The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer is a book analyzing the philosophy and popular culture effects of The Simpsons, published by Open Court. The title is a satirical allusion to the Chinese philosophical work, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu. The book is edited by William Irwin, Mark T. Conard and Aeon J. Skoble, each of whom also wrote one of the eighteen essays in the book.[1]

The book was released on February 28, 2001, as the second volume of Open Court Publishing's Popular Culture and Philosophy series, which currently includes thirty-three books.[2] The book has gone on to be extremely successful, both in sales and critically, and is also used as a main text in various universities with philosophy courses.


The book includes contributions from eighteen academics in the field of philosophy. Topics included are comparisons of the characters in the show, such as Homer Simpson and Aristotle, or Bart Simpson and Nietzsche.[3] The book brings up topics such as why Homer's appeal is universal by arguing that he speaks to fundamental conflicts about what gives human pleasure.[4]

Other topics include the manner in which the show makes philosophical statements, and its opinions on sexuality in politics.[5] Religion is also discussed in the book, such as the guilt Homer feels for not going to church, or Ned Flanders experiencing tragedies, despite following the Bible closely.[6]

Contents Page

Page numbers not included.


Introduction Meditations on Springfield?

Part I
The Characters

1. Homer and Aristotle

2. Lisa and American Anti-intellectualism

3. Why Maggie Matters: Sounds of Silence, East and West

4. Marge's Moral Motivation

5. Thus Spake Bart: On Nietzshe and the Virtues of Being Bad


The book was highly successful, selling over 203,000 copies, making it the best selling book in the Open Court Publishing's Popular Culture and Philosophy series.[3] The book was also critically successful, highlighting the philosophical themes that the book was able to make with The Simpsons[7], such as Booklist, who wrote, "[...]these pieces make erudite concepts accessible by viewing things through the lens of a great cartoon series,"[3] or Publishers Weekly who wrote, "Fans of The Simpsons are certain to find this book to be the perfect rebuttal for those who dismiss the show as a no-brainer."[5]

The book has been used as an aid in many universities to help teach philosophy, with some having the book as the main text book for the course.[8][9][10] The book has been praised for being able to make connections to philosophical studies and to youth, by using popular culture[11]. The professors who use the book as the main text say the book "helps draw people to philosophy."[12] At the University of California, Berkeley, a class titled "Simpsons and Philosophy" is devoted entirely to the show and philosophy.[13]

See also


  1. Template:Cite book
  2. "Popular Culture and Philosophy series" Retrieved on November 28, 2007
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Template:Cite journal
  4. Burkeman, Oliver. "Weekend: EMBIGGENING THE SMALLEST MAN: There are few places on the planet where the influence of five bright yellow, boggle-eyed residents of Springfield has yet to be felt, and there will be fewer still with the long-awaited arrival of the first Simpsons movie", The Guardian, Guardian Newspapers Limited,, pp. Page 22. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Template:Cite journal
  6. Justin, Neal. "Homer's odyssey; Can an 18-year-old sitcom still pack enough punch to be successful on the big screen? Doh!", Star Tribune,, pp. Page 01F. 
  7. Logerfo, Laura. "Author mixes Simpsons, Brecht", The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan,. Retrieved on 2007-11-28. 
  8. Staff. "'Simpsons' Philosophy Prof Turns 'Toon Raider", New York Post,, pp. Page 09. 
  9. Staff. "D'oh! University offers 'Simpsons' studies", Associated Press,. Retrieved on 2007-11-28. 
  10. Burkeman, Oliver. "Homer's last stand", The Guardian, Guardian News and Media Limited,. Retrieved on 2007-11-28. 
  11. Staff. "Books ponder the world according to Homer and Jerry", St. Petersburg Times,, pp. Page 7D. 
  12. "Bart joins Homer on philosophy course", The News Letter,, pp. Page 3. 
  13. McManis, Sam. "Homer's odyssey: Berkeley course uses 'The Simpsons' to discuss philosophy", San Francisco Chronicle, Hearst Newspapers,. Retrieved on 2007-11-28. 
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