James Bond and Philosophy
Questions Are Forever
Edited by James B. South and Jacob M. Held
Volume 23 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series
James Bond 007 strode into the human imagination in the novel Casino Royale in 1953 and hit the movie screens with Dr. No in 1962. He has become one of the best-known personalities, real or imagined, in global history. One out of every four people in the entire world has now seen a Bond movie, and every month thousands of new readers become addicted to Ian Fleming’s original Bond stories.
In James Bond and Philosophy, seventeen scholars examine hidden philosophical issues in the hazardous, deceptive, glamorous world of Double-0 Seven. Is Bond a Nietzschean hero who graduates "beyond good and evil"? Does Bond paradoxically break the law in order, ultimately, to uphold it like any "stupid policeman"? What can Bond’s razor-sharp reasoning powers tell us about the scientific pursuit of truth? Does 007’s license to kill help us understand the ethics of counterterrorism? What motivates all those despicable Bond villains—could it be a Hegelian quest for recognition?
"The perfect book for those who always suspected James Bond was more than simply Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Turns out he’s an Existentialist, a Nietzschean ‹bermensch, a Platonic Guardian, and many other things."
—Cynthia W. Walker, Media Scholar, St. Peter’s College, Jersey City
"Not since Jethro Bodine has anyone truly grasped the power of those two little zeros, at least until now. These philosophers put their Goodheads to work on this Oddjob and returned with insights Galore. I’ll never say never again."
—Randall E. Auxier, Editor, The Library of Living Philosophers
"James Bond has long supplied grist for the philosopher, but never has this grist been milled so well before. The essays in this book cover an admirable range of topics, from the politics of James Bond’s mission and his existential comportment, to the utilitarian instrumentalizing of 007, the fantastical technology of Q, induction and Bond’s extraordinarily quick wits, and of course the difficult issue of Bonds relations (if that is what they are) with women. At every step James Bond and Philosophy is brimming with insights, all the while being a great deal of fun."
—Bill Martin, author of Avant Rock and Ethical Marxism
South, James South, is Professor of Philosophy at Marquette University and editor of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy. His articles on medieval and renaissance philosophy have appeared in such scholarly journals as Review of Metaphysics, History of Philosophy Quarterly, and Rivista di Storia della Filosofia.
Jacob M. Held is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Central Arkansas. He has published articles on postmodernism, natural law ethics, and the philosophy of punishment.