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Golden Compass and Philosophy cover

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ISBN 978-0-8126-9671-4


288 pages

Fall 2009

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The Golden Compass and Philosophy

God Bites the Dust

Edited by Richard Greene and Rachel Robison
Volume 43 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

“Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall . . .”

With these words, the spell is cast. Upon reading them, millions of people have been pulled irresistibly into the adventure-filled cosmic vision of Pullman’s His Dark Materials, a vision in which the angelic being who claims to be God is a fraud and a tyrant, life and love are made out of Dust, a whole world is dominated by a malignant church bent on separating children from their animal natures, and the best hope for the future lies with a grimy young girl who revels in trickery and deceit.

  •  Can a habitual liar fight for truth?
  • Why might souls in the Afterlife prefer personal extinction?
  • Is some knowledge too important to be made freely available?
  • If heroism has been long foretold, must it cease to count as heroism?
  • Is religious indoctrination mutilation of the soul?
  • Do fictional characters have personal identities?
  • Is the Authority the same person as the Judeo- Christian God?
  • Do all possible worlds exist, and can we ever cross from one world into another?
  • Must we all return to Dust?
  • Do the books of His Dark Materials exert a dark influence on their readers’ minds?

The Golden Compass and the other volumes of His Dark Materials construct a magnificent aftertheology on the grand scale of Milton and Tolkien. So many opportunities for fresh reflection on the human spirit, good and evil, freedom of thought, and church authority are boldly taken up by the fascinating chapters in The Golden Compass and Philosophy.”

—John R. Shook, author of A Companion to Pragmatism

“Readers of His Dark Materials will now be divided into two groups: those who truly understand Pullman’s great work and those who have not read The Golden Compass and Philosophy.”

—Peter Vernezze, co-editor of Bob Dylan and Philosophy

Richard Greene is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Weber State University. He co-edited Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy (2007) and Zombies, Vampires, and Philosophy (2010). Rachel Robison is completing her Ph.D. at UMass, Amherst. She contributed chapters to Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy (2007) and The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy (2008). Both co-editors have sometimes not seen eye to eye with the Authority.

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