Famous Philosophers Imagined as Action Figures: Plunderous Plato, Dangerous Descartes & More

toyaristotle

Americans do not live in a culture that values philosophy. I could go on about the deep veins of anti-intellectualism that run under the country like fault lines or natural gas deposits, but I won’t. Let’s just say that we favor more obvious displays of prowess: feats of strength, agility, and physical violence, for example, of the superhero variety. With this fact in mind, first-year graduate student Ian Vandewalker decided he “wanted to do something that would bring a discipline that is often seen as difficult, esoteric, and even irrelevant, into new light—especially in the eyes of young people.” Remembering a poster he once saw of “an action figure of Adam Smith with Invisible Hand action,” Vandewalker decided he would combine his own love of toys and philosophy into a philosopher action figure series he called “Philosophical Powers!” Here are just a few of Vandewalker’s creations, designed somewhat like professional wrestlers, with their various leagues and range of epithets.

He begins at the traditional beginning, with figures of “Plunderous Plato” and “Arrogant Aristotle” (above), “The Angry Ancients.” Aristotle, known as the “peripatetic” philosopher, has only one power: “walking.” His quality is attested by a rather circular syllogism: “All Philosophical Powers figures are totally awesome. This toy is a Philosophical Powers figure. Therefore, this toy is totally awesome.” Like much of Aristotle’s deductive reasoning, the argument is airtight, provided one accept the truth of its premises.

toydescartes

In the category of “Contumelious Continental Rationalists,” who began the revolt against those Aristotelian “Merciless Medievals,” we have “Dangerous Descartes.” René Decartes may have claimed to doubt everything—every principle that Aristotle took for granted—but he fell prey to his own errors, hence his action figure’s weakness, the “Cartesian circle.” Decartes’ method of doubt produced its own brand of dualistic certainty about his own existence as a “thinking thing,” and the existence of God, hence “certainty” is one of his action figure’s strengths.

toyhegel

Skipping ahead over a century, we have the lone figure in “The Abominable Absolute Idealist” series, “Hateful Hegel.” Hegel is the ultimate systematizer whose embrace of contradiction can seem maddeningly incoherent, unless we believe his metaphysic of “Absolute Spirit.” Given his dialectic of everything, Hegel’s power is that “he is infinite.” His weakness? “He is finite,” of course. Given Hegel’s teleological theory of history, people who purchase his action figure “can expect them to become more and more valuable as time passes.”

toywittgenstein

The most amusing of “The Antagonistic Analytic Philosophers” is Ludwig Wittgenstein, who was himself an amusingly eccentric individual. Known for his terrible temper, which would often drive him to verbally abuse and strike those poor students who couldn’t grasp his abstruse concepts, “Vindictive Wittgenstein” has the power of “poker wielding ability.” His weakness, naturally, is his “teaching ability.” I particularly like the “notes” section of the figure’s description:

Wittgenstein figures come in two variations: the early model’s recorded messages include nonsense about language being a “picture” of the world, while the later model’s messages include nonsense about games and their “family resemblances” to one another. It’s fun to communicate! (Doll does not actually communicate. Children who claim that Wittgenstein figures talk to them with their own “private language” are mistaken or lying and should be severely beaten by their teachers.)

You can see the whole set at the Philosophical Powers site. It is problematic that we only get dead white men represented, but this is not solely the fault of Vandewalker but also a problem of history and the traditional academic history of ideas. One would hope that the concept is clever enough that it might make philosophy appealing to people who find it dull or unapproachable. That may be too lofty a goal, but these figures are sure to amuse the already philosophically-inclined, and perhaps spur them on to learn more.

Related Content:

10th Graders Draw Pictures Imagining Philosophers at Work

The Daily Habits of Highly Productive Philosophers: Nietzsche, Marx & Immanuel Kant

What Do Most Philosophers Believe? A Wide-Ranging Survey Project Gives Us Some Idea

Philosopher Portraits: Famous Philosophers Painted in the Style of Influential Artists

Download 90 Free Philosophy Courses and Start Living the Examined Life

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness



Make knowledge free & open. Share our posts with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms:
Share on TwitterShare via emailShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrSubmit to StumbleUponDigg ThisSubmit to reddit

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Choose a comment platform

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  1. Thomas Geoghegan says . . . | October 11, 2013 / 4:05 am
  2. u0627u0628u0631u0627u0647u064au0645 u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064a says . . . | November 17, 2013 / 10:39 pm

