Terrorism! Political Intrigue! Foreign Policy! Torture! Trust and Loyalty! These might be hot-button issues, ripped from today's headlines, but they are meat and potatoes for Jack Bauer and the cast of 24. "Many times in life, there aren't clear questions or answers. How Jack deals with what's thrown at him is what has made this one of the most popular television shows in the world!" According to Dr. Jennifer Hart Weed, that, in a nutshell, is one of the primary reasons for the appeal of Fox's 24.
Three of Tyndale University College's philosophy professors, Dr. Hart Weed, Dr. Ronald Weed and Dr. Richard Davis, are the editors of the latest book in the Wiley-Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series: "24 and Philosophy: The World According to Jack," to be released in Toronto December 21, 2007.
This is a witty but philosophical exploration of the methods and motivations used by Jack Bauer and other characters in the highly charged television drama, and how some questions can be raised and answered in our own lives. "This is a book written for fans by fans, who just happen to be philosophers, but it's got a much wider appeal than that," Dr. Weed continued. "I guarantee at any major company - around the water cooler on Tuesday morning, they're all talking about 24."
'What would Jack Bauer do?' We find ourselves asking ourselves this question more and more often. In fact, it's the title of one of the chapters. Most of us face moral dilemmas that have the same structure as the ones Jack confronts. Consequently, how he handles them is not only interesting, but could even be helpful in determining how we might handle some dilemmas of our own.
In the chapter, How the Cell Phone Changed the World and Made "24", it is stated that we struck a Faustian bargain with the invention of the cell phone: its greatest blessing is its greatest curse - you are always available. In real life, as in the program, it makes rapid communication possible. It is also more and more integral to the plot of the show: if the phone works, if it doesn't; if one is available, if one isn't; if it's turned off, if it's turned on. This creates, builds and relieves suspense and tension. The same can be said about the effect cell phones have on our real world.
Dr. Weed again emphasizes, "Unless people have been living under a rock, they have got to realize that these issues touch everybody. 24 debuted just after the events of September 11th, which showed the world that something tragic could happen in your back yard. However, Jack Bauer wants to save the world. He gives everybody something to believe in. This is current events with a positive redemptive message. You don't want to turn it off."
You won't want to put this book down, either. As Kiefer Sutherland states, 24 "is the story of a man constantly trying to do the right thing." Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche and Marshall McLuhan, among others, make their presence known, posing questions, positing answers about the every-person issues raised in this every-person program.
"Service of the ideal is constant: a belief in protecting the innocent." Dr. Weed concludes, "We care about Jack. We like him. We believe in him. I would definitely sit down and have a beer with Jack Bauer because there are so few people left who believe in ideals anymore. To get somebody whose beliefs go beyond themselves - that's somebody I want to have a beer with."
An intriguing book that takes you on a philosophical journey with witticism and charm, 24 and Philosophy: The World According to Jack has it all. It is that every-person book about that every-person program that every person should not be without.
About the Editors
Richard Davis is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Tyndale University College. He is the author of The Metaphysics of Theism and Modality (Peter Lang, 2001). He has published over a dozen articles in leading academic journals, including Australasian Journal of Philosophy, The Modern Schoolman, Philosophia Christi, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Religious Studies, and The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
Dr. Ronald Weed is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tyndale University College. He is the author of Aristotle on Stasis: A Moral Psychology of Political Conflict (2007) and has published articles and reviews in Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity, Eurostudia, Contemporary Thought, and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy. He teaches courses in the history of philosophy, critical thinking, ethics and political theory.
Jennifer Hart Weed is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tyndale University College in Toronto. Her doctorate is from Saint Louis University and she specializes in medieval philosophy and philosophy of religion. She is the author of "Religious Language," an entry in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Eds. James Fieser and Bradley Dowden, 2007 and "Boethius and the Problem of Evil," in An Anthology of Philosophical Studies, Eds. Patricia Hanna, Adrianne McEvoy, and Penelope Voutsina. (Athens: Athens Institute for Education and Research, 2006), pp. 361-372.
About Tyndale University College & Seminary
Founded in 1894, Tyndale is a transdenominational university college and seminary located in north Toronto. Currently, there are over 1,200 students and more than 9,000 alumni. Tyndale offers a variety of degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The non-publicly funded Tyndale was accorded university status in 2003. Tyndale offers a Bachelor of Education degree, BA and BA (Honours) degrees in the humanities, social sciences and business, in addition to its religious degrees. All are fully accredited programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The programs prepare leaders to serve in churches, mission agencies and the marketplace in Canada and throughout the world.
Additional information is available at www.tyndale.ca.