Indiana Jones and Philosophy: Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts

Indiana Jones and Philosophy

Edited by Dean A. Kowalski

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

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.

We are seeking submissions from philosophers as well as scholars working in fields related to Indiana Jones, including Archaeology, Religious Studies, and Film Studies. Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Does God Hate Nazis?; “I Don’t Believe in Magic, A Lot of Superstitious Hocus Pocus”: Is Indy Really a (Religious) Skeptic?; What Else Is the Government Hiding From Us?: How Should We Interpret the Final Scene of Raiders? Does the Steamer Captain Act Impermissibly When He Knowingly Deceives the Nazis Who Board His Ship?: A Kantian Analysis; Are Sallah and Indy True Friends?: An Aristotelian Analysis; On Indy Destroying the Ark: Is it Better that He Do So Rather than Not?; “It Is Not of This Earth”: Should Indy pursue the Ark? Should anyone?; Can the Historical Significance of the Ark Be Separated from Its Religious Significance?: Indy and Marcus Discuss; Prof. Jones Lectures: Is Folklore a Danger to (or Problematic for) Archeology?; “An Army Carrying the Ark before It Is Invincible”: What Do We Know about the Ark—Belloq’s Transmitter for Speaking to God—and How Do We Know It?; “Again, We See There Is Nothing You Can Possess which I Cannot Take Away”: Is Belloq a Better Archeologist than Indy? Are They More Similar than Different?

Temple of Doom

“Eat it! You’re Offending Them and Embarrassing Me”: Cultural Relativism in Temple of Doom; “This Is Why Shiva Brought You Here!”: Fatalism and Chance in Temple of Doom; Will the Real Shankara Please Stand Up?: Portrayals of Hinduism in Temple of Doom; Are the Thugees Evil?: Temple of Doom and Religious Pluralism; Marion Ravenwood and Willie Scott: Feminist Themes in Raiders and Temple of Doom Compared; On The Ethics of Child Labor (among Thugees and Elsewhere); Does Indy (or the Young Maharaja) Serve Kali Freely?: Compatibilism and Libertarianism in Temple of Doom

Last Crusade

“You Must Believe, Boy”: Indy Takes the Kierkegaardian Leap of Faith; Did Indiana Jones Have a Choice to Not Be(come) an Archeologist?: Freedom of the Will from Young Indiana Jones to the Last Crusade (Compatibilism/Fatalism); Professor Jones Lectures: “Fact Not Truth” in Archeology (“If It’s Truth You’re Interested in, Prof. Tyree’s Philosophy Course is Right Down the Hall”); On What We Know about the Holy Grail and How We Know It; Special Obligations and the Jones Professors: Would It Be Wrong of Indy Not to Search for His Father?; The Ethics of the Order of the Cruciform Sword: Are They Courageous or Reckless? Do Their Ends Justify Their Means?; “And I Haven’t Told Him Anything”: Is Henry Jones Sr. a Good Father?; The Great Seal and the Price of Immortality: Is it too high?; “You Must Choose Wisely”: Illumination, Socratic Wisdom, and The Last Crusade; “Indiana, Let It Go”: What Makes Henry’s Life Meaningful? Finding the Grail or His Son?

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

“Knowledge Was Their Treasure”: Knowledge vs. Wisdom in Crystal Skull; Area 51: The Final Resting Place of the Ark (and Other Governmental Secrets)?; “I Want to Know Everything!”: Are There Anti-Socratic Messages in Crystal Skull (and the Other Indiana Jones Films)?; The Ethics of the (Indiana Jones) Family: Does Indy Have a Right to Know about His Son?; “Clearly, I Have Chosen the Wrong Pressure Point”: Ethics of Care in Crystal Skull; Giant Rainforest Mowers and Big Red Ants: Environmental Issues and Their Ethical Implications in Crystal Skull

Archeology and All (Other) Things Indiana Jones

“Fortune and Glory, Kid. Fortune and Glory”: What Is the Difference between an Archeologist and a Grave Robber? Are They More Alike than Different?; Do We Have an Obligation to Not Disturb Ancient Burial Sites?; On Knowing the Whereabouts of Ancient Archeological Artifacts and the Criteria by which We Could Know This?; “It Belongs in a Museum!”: The Ethics of Looting Archaeological Sites for Personal Gain; “You Call This Archeology!?”: Why Is Archeology Not an Exact Science (as Belloq claims) and What, Exactly Is an “Exact Science?” Is Archeology More of a Religion (as Belloq also claims)?; “The Search for the Divine Within All of Us”: Archeology and Methodological Naturalism in the Indiana Jones Movies; Does Religion Require Proven Miracles and Found Holy Relics? Reformed Epistemology and the Indiana Jones Movies; “It’s As If the Pharaohs Have Returned”: Understanding the Nature of Evil – Hitler, Mola Ram, and Irina Spalko; The Visual and Cultural Aesthetics of Indiana Jones: Fedoras, Whips, Leather Jackets, and Nuclear-resistant Refrigerators; Sallah, Marcus, Short Round, and Mac: The Importance of Indy’s Homosocial Relationships; On John Williams’s Musical Scores Enhancing Our Aesthetic Appreciation of the Indiana Jones Movies

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Submission deadline for abstracts (300-500 words) and CVs: January 14, 2020.
  2. Submission deadline for drafts of accepted papers: June 2, 2020.

Kindly submit by e-mail (with or without Word attachment) to:

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