Inception and Philosophy : Because It's Never Just a Dream, Paperback

Inception and Philosophy : Because It's Never Just a Dream Paperback

Edited by David Kyle Johnson

Part of the The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series series

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


A philosophical look at the movie Inception and its brilliant metaphysical puzzles Is the top still spinning?

Was it all a dream? In the world of Christopher Nolan's four-time Academy Award-winning movie, people can share one another's dreams and alter their beliefs and thoughts.

Inception is a metaphysical heist film that raises more questions than it answers: Can we know what is real?

Can you be held morally responsible for what you do in dreams?

What is the nature of dreams, and what do they tell us about the boundaries of "self" and "other"?

From Plato to Aristotle and from Descartes to Hume, Inception and Philosophy draws from important philosophical minds to shed new light on the movie's captivating themes, including the one that everyone talks about: did the top fall down (and does it even matter)?* Explores the movie's key questions and themes, including how we can tell if we're dreaming or awake, how to make sense of a paradox, and whether or not inception is possible * Gives new insights into the nature of free will, time, dreams, and the unconscious mind * Discusses different interpretations of the film, and whether or not philosophy can help shed light on which is the "right one" * Deepens your understanding of the movie's multi-layered plot and dream-infiltrating characters, including Dom Cobb, Arthur, Mal, Ariadne, Eames, Saito, and Yusuf An essential companion for every dedicated Inception fan, this book will enrich your experience of the Inception universe and its complex dreamscape.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Popular philosophy
  • ISBN: 9781118072639



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POINTS OF INTEREST DANIEL FORBES ON MARTIN BUBER: “Buber suggests that we can ‘know’ the world and other people in two every different ways, ‘experience’ and ‘encounter.’ An experience converts the event of perception into a representation and generates a relation Buber calls ‘I-It’ – a conceptual relation where the perceiver holds something within consciousness as a sort of object or thing to be understood or used. Before there can be an experience there must first be an encounter – an event of entering into a direct relationship with a being. Any encounter provokes the conscious self to generate an experience that represents that being – and once the experience has been generated, the immediacy of the encounter is lost. Buber suggests that if we resist the tendency to covert this other being into a representation an instead try to live within the moment of the encounter as long as we can, we participate in a concrete relation that Buber calls ‘I-You.’ This involves just trying to be with the other, without trying to know the other, since an attempt to know the other person will only produce a distorted objectification. If I try to describe and understand the other person in a reflective or analytical way, then I will being the process of objectively representing that person in my own thought – and at that point I am really describing and understanding my own projection of that person. Since all that I can ever describe is a biased interpretation of the other person distorted by my desires, the experience of an encounter as an I-You relation will inevitably be indescribable. What’s more, the kind of life I live – one that is dominated by experiences, or one that is dominated by encounters – will determine the sort of person I am. If I spend my time analyzing the things I perceive in order to objectively understand them and use them for my own purposes, the world for me will become the objects that I have constructed through my own thought. It is impossible to never objectify what we perceive; objectification is necessary for us to survive and successfully navigate our world.” MICHAEL SIGRIST ON EDMUND HUSSERL: “A retention is not a memory. While memory is a mode of consciousness by which we are aware of the past, retention is a feature of our conscious experience of the present. You can experience the present moment without memory, but you cannot experience the present moment without retention.” WILLIAM JAMES: The specious present “is no knife-edge, but a saddle-back, with a certain breadth of its own on which we sit perched, and from which we look in two directions.” HERACLITUS: “For the waking there is one common world, but when asleep each person turns away to a private one.”

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