The End of PoR – Part 1
“The End of PoR” is intentionally ambiguous. It could mean the death or cessation of philosophy of religion, or it could mean the purpose of philosophy of religion.
But I will not discuss the purpose of PoR in this particular post. I just have one brief point to make. The death of PoR as a discipline (or better: the killing off of PoR as a discipline) does not imply the death (or killing off) of courses in PoR.
I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday, hanging out in the philosophy and religion section. I noticed a series of books put out by Wiley-Blackwell. Here are some of the titles:
The Daily Show and Philosophy
The Simpsons and Philosophy
Lost and Philosophy
Batman and Philosophy
The Office and Philosophy
Mad Men and Philosophy
Harry Potter and Philosophy
Dr. Seuss and Philosophy
House and Philosophy
The Hobbit and Philosophy
Doctor Who and Philosophy
South Park and Philosophy
The Hunger Games and Philosophy
Iron Man and Philosophy
Family Guy and Philosophy
You get the idea.
Now, I have never purchased a book from this series. But I’m sure that there are some interesting and worthwhile philosophical concepts and arguments discussed in these books. I can imagine that some professor of philosophy would offer a course based on one or two of these books, or would create a similar sort of course. I would be very surprised if there were no such courses offered at universities and colleges these days. One of my favorite philosophy professors at the University of Windsor taught a very popular course called “The Philosophy of Rock”.
Someone might object that “The philosophy of South Park” does not deserve to be a separate discipline, and conclude that no philosophy department should offer a course in “The philosophy of South Park”. But the conclusion does not follow from the premise.
I completely agree with the premise, but reject the conclusion of this argument:
1. The philosophy of South Park does not deserve to be a separate discipline.
2. The philosophy of South Park should never be offered as a course in philosophy.
This supports a point I made previously that even if it were established that PoR does not deserve to be a separate discipline, it does not follow from this that it should not be offered as a philosophy course. The two questions may be related, but it is possible to have a negative position on the question of PoR deserving to be a separate discipline while holding a positive position on the question of whether to offer courses in PoR at a secular university.