Woody Allen and Philosophy
You Mean My Whole Fallacy Is Wrong?
Edited by Mark T. Conard and Aeon J. Skoble
Volume 8 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series
Comedian, writer, director, actor, musician, and deep thinker, Woody Allen is clearly trying to say something, but what? And why should anyone care? Fifteen philosophers representing different schools of thought answer these questions, focusing on different works and varied aspects of Allen's multifaceted output. These essays explore such topics as how Schopenhauer's theory of humor emerges in Annie Hall; why, for all his apparent pessimism, Allen gives a brighter alternative to the Bogartian nihilism of film noir; the importance of integrity for the Good Life, as found in Manhattan; and the fact that just because the universe is meaningless and life is pointless is no reason to commit suicide. Also here are droll, probing essays on why hedonism is a health hazard, and why, despite the fact that Earth may be swallowed by a black hole and crushed to the size of a peanut, the toilet continues to overflow.
"As the Greek playwright Hepatitis asks in Woody Allen’s play, God, ‘Did anybody out there major in philosophy?’ Well, thanks to Woody Allen and Philosophy, you need not have majored in philosophy to gain a deeper understanding both of philosophy and Woody Allen’s body of work, while at the same time learning how to pronounce ‘allegorical’ and ‘didacticism’. . . . Written with clarity and wit, these essays are must reading for anyone who’s a fan of Woody’s work—both his teleological existentialist musings on subjective nothingness and his less esoteric stuff like ‘Did you hear about Cyclops? He got a middle eye infection’."
—Stephen J. Spignesi, author of The Woody Allen Companion
"Despite his relentless mocking of professional philosophers, despite his refusal to argue systematically for a philosophical position, despite his lack of affiliation with one type of philosophy found in Europe or America, professional philosophers like myself should acknowledge Allen as one of the great philosophical minds of our time. No professional philosopher has done as much as Allen to to raise fundamental philosophical questions in the minds of millions—or has so effectively used humor to make philosophical points. Woody Allen and Philosophy explores these riches more thoroughly and more entertainingly than has ever been done before."
—Peter H. Hare, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy Emeritus
"Long ago I discovered that nearly every intelligent person has a favorite Woody Allen film. Woody Allen and Philosophy relates major works like Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Crimes and Misdemeanors to the philosophy that undergirds their ‘message’. From Plato to Nietzsche, philosophers who have shaped the world’s outlook are seen to have lent substance to Woody Allen’s stunning vision of contemporary life."
—Kimball King, author of Woody Allen: A Casebook