Orphan Black and Philosophy (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

by Richard Greene (Editor)

Paperback, 2016




Open Court (2016), 288 pages

User reviews

LibraryThing member greeniezona
I was 2/3 of the way through watching all of Orphan Black when this book started stalking me at the library. It found itself a perch just one shelf down from the Minecraft books in non-fiction, which just happened to be exactly where I stood every few weeks while my kids combed the Minecraft section over, looking for new books, or at least books they hadn't memorized yet. It was inevitable that I checked this book out.

As it turned out, there is an entire pop culture and philosophy series, and after reading this one, I may have to put several others on my to-read list. This book was a collection of essays that were part obsessive fan theories (there were several moments where I thought, "Oh, that is what was happening there!") part social theory, part philosophy. Although there was little cohesion or coordination between essays, it did address a variety of interesting topics, from the purpose of life to the legality and ethics of patenting genetic information.

My favorite essay was the first, "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made," which addresses the complicated non-identity problem: Do future individuals have a moral case for injury if the act that caused them harm also resulted in their very existence? It's a tricky problem with a variety of implications and examples in the world of the show. It ends beautifully thus: "Our lives are fearfully and wonderfully made, by our own two hands, one day at a time."

The weakest essay was, for me, "Re: Production," which pretends to be redacted memoranda created by someone within one of the organizations (maybe NeoLution?) discussing projects Leda and Castor. The redactions were annoying and the memo implied interests and values in the clones that I find it hard to believe those in their supervisory organizations would have. Meh. Actually, I found "Dialogue with the Buddha" problematic as well.

Overall though, the collection was both fun and thought provoking. A great read.
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