The Simpsons is arguably the most successful television show in history. Inevitably, its global appeal and enduring popularity have prompted academics (who tend to overanalyze everything) to identify the subtext of the series and to ask some profound questions. What are the hidden meanings of Homer's utterances about doughnuts and Duff beer? Do the spats between Bart and Lisa symbolize something beyond mere sibling bickering? Are the writers of The Simpsons using the residents of Springfield to explore political or social controversies?
One group of intellectuals authored a text arguing that The Simpsons essentially provides viewers with a weekly philosophy lecture. The Simpsons and Philosophy, edited by William Irwin, Mark T. Conard, and Aeon J. Skoble, claims to identify clear links between variousepisodes and the issues raised by history's great thinkers, includingAristotle, Sartre, and Kant. Chapters include "Marge's Moral Motivation," "The Moral World of the Simpson Family: A Kantian Perspective,"and "Thus Spake Bart: On Nietzsche and the Virtues of BeingBad." Read the rest