Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Introducing: The Cartoon Philosophy Ivy League

The internet has revealed a fabulous thing: people like learning about complex macro-trends through highly simplified, concise analysis accompanied by cartoons.  This is nothing new, but over the past few years we've seen more and more internet projects participating.  If TED Talks are the Harvard of the internet, then a number of similar projects constitute the whole Ivy League.  Annie Leonard, starting with The Story of Stuff, was an early pioneer.  Most recently, RSA Animate has been releasing amazing historical/philosophical syntheses of big concepts like education and time.  Even the White House is joining in!  I'm a huge fan of political cartooning, so this trend really gets me excited.

My favorite source for cartoon philosophy isn't actually on the internet at all; it's the "INTRODUCING:" series of graphic guides.  These short, super-concise books cover an amazing range of important thinkers and topics in history, philosophy, and science, all with great illustrations and diagrams.  The selection of topics covered is almost comically vast (seriously, check out the library here),  and they're still at it, publishing new books at a blistering pace.  Twelve new books arrive this spring, including Political Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Jean Baudrillard.  Check them out!

This election season saw the public discourse sink to repulsive new lows, but hopefully this cartoon philosophy medium will grow and provide a much-needed countervailing force.

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