In this Book

The Philosophy of J.J. Abrams
summary

American auteur Jeffrey Jacob "J. J." Abrams's genius for creating densely plotted scripts has won him broad commercial and critical success in TV shows such as Felicity (1998--2002), Emmy-nominated Alias (2001--2006), Emmy and Golden Globe-winning Lost (2004--2010), and the critically acclaimed Fringe (2008--2013). In addition, his direction in films such as Cloverfield (2008), Super 8 (2011), and the new Mission Impossible and Star Trek films has left fans eagerly awaiting his revival of the Star Wars franchise. As a writer, director, producer, and composer, Abrams seamlessly combines geek appeal with blockbuster intuition, leaving a distinctive stamp on all of his work and establishing him as one of Tinsel Town's most influential visionaries.

In The Philosophy of J.J. Abrams, editors Patricia L. Brace and Robert Arp assemble the first collection of essays to highlight the philosophical insights of the Hollywood giant's successful career. The filmmaker addresses a diverse range of themes in his onscreen pursuits, including such issues as personal identity in an increasingly impersonal digitized world, the morality of terrorism, bioethics, friendship, family obligation, and free will.

Utilizing Abrams's scope of work as a touchstone, this comprehensive volume is a guide for fans as well as students of film, media, and culture. The Philosophy of J.J. Abrams is a significant contribution to popular culture scholarship, drawing attention to the mind behind some of the most provocative television and movie plots of our day.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-viii
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  1. Introduction
  2. Patricia Brace and Robert Arp
  3. pp. 1-12
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  1. "Grey Matters": Personal Identity in the Fringe Universe(s)
  2. A. P. Taylor and Justin Donhauser
  3. pp. 13-32
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  1. Person of Interest: The Machine, Gilles Deleuze, and a Thousand Plateaus of Identity
  2. Franklin Allaire
  3. pp. 33-46
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  1. Are J. J. Abram's "Leading Ladies" Really Feminist Role Models?
  2. Cynthia Jones
  3. pp. 47-60
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  1. The End Is Nigh: Armageddon and the Meaning of Life Found through Death
  2. Ashley Barkman
  3. pp. 61-70
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  1. The Fear of Bones: On the Dread of Space and Death
  2. Jerry S. Piven and Jeffrey E. Stephenson
  3. pp. 71-88
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  1. Do We All Need to Get Shot in the Head?: Regarding Henry, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Ethical Transformation
  2. Adam Barkman
  3. pp. 89-100
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  1. Fringe and "If Science Can Do It, Then Science Ought to Do It"
  2. Phil Smolenski and Charlene Elsby
  3. pp. 101-116
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  1. An Inconsistent Triad?: Competing Ethics in Star Trek into Darkness
  2. Jason T. Eberl
  3. pp. 117-130
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  1. The Monster and the Mensch
  2. Randall E. Auxier
  3. pp. 131-150
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  1. Abrams, Aristotle, and Alternate Worlds: Finding Friendship in the Final Frontier
  2. Joseph J. Foy
  3. pp. 151-162
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  1. Heroic Love and Its Inversion in the Parent-Child Relationship in Abrams's Star Trek
  2. Charles Taliaferro and Emilie Judge-Becker
  3. pp. 163-172
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  1. You Can't Choose Your Family: Impartial Morality and Personal Obligations in Alias
  2. Brendan Shea
  3. pp. 173-188
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  1. Is Abrams's Star Trek a Star Trek Film?
  2. Daniel Whiting
  3. pp. 189-204
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  1. Determinism, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility in Alias
  2. Vishal Garg
  3. pp. 205-220
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  1. Finding Directions by Indirection: The Island as a Blank Slate
  2. Elly Vintiadis and Spyros D. Petrounakos
  3. pp. 221-236
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  1. You Can't Change the Past: The Philosophy of Time Travel in Star Trek and Lost
  2. Andrew Fyfe
  3. pp. 237-254
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  1. Rabbit's Feet, Hatches, and Monsters: Mysteries vs. Questions in J. J. Abrams’s Stories
  2. Paul DiRado
  3. pp. 255-270
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  1. Monsters of the World, Unite!: Cloverfield, Capital, and Ecological Crisis
  2. Jeff Ewing
  3. pp. 271-292
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  1. Cloverfield, Super 8, and the Morality of Terrorism
  2. Robert Arp and Patricia Brace
  3. pp. 293-314
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  1. A Place for Revolutions in Revolution?: Marxism, Feminism, and the Monroe Republic
  2. Jeff Ewing
  3. pp. 315-338
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  1. A Light in the Darkness: Ethical Reflections on Revolution
  2. Michael Versteeg and Adam Barkman
  3. pp. 339-358
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 359-360
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 361-364
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 365-368
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  1. Series Page
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