Ari Armstrong on Values of Harry Potter
Interview: 12 July 2011
I interviewed Ari Armstrong on "Values of Harry Potter" on 12 July 2011. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
In preparation for the release of the final Harry Potter movie, I interviewed Ari Armstrong about the values – moral, psychological, and political – of J. K. Rowlings' Harry Potter novels. (Beware: The interview contains some major spoilers, so don't listen to it unless you've read all the books.)
Ari Armstrong is the author of the excellent (and recently expanded) book Values of Harry Potter.
- Duration: 52:29
- Download: MP3 File (24.1 MB)
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- How good can we expect the final movie to be, given the franchise's history?
- Why do so many people love Harry Potter?
- What are the basic values promoted by the novels?
- Are the Potter books religious?
- What are the psychological themes of the Potter books?
- What are the political themes?
- What character do you most identify with? Why?
- What characters do you most admire? Why?
- What scene from the books most captures your imagination? Why?
- What do you say to someone reluctant to read the books?
- Values of Harry Potter by Ari Armstrong
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My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle
Does the pervasive influence of luck in life mean that people cannot be held responsible for their choices? Do people lack the control required to justify moral praise and blame? In his famous article "Moral Luck," philosopher Thomas Nagel casts doubt on our ordinary moral judgments of persons. He claims that we intuitively accept that moral responsibility requires control, yet we praise and blame people for their actions, the outcomes of those actions, and their characters – even though shaped by forces beyond their control, i.e., by luck. This is the "problem of moral luck."
In Responsibility & Luck, I argue that this attack on moral judgment rests on a faulty view of control, as well as other errors. By developing Aristotle's theory of moral responsibility, I explain the sources and limits of a person's responsibility for what he does, what he produces, and who he is. Ultimately, I show that moral judgments are not undermined by luck. In addition, this book explores the nature of moral agency and free will, the purpose of moral judgment, causation in tort and criminal law, the process of character development, and more.
Responsibility & Luck is scholarly but accessible to active-minded people interested in philosophy. You can preview the book by reading Chapter One and Chapter Three as PDFs – or by listening to my reading of Chapter One.
About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].