June 15, 2003
"Harry Potter" as philosophy text

Angela Balinbin, a Seattle university junior, explains why the Harry Potter series can be used as a replacement for all those musty tomes from the past. Her piece starts off with this:

Because the much anticipated fifth Harry Potter book arrives Saturday, and because J.K. Rowling is the newly crowned fairy princess of literature (being that she's even richer than Great Britain's queen now), I'd like to propose my latest great idea: let's cancel all Philosophy 110 courses and just read Harry Potter instead. Really.
Such a proposition does not stem from any sort of flippant disregard for our classic deep thinkers. Rather, in our day and age, author Rowling has combined whimsically readable and fun stuff with ideas from the big names like Plato and Aristotle.
Moreover, she does this using archetypes and themes found throughout classic literature.
Needless to say, Harry Potter and Rowling are more than mere kid stuff.

She then goes on a whirlwind tour of philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle to Jung and Nietzche. She closes with this:

By reading the Harry Potter books, we adults can find an enjoyable connect-the-dots puzzle that recalls timeless archetypes and themes. For children though, they're an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. They're vehicles that propel an understanding of classic Greek virtues of courage, temperance and friendship.

As the Instapundit would say, "Indeed".

posted on June 15, 2003 01:04 PM


This girl is a genius!

posted by Kaihe on August 12, 2003 02:31 AM

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