    u0645u0639 u0627u0644u0645u0628u062fu0639 u0627u0628u0631u0627u0647u064au0645 u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064a u0645u0647u062au0645 u0628u0643u0627u0641u0629 u0627u0644u0641u0646u0648 u0646 u0648u0627u0644u062bu0642u0627u0641u0647 u0627u0644u0639u0631u0628u064au0647 u0648u0627u0644u0627u0633u0644u0627u0645u064au0647 u062eu0637u0627u0637 u0648u0641u0646u0627u0646 u0648u0645u062fu0648u0646 u0648u0646u0627u0634u0637 . u0648u0635u0627u062du0628 u0645u0646u0634u0626u0629 (u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064a) u0644u0628u064au0639 u0648u062au0635u0646u064au0639 u0648u0634u0631u0627u0621 u062cu0645u064au0639 u0627u0646u0648u0627u0639 u0627u0644u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a _ u0627u0639u0645u0627u0644 u064au062fu0648u064au0629 u0641u0646u064au0629 u0644u0644u0645u0633u0627u0647u0645u0629 u0641u064a u062au0631u0633u064au062e u0627u0644u0648u0639u064a u0627u0644u062cu0645u0627u0644u064a u0648u0627u0644u0630u0648u0642 u0627u0644u0631u0641u064au0639 u0648u0627u0644u062au062fu0631u0628 u0639u0644u0649 u0622u0644u064au0627u062a u0627u0644u0641u0643u0631 u0627u0644u0646u0642u062fu064a u0627u0644u062du0631nnu0646u0631u062cu0648 u0627u0644u062fu0639u0645 u0648 u0627u0644u0645u0634u0627u0631u0643u0629 u0648 u0634u0643u0631nn01140438525nnu0644u0645u062au0627u0628u0639u062au0646u0627 u0639u0644u064a u0635u0641u062du0627u062au0646u0627 u0627u0644u0645u062au0639u062fu062fu0629 u0627u0644u0646u0634u0627u0637u0627u062a u0627u0644u062au0637u0648u0639u064au0629 u0641u0646 u0627u0644u0627u0628u062fu0627u0639 u0641u0649 .u0627u0644u0645u062cu0627u0644u0627u062a u0627u0644u0641u0643u0631u064au0629 u0648u0627u0644u0639u0644u0648u0645 u0627u0644u0627u0646u0633u0627u0646u064au0629 u0647u0646u0627 u062bu0642u0629 u0648u0642u0648u0629 u0648u062au0645u0643u0646 u0647u0646u0627 u0627u0644u0641u0646u0648 u0646 u0648u0627u0644u062bu0642u0627u0641u0647 u0627u0644u0639u0631u0628u064au0647 u0648u0627u0644u0627u0633u0644u0627u0645u064au0647 u0647u0646u0627 u0627u0644u0639u0644u0645.. u0648u0627u0644u062du0642.. u0648u0627u0644u0641u0636u064au0644u0629 ..u0648u0627u0644u062cu0645u0627u0644 u0647u0646u0627 . u0648u0627u0644u0625u0628u062fu0627u0639.. u0648u0627u0644u0645u0631u0648u0621u0629.. u0648u0641u0646 ..u0648u0634u0647u0627u0645u0629 u0648u0628u0647u0627u0621. nn u0647u0646u0627 u0646u0634u0648u0629 u0627u0644u0628u0630u0644 u0648u0644u0630u0629 u0627u0644u062cu0647u0627u062f, u0641u0644u062au0633u0627u0631u0639 u0625u0644u0649 u201cu0635u0640u0641u0640u062du062au0640u0646u0622 : nn1-u0635u0641u062du0629 u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064au0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064annantiquessaadiy.blogspot.comnn u0641u0646u0648u0646 u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064a u0641u064a u0627u0644u0648u0631u0642u064au0627u062a u0627u0644u0642u062fu064au0645u0629 u0648u0627u0644u0644u0648u062d u0627u0644u062eu0637u064au0629 u0648u0627u0644u0632u064au062au064au0629 u0627u0644u0646u0627u062fu0631u0629nnhttp://ibrahim266.blogspot.com/2013/10/blog-post_27.htmlu200fnn1u0645u0646u0634u0626u0629 (u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064a) (u0628u064au062a u0627u0644u0631u062du0645u0629 u0648 u0627u0644u0633u0639u0627u062fu0629)nnhttp://ibrahim266.blogspot.com/2013/11/blog-post_14.htmlu200fnn1nnu0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064annantiquessaadiy.blogspot.comu200fnn1nn2-u0635u0641u062du0629 u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064a u0648u0634u0631u0643u0627nn3- u0635u0641u062du0629 u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0648u0644u0627u062f u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064ann4- u0635u0641u062du0629 u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064a u0648u0627u0648u0644u0627u062fu0647nn5-u0645u062cu0645u0648u0639u0629 u062eu064au0631 u0632u0645u0627u0646nn6-u0645u062cu0645u0648u0639u0629 u062eu0631u0627u0628u064au0634 u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064annu0648u0645u0648u0642u0639u0646u0627 u0627u0644u0631u0626u064au0633u064a u0627u0646u062au064au0643u0627u062a u0627u0644u0633u0639u062fu064annu0641u0623u062fu062eu0644 u0641u0623u064a u0635u0641u062du0629 u0645u0646 u0635u0641u062du0627u062au0646u0627 u0627u0644u0645u062au0639u062fu062fu0629 u062au062cu062f u0645u0627 u064au0633u0631 u0643 u0645u0646 u0639u0646u062fu0646u0627

Add a comment

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Quantcast