The Philosophy of the X-Files
From its first appearance in 1993, The X-Files has attracted millions of viewers interested in the paranormal investigations of intuitionist and belief-driven Fox Mulder and his partner, Dana Scully, the "consummate scientist" and skeptic. Addressing questions of trust and authority that plague our information-addled society, the series acquired a large fan base of individuals interested in debating and interpreting the philosophical themes that underlie the symbiotic partnership between Mulder and Scully. The Philosophy of The X-Files concentrates not only on the philosophical assumptions and presuppositions of the show but also on how the episodes portray the process of philosophical inquiry. Editor Dean A. Kowalski argues that both philosophy and The X-Files center around a determination to search for truth despite a frequent lack of information and proper tools. It is no surprise, then, to find the series riddled with common philosophical themes, including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and existentialism, among others. The first section of the book addresses the credos put forth by the series and examines the philosophical significance of its three popular slogans: "The truth is out there," "Trust no one," and "I want to believe." In the second section, contributors analyze the philosophical underpinnings of the characters of Mulder, Scully, the Cigarette Smoking Man, and Assistant Director Walter Skinner. A final section is devoted to individual episodes and engages with the philosophical issues raised by "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" and "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space, '" in addition to the 1998 film The X-Files: Fight the Future. Two appendixes offer a summary of the main storyline and brief plot summaries of each television episode together with the philosophical issues it raises. The first collection of philosophical essays devoted exclusively to the show, The Philosophy of The X-Files shows a television series successfully engaged with the philosophical quandaries of the modern world and explores how Mulder and Scully's personalities and actions invite inquiry into patterns of human belief and behavior.

The Philosophy of the X-Files Details

TitleThe Philosophy of the X-Files
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 21st, 2007
PublisherUniversity Press of Kentucky
ISBN-139780813124544
Rating
GenrePhilosophy, Nonfiction, Culture, Pop Culture, Film

The Philosophy of the X-Files Review

  • Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...30-minutes wait to call the firemen...and
    January 1, 1970
    “At first, Scully is the hardheaded scientist. However, McKenna argues that the season 7 episode “all things” solidifies crucial changes in how Scully sees herself and understands the world around her. This, in turn, facilitates a discussion of contemporary philosophical ideas associated with feminism and pragmatism.” (...)Due to the episode’s existentialist undertones, made explicit at its denouement, of “We are all alone,” …In the Preface--“Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a train “At first, Scully is the hardheaded scientist. However, McKenna argues that the season 7 episode “all things” solidifies crucial changes in how Scully sees herself and understands the world around her. This, in turn, facilitates a discussion of contemporary philosophical ideas associated with feminism and pragmatism.” (...)Due to the episode’s existentialist undertones, made explicit at its denouement, of “We are all alone,” …In the Preface--“Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a trained medical doctor who also studied physics in college, is the consummate scientist.” (...)"The basic point of Mulder’s character in this regard is that we should be open to exploring “unexplained phenomena” via “extreme possibilities,…”Dean A. Kowalski in the Introduction. I cannot recall how many episodes I have watched of the X-files series. Years ago (some) I just sat and had another story to ponder as each episode was presented. I guess, each episode wouldn’t be (ever) a conclusive thing; it would leave most of the viewers pondering, left in that middle ground between unbelief (or disbelief) and belief, science and fiction. Yes, some “wanted to believe”. Some just didn’t. (The X-files main theme song, won’t go away.) Yet the episodes had something in common; a couple, Mulder and Scully, the FBI investigators who had quite different personalities and world-views; nevertheless, almost complementary. “They are here among us”MULDER“They’ve been here for a long, long time”(someone else)"The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know" Blaise PascalAnd speaking of belief, the reading of one the essays (“I Want to Believe”: William James and The X-Files by Keith Dromm) prompted me to read William James essay "The will to believe"(1896). In a nutshell, it’s a sermon-like presentation backing the idea that by your own volition you can/may believe (what’s truthful); it’s not silly. James wanted to go beyond the “logical intellect” to ground that territory of belief, justified by faith; that is, believing (in what’s truthful) may be lawful. Passions, may have a reason, per se, I would conclude. The thing is that both Mulder and James believe in the paranormal, and that seems to be based on HOPE and "other elements of their 'passional nature'.…Another essay (“Ancient X-Files: Mulder and Plato’s Sokratic Dialogues by William M. Schneider”) made me revisit Socrates’ trial and the foundation of the accusations: he refused to “acknowledge the gods recognized by the state”, he was also disturbing in some way the youth of his time. There’s one episode when Mulder consults several times the “Apology” of Plato. Mulder finds value in “reexamining a life”, just like Socrates did. Truth be said, even Socrates in his search for the wise men (be them politicians, or craftsmen) would ultimately consult with the 'god' for "assistance".Yes, granted, the X-files stirred (and stretched) both territories: the intellect’s territory and faith’s territory. But the later is more penalized by society, wouldn’t you agree? It's hard to be/become a Socrates. I know, R. Dawkins would shun my mention to the "faith" word; to him, in my view, the series is a sort of bunk; it promotes "pseudoscience". "Each week The X - Files poses a mystery and offers two rival kinds of explanation, the rational theory and the paranormal theory. And, week after week, the rational explanation loses. But it is only fiction, a bit of fun, why get so hot under the collar?Richard DawkinsFrom epistemology to metaphysics, axiology, ethics and Aristotelian virtues-considerations and even political views (namely on deception) this is quite a complete work of 13 essays worth-reading. It offers an Appendix with a summary of each episode ever featured. ___https://www.google.pt/amp/bigthink.co...
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  • Sally
    January 1, 1970
    As a child of the '90's, X-Files is my all-time fave show. Reading "The Philosophy of..." has given me some deep insight into the shows characters, what the writers were thinking, and a new insight on this old favorite. It didn't ruin the series for me, but makes me want to go back and watch each episode with new eyes.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, how I enjoy The X-Files (both Trevor and I do). After we watched the whole series (oh yeah) I was left wanting more. So, I found a bunch of books related to The X-Files and decided to read them. This was the first one. I liked it. It was no X-Files, in and of itself, but it allowed me to literally nerd out--enjoying "inside" jokes from fellow X-Phile authors and simultaneously learning and thinking philosophy. It provided me with a good review of some philosophical tenets and an introduction Oh, how I enjoy The X-Files (both Trevor and I do). After we watched the whole series (oh yeah) I was left wanting more. So, I found a bunch of books related to The X-Files and decided to read them. This was the first one. I liked it. It was no X-Files, in and of itself, but it allowed me to literally nerd out--enjoying "inside" jokes from fellow X-Phile authors and simultaneously learning and thinking philosophy. It provided me with a good review of some philosophical tenets and an introduction to others. It was very easy to read, thought-provoking, and...it was all about The X-Files. Yay!
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  • Jamescorey
    January 1, 1970
    The chapters on the slogan "I want to believe," and those about AD Skinner and CSM, and the episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" are particularly strong. I enjoyed the foreword written by William Davis (the actor who played CSM) and I learned from the appendix that tells you what philosophical ideas to look for in particular episodes.
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  • Rhianna
    January 1, 1970
    Not technically finished because I don't want to read the individual episode chapters until I find time to rewatch them. So it's just finished for now!
  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    Best essays towards the start of the book, some exceedingly good, pace and insights seem to drag on from there :(Some good essays later after the lull :)
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