Black Mirror and Philosophy: Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts
Black Mirror and Philosophy
Edited by David Kyle Johnson
The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series
Please circulate and post widely.
Apologies for cross posting.
To propose ideas for future volumes in the Blackwell series please contact the Series Editor, William Irwin, at
If you have comments or criticisms for the series, please contact the series editor after reading “Fancy Taking a Pop?” and  “Writing for the Reader: A Defense of Philosophy and Popular Culture Books”
The format of this book will be different than others, since each Black Mirror episode is a standalone story. We are looking for a few chapters that tackle general themes that run throughout the series, but we also want a single chapter dedicated to each episode in the series. These “episode chapters” will summarize the plot, find the philosophical message or questions raised by the episode, and then evaluate that message or question philosophically. What follows is a list of suggestions for topics and chapter titles, but please feel free to deviate from them. Also feel free to pitch for more than one episode; if you do so, indicate your preference for which episode you would like to write on most.
Broad Themes
         Blank Screens are Black Mirrors: Black Mirror as a Reflection of Society
         Black Mirror as Warning: “If technology is a drug, then what are the side effects?”
         Black Mirror and Artificial Intelligence: Are cookies people?
         Bees, Blackmail, and Social Ranking: Black Mirror plots in the Real World
         Black Mirror is What Sci-fi does best: Speculative Fiction as Philosophy
Episode Chapters
         “The National Anthem” Schadenfreude and public humiliation: Are we all sicker than Susannah’s kidnapper? Why we should just look away.
         “Fifteen Million Merits” Selling out for the cause: Is it possible to criticize the system without becoming a part of it? A philosophic guide to social change.
         “The Entire History of You” Knowing too much: Would you really want to know everything about your spouse or partner? A philosophic guide to privacy in relationships.
         “Be Right Back” Dealing with death: If you could, should you bring back your deceased loved one? How philosophy can help one deal with loss. 
         “White Bear” Cruel and unusual punishment: When it comes to punishing criminals, how far is too far? Philosophic justifications for the justice system.
         “The Waldo Moment” The spectacle of politics: Has politics become a joke? What philosophy says about how to engage in politics.
         “White Christmas” Technological restraining orders: Should you be able to “block” people from your life? Philosophical reflections on privacy and privilege. 
         “Nosedive” Social credits and Sartre’s look: Is hell other people? What philosophy reveals about the dangers of social media.
         “Playtest” When dreams become real: Does what happens in a dream really happen? Are you responsible for what you do in dreams? 
         “Shut Up and Dance” Blackmail and vigilante justice: Is what the blackmailers did morally correct? The philosophy behind taking justice into your own hands.
         “San Junipero” Uploading into the afterlife: Is San Junipero heaven, and if so should we want to upload into it? Philosophical worries about the afterlife.
         “Men Against Fire” Dehumanizing the other: Is the MASS any different than modern day propaganda? Philosophical worries about demonizing those who are different.
         “Hated in the Nation” The court of public opinion: What are the dangers of a true democracy? The philosophical worries about mob rule.
         “USS Callister” Playing in simulated worlds: What happens when games get too real? Philosophical worries about the future’s electronic entertainment.
         “Arkangel” Parental duties and limits: To what lengths should a parent go to protect their child? What philosophy reveals about the duties of parents.
         “Crocodile” Going too far: What are the limits of moral complicity? Philosophical reflections on moral duties.
         “Hang the DJ” Making relationships work: Would you submit to “the app”? The philosophy of relationships.
         “Metalhead” Dystopian futures: What are the dangers of AI? Philosophical worries about the development of artificial intelligence. 
         “Black Museum” The quest for vengeance: Is revenge justified? The philosophy behind punishing those who have wronged you.
Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.
  1. Submission deadline for abstracts (300-500 words) and CVs: June 25, 2018.
  2. Submission deadline for drafts of accepted papers: October 15, 2018.
Kindly submit by e-mail (with or without Word attachment) to:

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