James Bond and Philosophy: A S.P.E.C.T.R.E Stalks Philosophy

James Bond and Philosophy: A S.P.E.C.T.R.E Stalks Philosophy

James Bond and Philosophy: A S.P.E.C.T.R.E Stalks Philosophy

James Bond and Philosophy: A S.P.E.C.T.R.E Stalks Philosophy

Synopsis

Bond. James Bond. Since Sean Connery first uttered that iconic phrase in Dr. No, more than one quarter of the worlds population has seen a 007 film. Witty and urbane, Bond seduces and kills with equal ease ? often, it seems, with equal enthusiasm. This enthusiasm, coupled with his freedom to do what is forbidden to everyone else, evokes fascinating philosophical questions. Here, 15 witty, thought-provoking essays discuss hidden issues in Bonds world, from his carnal pleasures to his license to kill. Among the lively topics explored are Bonds relation to existentialism, including his graduation ?beyond good and evil; his objectification of women; the paradox of breaking the law in order to ultimately uphold it like any ?stupid policeman; the personality of 007 in terms of Platos moral psychology; and the Hegelian quest for recognition evinced by Bond villains. A reference guide to all the Bond movies rounds out the books many pleasures.

Excerpt

Beth Butterfield

The film: The World Is Not Enough. the mission: protect the beautiful Elektra King from an anticipated attack. Bond's position: between the sheets, of course. in this scene, we find James in bed with Elektra, early enough in the film that we still believe her to be an innocent victim in need of James's protection. We've seen her cry as she describes the torture endured during her kidnapping, and we know that she has recently lost a “loved one,” her father. Lying together between the silken sheets, Elektra notices James's wounded shoulder. in twenty films and nearly fifty years, it's one of the first times we've really seen James Bond get hurt. “Poor shoulder,” she purrs, “it looks painful.”

This scene reminds us that James's life as a double-0 is not all fun and games. Yes, the secret agent's life of international intrigue is full of excitement and adventure, traveling the world and sampling the best it has to offer. But the adventure comes at a price, and the life of danger can also sometimes be a life of suffering. Death lingers around every corner—not only the possibility that James himself will be killed, but also the possibility that he will lose someone he cares for. Caring for a woman is a dangerous thing in James's line of business. As he thinks to himself in the novel, Dr No, “It had been a bad break coming across this girl. in combat, like it or not, a girl is your extra heart. the enemy has two targets against your one.”

Ian Fleming, Dr No (London: Coronet, 1988), p. 82.

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