‘Atlanta,’ ‘Legion,’ ‘The Good Place’ and More Series Break Down Heady Philosophical Riddles — No Textbook Required

IndieWire | 4/26/2018 | Staff
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“Everyone hates moral philosophers,” Chidi, a former ethics teacher, says on “The Good Place.”

This sentiment may have been true a few years ago, but that was before the NBC comedy made philosophy the driving engine for its compelling storytelling.

Discussion - Philosophy - Medium - Meant - Daunting

Bringing a proper discussion of philosophy to a medium meant to entertain might seem like a daunting prospect, but shows like “The Good Place,” “Atlanta,” “Legion,” and “A.P. Bio” have incorporated these discussions in an organic way. And because so many of those shows are comedies, it’s made philosophy much more accessible to audiences who might otherwise never consider the subject. It’s given a new dimension to shows that are challenging their audiences to engage even more with the material.

Navel-gazing hasn’t always been so popular, though, mainly because of its perception as stuffy or difficult to understand. Clemson University’s Todd May, who consults for “The Good Place,” told IndieWire that incorporating philosophy on TV can be tricky because people often mistake what it really is.

Philosophy - Misconceptions - One - Anybody - Opinion

“Philosophy often falls prey to one of two misconceptions,” he said. “The first one is that it’s just anybody’s opinion about things. This isn’t true. Philosophy requires meticulous and often difficult reflection on questions that are important but elusive, such as how we should act toward one another or whether there can be meaningfulness to life.

“The other misconception is that it is a realm so divorced from our existence that it has no relevance to people’s lives,” he continued. “Unfortunately, professional philosophers often contribute to that misconception by resorting to needless jargon in their writings. There are certainly issues in philosophy that require a technical analysis, but there are fewer...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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