Skip to main content

Doctor Strange and Philosophy: The Other Book of Forbidden Knowledge

Doctor Strange and Philosophy: The Other Book of Forbidden Knowledge

William Irwin (Series Editor), Mark D. White (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-43792-5

May 2018, Wiley-Blackwell

288 pages



Explore the mind and world of the brilliant neurosurgeon-turned-Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Stephen Strange in time for release of The Avengers: Infinity War

Essays from two-dozen philosophers illuminate how essential philosophical concepts, including existentialism, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics, combine to make Doctor Strange one of the most complex characters in the Marvel Universe, and a welcome addition to the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture stable of superheroes.


Notes on Contributors: The Philosophers Supreme

Acknowledgments: By the Glorious Grandiloquence of Gratitude!

Introduction: Opening the Book of the Vishanti

Part I “You’re Just Another Tiny, Momentary Speck within an Indifferent Universe”

1 Bargaining with Eternity and Numbering One’s Days: Medicine, Nietzsche, and Doctor Strange

2 Death Gives Meaning to Life: Martin Heidegger Meets Stephen Strange

3 “Time Will Tell How Much I Love You”: A Nietzschean Übermensch’s Issues with Love and Friendship

4 Existentialism, Nihilism, and the Meaning of Life for Doctor Strange

Part II “Forget Everything That You Think You Know”

5 “Through an Orb Darkly”: Doctor Strange and the Journey to Knowledge

6 Forbidden Knowledge and Strange Virtues: It’s Not What You Know, It’s How You Know It

7 Doctor Strange, Socratic Hero?

8 Are We All “Looking at the World Through a Keyhole”? Knowledge, Ignorance, and Bias

9 Stephen Strange vs. Ayn Rand: A Doesn’t Always Equal A

Part III “Reality is One of Many”

10 Astral Bodies and Cartesian Souls: Mind-Body Dualism in Doctor Strange

11 Scientists, Metaphysicians, and Sorcerers Supreme

12 “This is Time”: Setting Time in Doctor Strange by Henri Bergson’s Clock

Part IV“A Man Looking at the World Through a Keyhole”

13 A Strange Case of a Paradigm Shift

14 Doctor Strange, the Multiverse, and the Measurement Problem

15 The Strange World of Paradox: Science and Belief in Kamar-Taj

Part V “It’s Not About You”

16 The Otherworldly Burden of Being the Sorcerer Supreme

17 The Ancient One and the Problem of Dirty Hands

18 They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wong

19 Doctor Strange, Master of the Medical and Martial Arts

Part VI “I’ve Come to Bargain”

20 Is Dormammu Evil? St. Augustine and the Dark Dimension

21 Doctor Strange and Leo Tolstoy: Brothers in Nonviolence?

22 Doctor Strange, Moral Responsibility, and the God Question

The Index of the All-Seeing Eye of Agamotto