The Grateful Dead and Philosophy

Getting High Minded about Love and Haight

The Grateful Dead and Philosophy

This book is another one of those late-night Grateful Dead inspired dorm room conversations with friends . . . only this time it’s your professors sitting cross-legged on the floor asking if anyone else wants to order a pizza. The Grateful Dead emerged from the San Francisco counter-culture movement of the late 1960s to become an American icon. Part of the reason they remain an institution four decades later is that they and their fans, the Deadheads, embody deviation from social, artistic, and industry norms. From the beginning, the Grateful Dead has represented rethinking what we do and how we do it. Their long, free-form jams stood in stark contrast to the three minute, radio friendly, formulaic rock that preceded them. Allowing their fans to tape and trade recordings of shows and distributing concert tickets themselves bucked the corporate control of popular music. The use of mind-altering chemicals questioned the nature of consciousness and reality. The practice of “touring,” following the band from city to city, living as modern day nomads presented a model distinct from the work-a-day option assumed by most in our corporate dominated culture. As a result, Deadheads are a quite introspective lot. The Grateful Dead and Philosophy contains essays from twenty professional philosophers whose love of the music and scene have led them to reflect on different philosophical questions that arise from the enigma that is the Grateful Dead. Coming from a variety of perspectives, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, The Grateful Dead and Philosophy considers how the Grateful Dead fits into the broader trends of American thought running through pragmatism and the Beat poets, how the parking lot scene with its tie-dyed t-shirt and veggie burrito vendors was both a rejection and embrace of capitalism, and whether Jerry Garcia and the Buddha were more than just a couple of fat guys talking about peace. The lyrics of the Grateful Dead’s many songs are also the basis for several essays considering questions of fate and freedom, the nature-nurture debate, and gamblers’ ethics.

The Grateful Dead FAQ

All That's Left to Know About the Greatest Jam Band in History

The Grateful Dead FAQ

The Grateful Dead rose out of San Francisco's '60s underground rock scene with an unprecedented sound and image. Its members steeped in rock folk classical and blues; their instrumental prowess; and their refusal to bow to commercial conventions helped originate jam band music. Unapologetic in its advocacy of drug use as a means toward mind expansion the Dead helped catapult psychedelic music. After performing at the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock the group became iconic without ever scoring a hit single. A large devoted fan base ä Deadheads ä began to follow the band everywhere. The group suffered a tragedy when bandleader Jerry Garcia slipped into a coma in 1986 but returned the next year with a top-selling album and surprise hit single Touch of Grey. By 1993 the Dead was the top-grossing live act in the United States. The band ended when Garcia died in 1995 but the music lives on with a stream of live releases. In ÊGrateful Dead FAQÊ Tony Sclafani examines the band's impact and influence on rock music and pop culture. This book ventures into unexplored areas and features a host of rare images making it a must-have for both Deadheads and casual fans.

Reading the Grateful Dead

A Critical Survey

Reading the Grateful Dead

Since the 1960s, the Grateful Dead have welcomed and participated in academic work on the band, encouraging scrutiny from a wide variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, from anthropology to sociology. Interest in Dead studies is growing across the country and around the world, and UC–Santa Cruz’s Grateful Dead Archive continues to attract a high level of attention. In Reading the Grateful Dead: A Critical Survey, Nicholas G. Meriwether has assembled essays that examine the development of Grateful Dead studies. This volume features work from three generations of scholars, including a wide variety of perspectives on the band and its cultural significance. From insiders like lyricist John Perry Barlow and longtime band publicist and historian Dennis McNally to well-known Deadhead scholars such as Barry Barnes and Rebecca Adams, the contributors to this volume offer valuable insights into the Grateful Dead phenomenon. No other Dead book focuses on the growth and development of the discourse, contains such a range of critical approaches, nor features work by luminaries Stan Krippner and Barnes, among others. The four sections of the book describe aspects and approaches to Dead studies, along with overviews of how the discipline evolved and what it comprises today. This collection will appeal to scholars, students, and teachers interested in Dead studies and fans of the band.

The Grateful Dead in Concert

Essays on Live Improvisation

The Grateful Dead in Concert

This book offers a spirited analysis of the unique improvisational character of Grateful Dead music and its impact on appreciative fans. The 20 essays capture distinct facets of the Grateful Dead phenomenon from a broad range of scholarly angles. The band’s trademark synergizing focus is discussed as a function of complex musical improvisation interlaced with the band members’ collective assimilation of an impressive range of marginal musical forms and lyrical traditions. These facets are shown to produce a vibrant Deadhead experience, resulting in community influences still morphing in new directions 45 years after the band’s initial impact.

