty professional philosophers and ardent Beatles fans take a close look at the thought of the Beatles, and explore the implications of their ideas for life, love, society, politics, and spirituality.

"The Beatles and Philosophy shows how the Beatles transcend the Sixties and connect to the world’s big ideas—from Vedanta to Aristotle, from Hegel to Derrida. This band—and this book—touch both heart and mind."

—Richard Polt, author of Heidegger: An Introduction

"Peer through the looking glass of philosophy at the world of the Beatles, and behold the many meanings of life all over again! The Doctors Baur take us on a long and winding road through the Beatles’ music, and help us make the most of the lessons they left behind."

—Bruce "Doctor" Lev, author of Billy Shears: The Secret History of the Beatles

"The Beatles’ engagement with Eastern philosophies and political philosophies (Marxism especially) is well known. Besides exploring these links with nuance and clarity, this book invites us to consider other, less immediately obvious philosophical implications of the Beatles’ output. The Beatles and Philosophy re-affirms the Beatles’ crucial importance as reflectors and influencers of 1960s intellectual culture and invites us to consider afresh the meanings of lyrics we thought we knew well."

—Edward Macan, author of Endless Enigma: A Musical Biography of Emerson, Lake and Palmer

"For everyone who has played the Beatles forwards, backwards, and upside down and wondered what it all meant, this compilation deconstructs those often-enigmatic lyrics in a fascinating and engaging way. You will not need academic credit to feel satisfied after reading these insightful essays, which are so intense that you’re not left feeling guilty for thinking deeply about popular culture and having fun doing it."

—Rob Friedman, former Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Law Record

Michael Baur is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University. Yesterday, he played a Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar in various cover bands. Now his life has changed in oh so many ways: he writes articles on Kant, Aquinas, Heidegger, and Rawls. Steven Baur is Assistant Professor of Music at Dalhousie University. He used to twist and shout as a rock’n’roll drummer, and now furiously writes musicological studies of Mendelssohn and Ravel. He’s still got blisters on his fingers.

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