Book Reviews, Misc

Book Review: The X-Files and Philosophy, edited by Robert Arp

This book was reviewed for the San Francisco Book Review


Aah, but this show, one of the first big serial paranormal dramas, shaped a large chunk of my teenage years. I’ve always loved the unknown, the unexplained, the unusual. There’s a great deal of philosophy embedded in the X-Files, to be sure. The X-Files and Philosophy digs down to expose this philosophy, leaving plenty of food for thought for the novice, and the devout X-philes alike.


There are ten different sections, each centring around broad topics such as science vs the fringe, conspiracy theories, elusive truth, ethical conundrums, and the nature of belief, among others.


Many of these topics have always fascinated me, especially the fluid nature of ‘truth’, versus the rigidity of belief, despite the fact that there is no such thing as a true belief. Beliefs are subjective, shaped by our perceptions, yet once set, they can be difficult to shift, even when confronted with contradictory truth.


Some of my favorites essays include:


Mulder’s Metaphysics- takes a look at various perceptions of metaphysics, placing value on a pluralistic view that can encompass the material world, and the immaterial. (For the record, I share Mulder’s ontological pluralism view)


Five Ways of Being a Monster- not all monsters are cryptids or creatures of the night. Plenty of human monsters walk among us today. Some are skillfully hidden, while others easily give themselves away. The other four categories of monster are mutants, cryptids, unknown species, and supernatural beasties. (I love the fact this philosopher used the word ‘cray-cray’)


I Want to Believe….and That’s the Problem- looks at the nature of belief, and how we arrive at our beliefs. Mulder is a xenophiliac, and will jump to the more extreme conclusions first. Scully is the cautious believer. She seeks mundane explanations first, but is willing to shift beliefs with sufficient evidence.


I could go on. There are many great essays here!
????? Highly recommended for any interested in philosophy, and especially those who love X-Files and want to believe the truth is out there.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The X-Files and Philosophy, edited by Robert Arp

  1. Sounds like a real treat for X-File fans. I never got into the show, although I did watch several episodes here and there. New to your blog; visiting with #getsocial17 event.

  2. My daughter is a big fan of this show and I too have watched an episode here and there. Sounds like a cool read. #GetSocialEvent2017

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