Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tony Stark has a complicated relationship with...Morality

There is this great article I found on Tumblr exploring Morality through Iron Man in comics. It's really interesting exploring philosophy through fictional characters. The article even compares Iron Man's view of morality with Captain America.  They are friends and teammates but their worldviews sometimes conflict and makes you question your own worldview or at least think about what your worldview is. Here is a passage from the article.

The poster boy for deontology in the Marvel universe (and arguably one of the many icons for deontology and conventional morality in our own universe) is Captain America. As I said, most of the time there doesn’t have to be a conflict between the two schools of thought. The Crimson Dynamo is attacking New York? Stop him. Apartment building on fire? Rescue the inhabitants. The hard cases arise in situations like… Oh I dunno, you predict America’s ruin at the hands of a burgeoning super-hero population, unless you can regulate them in some way. Or perhaps universe after universe is cascading into one another, threatening your planet, your dimension, and even the entire multiverse. 
Whatever the case may be, Tony will do what he has to do to achieve the outcome that’s most beneficial. Captain America will do the right thing. Tony has to destroy a world to save the universe? He probably will, because the universe is something worth defending. Captain America on the other hand, well, destroy a world? How can you even consider that? It’s just plain wrong. It’s Cap’s view that tends to be the more conventional one as well, for the most part. He’s considered a paragon of virtue for a reason. Superman is much the same as a DC equivalent. These are both heroes who are for the most part, deontological in their reasoning.
The article makes some valid points. I think that somethings are truly wrong and good consequences is not enough to justify doing something wrong in the first place. Sometimes choices are tough. The article does not discuss the World War Hulk storyline, but in it the Hulk return to take vengeance on  Iron Man and some other heroes who tried to exile the Hulk into space.

At one point, Iron Man said "Sometimes, you have to play god",  I think that this sums up Iron Man's character and the article sums it up well.  He is willing to do whatever he has to do, even bad things he will feel guilty about later, in order to get the best results as he sees them.  Although I like reading about Iron Man it's not the king of Morality that I think that should be lived out - although there people who think this way.

Tony Stark has a complicated relationship with...
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