Doctor Strange and philosophy has been a staple of Marvel Comics since his introduction in 1963, and with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has become even more popular. The character has always been associated with mystical and philosophical themes, making him a perfect subject for a book on philosophy. In Doctor Strange and Philosophy, editors Mark D. White and William Irwin bring together a collection of essays exploring the philosophical themes of the character and his world.
Philosophy and Magic:
The book begins with an exploration of the relationship between philosophy and magic. Editor Mark D. White argues that philosophy and magic are not as different as they may seem, and that both seek to understand the world and our place in it. He suggests that Doctor Strange embodies this connection between philosophy and magic, serving as a bridge between the two.
The Sorcerer Supreme:
One of the main focuses of the book is the role of Doctor Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme, tasked with protecting the Earth from mystical threats. Several essays explore the nature of the Sorcerer Supreme and what it means to be the guardian of the world against magical threats. The essays also delve into the ethical implications of the role, including the idea of using power responsibly and the consequences of failure.
Reality and Illusion:
Another key theme in Doctor Strange and Philosophy is the nature of reality and illusion. The character’s use of magic blurs the lines between what is real and what is not. Leading to questions about the nature of reality itself. Several essays explore these questions, discussing topics such as the nature of perception. The possibility of multiple realities, and the relationship between illusion and reality.
Doctor Strange has always associate with Eastern philosophy, particularly the idea of Zen Buddhism. Several essays in the book explore these connections, discussing the character’s use of meditation and his relationship with the Ancient One. Who serves as his mentor. The essays also delve into the broader implications of Eastern philosophy. Including the idea of non-duality and the concept of emptiness.
Morality and Ethics:
As a hero, Doctor Strange is face with moral and ethical dilemmas. And several essays in the book explore these issues. The essays delve into questions such as the ethics of using magic for personal gain. The morality of killing to save lives, and the responsibilities that come with great power. The essays also examine the character’s relationships with other heroes, including his roles in the Illuminati and the Avengers.
Overall, Doctor Strange and Philosophy is an engaging and thought-provoking exploration of the philosophical themes of the character and his world. The essays are written by a diverse group of philosophers. Each offering their own unique perspectives on the topics at hand. While the book is primarily aim at fans of Doctor Strange and comic book enthusiasts. It also has value for anyone interested in philosophy and its intersections with popular culture.
The editors have done an excellent job of bringing together a wide range of essays that cover a variety of topics, from the nature of reality to the ethics of heroism. The essays are well-written and accessible, making them easy to understand even for readers who are new to philosophy. While some of the essays are more engaging than others, overall the book is a valuable contribution to the growing field of philosophy and popular culture.
One criticism of the book is that it is primarily focuse on the comic book version of Doctor Strange. And rather than the cinematic version. While this is understandable, give that the book was published in 2018. It would be interesting to see how the philosophical themes explored in the book. And apply to the character as portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.