Philosophy and Terry Pratchett


Philosophy and Terry Pratchett



It's time to pick up your fedora and embark on a philosophical journey through Discworld! Terry Pratchett is world-famous for the narrative verve and surreal humour of his novels. But now meet another Terry Pratchett – a man of serious metaphysical ideas and sophisticated philosophical insights. In Philosophy and Terry Pratchett thirteen professional philosophers survey such key philosophical issues as personal identity, the nature of destiny, the value of individuality, the meaning of existentialism, the reality of universals and the existence of alternative realities. In considering these and many other equally fascinating themes, close reference is made to more than 35 Discworld novels as well as to the ideas of some of history's greatest philosophers including Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein and Rawls. During your journey, you will be surprised by numerous provocative conclusions including the startling claim that the existence of Discworld is logically possible!



Publication Date



Palgrave-Macmillan Publishing


New York





Acknowledgments, ix.

Preface, x.

Notes on the Contributors, xii.

Note on References to the Works of Terry Pratchett, xvi.

Part I Self-Perception, Narrative, and Identity

1: A Golem Is Not Born, but Rather Becomes, a Woman: Gender on the Disc, 3. Jacob M. Held.

2: “Nothing Like a Bit of Destiny to Get the Old Plot Rolling": A Philosophical Reading of Wyrd Sisters, 25. James B. South.

3: “Feigning to Feign": Pratchett and the Maskerade, 45. Andrew Rayment.

4: “Knowing Things that Other People Don't Know Is a Form of Magic": Lessons in Headology and Critical Thinking from the Lancre Witch, 75. Tuomas W Manninen.

Part II Social and Political Philosophy

5: Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy on the Discworld, 105. Kevin Guilfoy.

6: Plato, the Witch, and the Cave: Granny Weatherwax and the Moral Problem of Paternalism, 132. Dietrich Schotte.

7: Equality and Difference: Just because the Disc Is Flat, Doesn't Make It a Level Playing Field for All, 157. Ben Saunders.

Part III Ethics and the Good Life

8: Millennium Hand and Shrimp: On the Importance of Being in the Right Trouser Leg of Time, 179. Susanne E. Foster.

9: Categorically not Cackling: The Will, Moral Fictions, and Witchcraft, 204. Jennifer Jill Fellows.

10: The Care of the Reaper Man: Death, the Auditors, and the Importance of Individuality, 228. Erica L. Neely.

11: "YES, SUSAN, THERE IS A HOGFATHER”: Hogfather and the Existentialism of Soren Kierkegaard, 249. J. Keeping.

Part IV Logic and Metaphysics

12: On the Possibility of the Discworld, 269. Martin Vacek.

13 Pratchett's The Last Continent and the Act of Creation, 287. Jay Ruud.

Index, 307.

Philosophy and Terry Pratchett