University in Scotland offers Homer Simpson philosophy class

By Daniel Uria  |  Nov. 16, 2016 at 4:12 PM
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GLASGOW, Scotland, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A university in Scotland has launched a new a course examining the philosophy of television character Homer Simpson.

The course at Glasgow University is titled "D'Oh! The Simpsons Introduce Philosophy" and will seek to determine if the patriarch of the long running animated show The Simpsons is a "virtuous character."

"The course uses The Simpsons as a vehicle of introducing the people to philosophical ideas," the professor in charge of the class, Dr. John Donaldson, told the Evening Times. "We do look at Homer and ask if he is a virtuous person. We do that after talking about moral philosophy."

According to the course literature, the class will examine different episodes and characters including the rest of the Simpson family and their pious neighbor Ned Flanders to "explore some of philosophy's most inspiring ideas as presented in Matt Groening's monument to the absurdities of human existence."

Donaldson said the main focus of the one-day course offered on Jan. 14 and 21 will be comparing the "complex" character of Homer Simpson to Aristotle's account of a virtuous character.

"He's very gluttonous, he can be quite violent and self-interested. But at the same time he's a character that's hard not to like," he told the BBC. "He's very popular. He has a childlike joy of life, he's open to doing the right thing and he's a faithful family man."

Donaldson said the class was overenrolled and hoped the subject matter would help draw people into further studying philosophy.

"I like the Simpsons because it's a great work of art. It's a cartoon of a great tapestry. There's so much going on in it," he said. "It encourages you to reflect on what's important in life."

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