Cover image for Seinfeld and philosophy : a book about everything and nothing
Seinfeld and philosophy : a book about everything and nothing
Irwin, William, 1970-
Publication Information:
Chicago, Ill. : Open Court, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiii, 216 pages ; 23 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
B68 .S44 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Designed for philosophers as well as readers with no particular philosophical background, the essays in this lively book are grouped into four amusing acts. Act One looks at the four Seinfeld characters through a philosophical lens and includes Jerry and Socrates: The Examined Life? Act Two examines historical philosophers from a Seinfeldian standpoint and offers Plato or Nietzsche? Time, Essence, and Eternal Recurrence in Seinfeld. Act Three, Untimely Meditations by the Water Cooler, explores philosophical issues raised by the show, such as, Is it rational for George to do the opposite? And Act Four, Is There Anything Wrong with That?, discusses ethical problems of everyday life using Seinfeld as a basis. Seinfeld and Philosophy also provides a guide to Seinfeld episodes and a chronological list of the philosophers cited in this book.

Author Notes

William Irwin is a professor of philosophy at King's College.

Table of Contents

William IrwinWilliam IrwinDaniel BarwickSarah E. WorthWilliam IrwinEric BronsonMark T. ConardJennifer McmahonKelly Dean JolleyJason HoltNorah MartinJorge J.E. GraciaRobert A. EppersonAeon J. SkobleTheodore Schick, Jr.
Prefacep. ix
Monologue: Seinfeld, "The Field of Being"p. xi
Act I The Characters, aka "The New York Four"p. 1
1. Jerry and Socrates: The Examined Life?p. 3
2. George's Failed Quest for Happiness: An Aristotelian Anaylsisp. 15
3. Elaine Benes: Feminist Icon or Just One of the Boys?p. 27
4. Kramer and Kierkegaard: Stages on Life's Wayp. 38
Act II Seinfeld and the Philosophersp. 59
5. Making Something out of Nothing: Seinfeld, Sophistry, and the Taop. 61
6. Plato or Nietzsche?: Time, Essence, and Eternal Recurrence in Seinfeldp. 71
7. Seinfeld, Subjectivity, and Sartrep. 90
8. Wittgenstein and Seinfeld on the Commonplacep. 109
Act III Untimely Mediations by the Water Coolerp. 119
9. The Costanza Maneuver: Is it Rational for George to "Do the Opposite"?p. 121
10. Peterman and the Ideological Mind: Paradoxes of Subjectivityp. 139
11. The Secret of Seinfeld's Humor: The Significance of the Insignificantp. 148
Act IV Is there Anything Wrong with That?p. 161
12. Seinfeld and the Moral Lifep. 163
13. Virtue Ethics and TV's Seinfeldp. 175
14. The Final Episode: Is Doing Nothing Something?p. 183
What's the deal with Episode Lists? Episode Guidep. 193
Who are these Philosophers? A Chronology of Some Big-Time Philosophersp. 199
Who are these People? Notes on the Script Writers, aka the Contributors to This Volumep. 207
Index of Everythingp. 211