Philosophy and Breaking Bad

© SpringerEdited by Kevin S. Decker, David R. Koepsell, & Robert Arp
22 December 2016
£25.99 | $39.99 | Paperback | 978-3-319-40665-7


Breaking Bad is one of the most loved and highly rated critically acclaimed TV shows of all time. Even three years after the show’s finale, Walter White has attained an international mythos, and his alter ego “Heisenberg” is a kind of heroic symbol, plastered on T-shirts like Superman or Iron Man.

Breaking Bad garnered both critical and popular attention for its portrayal of a cancer-stricken, middle-aged, middle-class, high school chemistry teacher’s drift into the dark world of selling methamphetamine to support his family. Its characters, situations, and aesthetic raise serious and familiar philosophical issues, especially related to ethics and morality.

Philosophy and Breaking Bad considers the numerous philosophical ideas and arguments found in and inspired by the critically acclaimed series. The compelling set of essays is written by philosophy experts who dissect the legacy of the show and discuss its contributions to philosophical conversations. The contributors show that because the central focus of the show is the gradual descent of an ordinary man into a criminal mastermind, its moral territory is both deep and broad, allowing us to view Breaking Bad through the lens of many philosophical traditions.

Some of the essays include:

  • Cosmic Justice in Breaking Bad: Can Sociopaths and Antiheroes Lead Meaningful Lives?
  • The Transformation of Walter White: A Case Study in Bad Faith
  • Recovering Lost Moral Ground: Can Walt Make Amends?
  • The Crumbling Patriarchy and Triumphant Feminist Ethic of Care in Breaking Bad
  • Hatred: Walter White Is Doing It All Wrong
  • Empathy and Evil: Drug-Dealing Murderers Are People Too

The contributors to Philosophy and Breaking Bad come to bury Walt, not to praise him, and to examine his life and the world of Breaking Bad philosophically from a number of different angles. It is rich territory and the careful examinations presented in this book offer fresh perspective on this epic tale, the journey Walt takes, and his victims and triumphs.




About the Authors

Kevin S. Decker is Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Washington University. He is the author of Who is Who? The Philosophy of Doctor Who and has written many chapters in books on philosophy and popular culture as well as journal articles on ethics, social theory, and political philosophy.

David R. Koepsell has been a tenured associate professor of philosophy at the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, and a Visiting Professor at UNAM, Instituto de Filosoficas and the Unidad Posgrado, Mexico.

Robert Arp is the author of Scenario Visualization: An Evolutionary Account of Creative Problem Solving and co-author of Philosophy DeMYSTiFieD, Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Reasoning Well, 2nd Edition, and What's Good on TV? Teaching Ethics through Television. He is also editor of 1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think, South Park and Philosophy, Tattoos-Philosophy for Everyone: I Ink, Therefore I Am, Psych and Philosophy, Homeland and Philosophy, and The Devil and Philosophy.

For more information or to get in touch with the author please contact:
Rebecca Krahenbuhl – Communications Manager, Palgrave Macmillan
rebecca.krahenbuhl@palgrave.com, +44 020 7014 6634