Philosophy on TV


Have you noticed all the philosophy that’s been happening on television lately?

First off, there’s The Good Place, a sitcom on NBC. It is set in something like heaven—a version of the afterlife, admittance to which is based on a kind of utilitarian calculation—and stars Kristin Bell as someone who doesn’t quite belong there, and William Jackson Harper as a professor of moral philosophy teaching her to be good. It contains a lot of philosophy references, and it’s fun to spot the philosophy books lying around and the philosophers’ names mentioned. Here’s a clip from the first episode:

Then there’s Westworld, the HBO drama set in a world in which artificial human-like beings have been created and are used for entertainment purposes in an ultra-realistic theme park designed in the style of an old Western movie. This is an exceptionally well done show that raises interesting questions about reality, consciousness, and ethics. Here’s a trailer, though be warned: it does contain some spoilers (especially for those who have seen a few episodes. Dammit.):

Additionally, the excellent Black Mirror is returning. This show aims to depict the problems of technological and cultural changes that seem to be just around the corner from the present. Each episode is self-contained, and the show is now in its third season. The previous seasons are well worth checking out. As for the new season, it’s hard to tell (see this review from CUNY’s Samir Chopra). This old trailer for the show gives a sense of its theme and style, for those unfamiliar with it:

Are there other relatively new shows of philosophical interest?

UPDATE: And then there are these two philosophy majors, who engage in a bit of philosophical discussion about the good of knowledge:

 

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