Friday, March 2, 2012

Should Batman Kill the Joker? Perspectives from Five Famous Philosophers

Comics Alliance has posted a great article discussing a deeply philosophical question: Should Batman Kill the Joker? It's based on a post by Tauriq Moosa, an ethicist writing for the site Big Think. In it, he argued against Batman's famed "no killing" policy. He says that Batman has a moral obligation to rid the world of the Joker. I totally disagree. Batman is a man. He has not obligation to choose who deserves to die. The article in Comics Alliance does not bring this up but I've got to wonder why is Batman obligated to do anything? But setting that aside, the Comics Alliance article does take the question Moosa asks and answers and imagines how 5 of the greatest Western philosophers might answer the same question.

1. Immanuel Kant
2. John Stuart Mill
3. Thomas Hobbes
4. John Rawls
5. Friedrich Nietzsche

This is a fun thought experiment. I think one of the defining things about Batman, one of the things that makes him a hero, is that he will not take a human life.  He refuses to cross the line that would make him not better than the evil that he fights. The article is well worth your time if you like discussing and thinking of morality.

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