Pink Floyd and Philosophy

Careful with that Axiom, Eugene!

Pink Floyd and Philosophy

With their early experiments in psychedelic rock music in the 1960s, and their epic recordings of the 1970s and '80s, Pink Floyd became one of the most influential and recognizable rock bands in history. As "The Pink Floyd Sound," the band created sound and light shows that defined psychedelia in England and inspired similar movements in the Jefferson Airplane's San Francisco and Andy Warhol's New York City. The band's subsequent recordings forged rock music's connections to orchestral music, literature, and philosophy. "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" ignored pop music's ordinary topics to focus on themes such as madness, existential despair, brutality, alienation, and socially induced psychosis. They also became some of the best-selling recordings of all time. In this collection of essays, sixteen scholars expert in various branches of philosophy set the controls for the heart of the sun to critically examine the themes, concepts, and problems—usually encountered in the pages of Heidegger, Foucault, Sartre, or Orwell—that animate and inspire Pink Floyd's music. These include the meaning of existence, the individual's place in society, the interactions of knowledge and power in education, the contradictions of art and commerce, and the blurry line—the tragic line, in the case of Floyd early member Syd Barrett (died in 2006)—between genius and madness. Having dominated pop music for nearly four decades, Pink Floyd's dynamic and controversial history additionally opens the way for these authors to explore controversies about intellectual property, the nature of authorship, and whether wholes—especially in the case of rock bands—are more than the sums of their parts.

The Sopranos and Philosophy

I Kill Therefore I Am

The Sopranos and Philosophy

This collection of essays by philosophers who are also fans does a deep probe of the Sopranos, analyzing the adventures and personalities of Tony, Carmella, Livia, and the rest of television's most irresistible mafia family for their metaphysical, epistemological, value theory, eastern philosophical, and contemporary postmodern possibilities. No prior philosophical qualificationsor mob connections are required to enjoy these musings, which are presented with the same vibrancy and wit that have made the show such a hit.

The Atkins Diet and Philosophy

Chewing the Fat with Kant and Nietzsche

The Atkins Diet and Philosophy

The Atkins diet has transformed the lives of millions of people, revolutionizing grocery store shelves, restaurant menus, and dinner-table conversations. But there are questions beyond its efficacy and longevity. Is the Atkins diet a new wrinkle in capitalist exploitation or a twisted expression of negative body images? Is it a symbol of super-masculinity? Has the Atkins diet really been around for centuries under other names? Can it increase intelligence, or cause global warming and melt the polar ice caps? How does Atkins fit into Kant’s conception of the moral life, or Rousseau’s vision of a kinder, gentler human society? The Atkins Diet and Philosophy wittily explores these and other pressing questions in sixteen entertaining essays. Following the same fun, readable approach as earlier volumes in this series, this book uses philosophy to put the Atkins diet under the microscope, and uses the Atkins diet to teach vital philosophical lessons for life.

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy

The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy

The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures of Aslan, the Pevensie children, and the rest of the colorful cast. Do the spectacular events in Narnia give readers a simplistic view of human choice and decision making? Does Aslan offer a solution to the problem of evil? What does the character of Susan tell readers about Lewis’s view of gender? How does Lewis address the Nietzschean “master morality” embraced by most of the villains of the Chronicles? With these and a wide range of other questions, this provocative book takes a fresh view of the world of Narnia and expands readers’ experience of it.

Transformers and Philosophy

More than Meets the Mind

Transformers and Philosophy

Transformers began with toys and a cartoon series in 1984 and has since grown to include comic books, movies, and video games — its science fiction story has reached an audience with a wide range second only to that of Star Wars. Here, in Transformers and Philosophy, a dream team of philosophers pursues the fascinating questions posed by humankind’s encounter with an artificially intelligent mechanical civilization: Is genuine artificial intelligence possible? Would a robotic civilization come with its own morality and artistic life, and would it find a need for romantic love? Should we be more careful about developing robots that may eventually develop ideas of their own? Transformers and Philosophy puts Transformers under a microscope and exposes its philosophical implications in an instantly readable way.

Inception and Philosophy

Ideas to Die For

Inception and Philosophy

You have to go deeper. Inception is more than just a nail-biting heist story, more than just one of the greatest movies of all time. The latest neuroscience and philosophy of mind tell us that shared dreams and the invasion of dreams may soon become reality. Inception and Philosophy: Ideas to Die For takes you through the labyrinth, onto the infinite staircase, exploring the movie’s hidden architecture, picking up its unexpected clues. How will Inception change your thinking? You can’t imagine. How will Inception and Philosophy change your life? You simply have no idea.