Take a magic carpet ride through Disney’s wonderful world of films and entertainment experiences, and discover the wisdom within its most popular and enduring stories
Philosophy begins in wonder, and there’s no question that Disney’s immersive worlds and iconic characters have enchanted generations of children and adults alike, inviting us to escape the mundane into a world of fantasy, imagination, and infinite possibility. In Disney and Philosophy, essays from thirty-two deep-thinking Disneyphiles chart a course through the philosophical world of Disney, tapping into the minds of the great sages of the ages—Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Descartes, and Goofy—to explore universal questions of freedom, personal identity, morality, family, and friendship:
- Can Sleeping Beauty know that she’s not dreaming?
- Does turning our emotions and memories “inside out” tell us who we are?
- What can Toy Story and Wall-E teach us about being human?
- Is hakuna matata really such a problem-free philosophy?
If you’ve ever asked who you are, what is right, or what your purpose is, Disney and Philosophy will spark your curiosity and imagination with a whole new world of unexpected insight into the Magic Kingdom.
About the Author
RICHARD B. DAVIS is Professor of Philosophy at Tyndale University in Canada. He is the author or editor of four books, including Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy (Wiley Blackwell, 2009) and 24 and Philosophy (Wiley Blackwell, 2007). He has published over thirty book chapters or articles, and specializes in metaphysics and epistemology.
To learn more about the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, visit www.andphilosophy.com
Table of Contents
Contributors: “It’s a Whole Family of Supers” ix
Acknowledgments: It takes People to Make a Dream Reality xvii
Introduction: Philosophy Begins in Wonder xix
Part I “The Seaweed is Always Greener in Somebody Else’s Lake” 1
1 Unruly Ariel: Not Born but Made a Woman 3Megan S. Lloyd
2 “True to Your Heart”: Honor and Authenticity in Mulan 11George A. Dunn
3 Zen and the Art of Imagineering: Disney’s Escapism Versus Buddhism’s Liberation 25Steve Bein
4 Hidden Mickeys and the Hiddenness of God 35Robert K. Garcia and Timothy Pickavance
Part II “I’ll be Shooting for My Own Hand” 45
5 “Everyone’s Special Dash”: Tolerance and Conformity in a World of Incredible Differences 47Richard B. Davis
6 Accommodating Dory, but Disempowering Dopey? Dilemmas of Disability from Snow White to Finding Dory 59Kevin Mintz
7 From Snow White to Moana: Understanding Disney’s Feminist Transformation 71Edwardo Pérez
8 “Always a Team, Always United”: Disney’s Philosophy of the Family 81Kody Cooper
Part III “Your Identity is your Most Valuable Possession” 93
9 How to Convince Sleeping Beauty She’s Not Dreaming 95C. A. McIntosh
10 Knowing Who you Are: Existence Precedes Essence in Moana 107William J. Devlin
11 Saving Mr. Banks: Reclaiming Our Childhood, Remembering Who We Are 119Mark D. Linville and Shawn White
12 WALL·E and EVE: Disney’s Intelligent Machines 129Timothy Brown
13 Inside Disney’s Inside Out 137Ellen Miller
Part IV “You Can Be Anyone You Want To Be” 145
14 To Be or Not to Be … the Lion King: Existentialism in Disney and Shakespeare 147Megan S. Lloyd
15 True Freedom in Toy Story, or You Are a Child’s Plaything! 157Armond Boudreaux
16 “Our Fate Lives Within Us”: Character and Choice in Brave 167Louis Colombo and Steve Jones
17 Breaking the Spell: Beauty and the Beast and Plato’s Prisoner 177Nathan Mueller and Leilani Mueller
18 True Love in Frozen 185Jamey Heit
Part V “Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide” 193
19 Mencius Spins The Emperor’s New Groove 195Dean A. Kowalski
20 “Handed Down from Goof to Goof”: What Goofy Can Teach Us About Becoming Good 207Robert M. Mentyka
21 “Let Slip the (Donald) Ducks of War!”: Ethical Considerations About Disney’s War Propaganda 217Tuomas W. Manninen
22 WALL·E, the Environment, and Our Duties to Future Generations 227J. Edward Hackett
23 Is There Any Utopia in Zootopia? 235Frauke Albersmeier and Alexander Christian
Part VI The Wonderful Worldview of Disney 245
24 How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Disney: Marx and Marcuse at Disney World 247Elizabeth Butterfield
25 Colonizing the Geography of the Imagination: Media, Mind, and the Magic Kingdom 259Read Mercer Schuchardt
26 “We’re All Gonna Die”: Death and the Cycle of Life in Disney 271Jessica Miller
27 Liberty Square in the Shadow of Cinderella’s Castle: Political Philosophy in Disney’s Theme Parks 283Timothy Dale and Joseph Foy