What can we learn from zombies?


Zombies are lurking all around popular culture these days - in books, video games, TV series, and most recently in Brad Pitt's latest film World War Z.

But their cultural importance goes far beyond lurching drooling terror-inducing skills.

The latest edition of Philosophy Now magazine is devoted to the monsters and its editor Rick Lewis, explains why he finds zombies a useful tool in discussing philosophy.

He mused: "We have a zombie invasion of philosophy special issue to reflect all the discussions of zombies that's going on."

"Zombies don't have a lot of consciousness of what's going on around them, that's very useful in the thought experiment with philosophy of the mind."

"Zombies don't have a lot of moral qualms, they don't have meaningful lives, this is useful; in different debates in philosophy, Mr Lewis said.

Naomi Alderman, author and games writer, believes zombies have a lot to teach us, saying: "It's very interesting why they (zombies) have capture the publics imagination. There is this thing where zombies become more popular during an economic downturn, so they're certainly a representation of the threat from the proletariat."

"If you believe in the subconscious, zombies must mean something," she added.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programmeSaturday 8 June 2013

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