An opportunity for feminist irony?

     Well, see what you think:

Iron Man and Philosophy

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Please circulate and post widely.

Apologies for Cross-posting.

To propose ideas for future volumes in the Blackwell series please contact the Series Editor,

William Irwin, at

Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.

Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

Virtue ethics, Iron Man, and the superhero as moral inspiration; Communism vs. capitalism in Iron Man stories; S.H.I.E.L.D. and the justification of counter-terrorist rights infringement; Iron Man’s revelation of his identities, contractual agreements, and contractual loopholes; The Illuminati, paternalism, and liberalism; The Superhuman Registration Act and the limits of privacy; Iron Man, Plato’s Philosopher King, and the Noble Lie; Genius, invention, and creativity; Role/responsibility of a futurist; If science can do it, should science do it? Weapons of mass destruction and the ethics of technology; Vengeance on my kidnappers: Is revenge ever justified?; Time travel in Iron Man stories, the Butterfly Effect, and determinism; God is dead: Iron Man as the replacement god; Human suffering, the Problem of Evil, and Iron Man as savior; Merging the two Starks (Pocket and Marvel universes) and the question of what counts as personal identity; Iron Man’s “living armor” and the possibility of artificial intelligence; Depictions of Masculinity: Iron Man and Iron John; Robotics, Heidegger, and technology; Capturing consciousness in computer: Mind as computer (Hypervelocity); Iron Man and Captain America: The pragmatist and the idealist; Stark’s alcoholism and the possibility of freedom for the addict; Social pressure and self-deception in Iron Man stories; Civil War: Are (bad) decisions judged by their intentions or consequences?

Submission Guidelines:

1. Submission deadline for abstracts (100-500 words) and CV(s): August 15, 2008.

2. Submission deadline for first drafts of accepted papers: February 1, 2009.

Kindly submit by e-mail (with or without Word attachment) to:

Robert Arp:


6 thoughts on “An opportunity for feminist irony?

  1. Speaking on behalf of my co-editor Rob and myself, we would love to have feminist philosophers contribute to this book. In the comics, Tony Stark is usually portrayed as a womanizing man-slut, and it would be great to have someone call him on it.

    (In case anyone doubts my sincerity, I sought out a feminist essay for my book Watchmen and Philosophy to address the treatment of the sole female character in that book.)

  2. Thanks so much, Mark.

    What struck me as possibly a fit topic for feminist analysis is the idea of a comic book exaggeration of masculinity as a moral model or as examplifying human creativity, etc.

    That he preys (?) on women is a now familiar motif.

  3. That sounds like a great topic too, jj – I’d certainly like to see a chapter proposal along those lines.

    And I agree about the preying on women aspect (part of the larger “women in refrigerators” issue), but Tony Stark exemplifies this behavior more than most other comic book heroes, so it would be great if someone addressed it for the book.

  4. Thanks again, Mark. I’m going to try to draw some extra attention to this discussion, which readers might find helpful.

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