World of Warcraft and Philsophy

Kevin Haw writes in to tell us about World of Warcraft and Philosophy, a new collection of essays and stories:
Plato, Socrates, Nietzsche, Adam Smith... Sure, they were all great thinkers, but how long would they have lasted in Ulduar?

Continuing with the ongoing Popular Culture and Philosophy series, World of Warcraft and Philosophy, (Wrath of the Philosopher King) will be hitting bookshelves on November 1st. This collection of essays and short fiction addresses the ethics, economics, and metaphysics of Azeroth and its inhabitants. Along the way, the collection takes quick excursions on issues of gender identity, leadership, hate speech, and the likelihood of the IRS auditing a troll. Add in shoutouts to Machiavelli, Gary Gygax, and Thomas Jefferson (and, yes, even Cory Doctorow) and you've you might find yourself leveling up in intellect as well as your combat skills.

World of Warcraft and Philosophy (Popular Culture and Philosophy) (Thanks, Kevin!)


  1. Great series overall too. Check out pieces on Jon Stewart as Critical Thinker, and Stephen Colbert and Philosophy, at my link. These folks actually make philosophy readable.

  2. In so many ways, WoW is a signifier for the post 9/11 American world view of perpetual warfare, colonialism and racial blame/fear mongering. Seriously, I’m not trying to be a pretentious butthead, especially since I roll a blood elf holy pally.

    The way that the different races are depicted (actually different species) is pretty racist. The trolls are a mishmash of Caribbean islander and creole. Tauren are obviously Native American ‘noble savages’. It’s alluded that the orcs are African Americans. The Draenai are all joyfully, spiritual, eastern Europeans who are related to the recently defeated demonic forces (USSR anyone?). All night elves are tree hugging hippies and all blood elves are posing hipsters (except for me, I’m cool).

    The incredible emphasis placed on the acquisition of gear seems correlated to mindless consumerism. The only point of getting something new is to provide a means to getting the next thing again and again, but there’s never a good enough point of satisfaction. It also fascinates me that two opposing, haphazard coalitions of state, tribal and chiefdom level societies should all default to the kind of Laissez-faire market system that would make Ayn Rand weep with pitiless joy.

    Here’s my cheap take on philosophy in WoW: turn off your brain, RAWR SMASH, loot, lawls, repeat. That’s about the best you’re gonna get out of it.

  3. Nice to see this here!

    BB readers might be interested in my book in this series: iPod and Philosophy. And I am obviously not above self-promotion.

    The series also has one out on Zelda and Philosophy, and I’m currently editing Facebook and Philosophy, which will be out in the spring sometime. The series is fun in general, but I’m very glad that Open Court has been increasingly interested in publishing volumes on digital culture. Popular culture certainly isn’t just TV, music, and movies.

  4. @6: That or Monty Python skits featuring people named Bruce. :)

    Seriously, ever heard of the concept of a gateway drug? Start someone out on uncut Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus and you’ll have people running around spouting how ethics and metaphysics cannot be discussed meaningfully through language. And then what’ll happen to the Christmas shopping season?

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