In any month that has five Thursdays, the fifth Thursday’s post will be written by a guest. We are planning on using these posts to provide exciting young comics scholars with a venue to try out some of their ideas. So don’t look for these posts to feature big established comics scholars whose name and work you know (although sometimes, of course, the name and the work will be well-known). Instead, this feature will be promoting names and work that you probably don’t know yet, but should look out for in the future.
This week’s post is by Stephen Nelson. Steve, who sometimes claims to be related to Thor, is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. Although his research centers on metaphysics, logic, and related issues such as personal identity, he also has a longstanding love of comics and a real interest in applying philosophical analysis to questions about the metaphysics of the fictional worlds within which Superman and Spiderman live.
Tomorrow’s post is no exception. Based in part on a paper that is forthcoming in the Avengers and Philosophy: Earth’s Mightiest Thinkers volume (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), Steve addresses a thought-provoking question regarding personal identity and superhero identity. In short: How can it be the case that at one point in time, Batman is (that is, is identical to) Bruce Wayne, yet at another time Batman is not Bruce Wayne (since someone else is Batman). Taken at face value, these claims seem to imply that Bruce Wayne is not identical to Bruce Wayne!
We’re excited about this new feature. Hopefully it will be the first of many.