News and Views from Scotland

Homer Simpson Philosophy Class from Glasgow University

The University of Glasgow is offering a one-day course which will take moments from The Simpsons TV cartoon series and relate them to philosophical questions around morality, religion and free will and will examine whether Homer Simpson is a "virtuous" character. He's very gluttonous, he can be quite violent and self-interested. But at the same time he's a character that's hard not to like.

The course is entitled "D'oh! The Simpsons Introduce Philosophy" and was designed for members of the public who had an interest in philosophy. It is being offered on two days in January and the first day has already sold out

Philosophy tutor Dr John Donaldson said beer-swilling Homer was a "complex character". The series was originally created by Matt Groening and first aired in 1989. It is the longest-running US sitcom and the longest-running US animated programme.

Dr Donaldson, is a long-term fan of the show, and said the cartoon had a rich seam of moments for a philosopher to plunder, with many episodes having a moral and a moment of realisation. "I like the Simpsons because it's a great work of art. It's a cartoon of a great tapestry. There's so much going on in it and it encourages you to reflect on what's important in life." he said. The Glasgow University advert for the course said "The Simpsons is one of the modern world´s greatest cultural artefacts partly because it is so full of philosophy. Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Camus, and many other great thinkers´ ideas are represented in what is arguably the purest of philosophical forms: the comic cartoon. This day event will explore some of philosophy´s most inspiring ideas as presented in Matt Groening´s monument to the absurdities of human existence."

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November 2016

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