Philosophy and Doctor Who

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Philosophy and Doctor Who


WEDNESDAYS AT 5;30 P.M. (ends at 6:30 P.M.)

In this one-term class, we’ll use the new Doctor Who (beginning with the Ninth Doctor) as a springboard for exploring philosophical questions, including the nature of reality, issues of chronology, constructions of self, examinations of ethics, manifestations of morality, whether fezzes are, in fact, cool, and more. In addition to weekly viewing assignments (Doctor Who is available streaming on Amazon Prime), students will keep a weekly journal and submit and present a final critical presentation on one aspect of Doctor Who’s philosophy. Maybe your presentation will be a traditional research paper; perhaps it will be a series of paintings or a short film. Whatever it is, it will communicate one of your big ideas about the philosophy of Doctor Who. (We’ll talk about this project in more specific detail as the term progresses.)


What students will get out of the class

  • Students will engage in in-depth philosophical inquiry — we’ll just be focusing these efforts on the television series Doctor Who rather than a more traditional text
  • Students will explore a variety of philosophical ideas, including epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and existentialism 
  • Students will develop critical thinking and discussion skills through Socratic class discussions.


What students should be prepared to put into the class

  • You should show up for class having screened the assigned materials for each session and be prepared to join the class discussion
  • The weekly journal assignment doesn’t have to be physically written down, but ideally, you’ll spend at least 30 minutes thinking deeply about the assignment each week to prepare for class discussions.
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Required materials: TBD


About the teacher: Shelly Denkinger earned her B.A. in Philosophy at New College and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. coursework and exams in Comparative Philosophy at the University of Hawai'i. She worked as an instructor and lecturer at the University of Hawai'i for ten years, teaching Introduction to Philosophy, Logic, Asian Philosophy, Ethical Theories, and other philosophy courses. She has also taught reading enrichment and critical thinking classes to elementary through high school students. In addition, she has organized, moderated, and presented papers at international philosophy conferences