The Philosophical Teachings Of Supernatural Essay

1691 words - 7 pages

When my friend first prompted me to watch the show Supernatural, I assumed that it was just going to be another mind-numbing television show. I could not have been more wrong. I had no idea that beneath the action and plots were the shadows of various philosophies. The pilot episode opens up with a young man named Sam Winchester studying at Stanford University. He seems to be no more than a law student with a girlfriend, but everything changes when Sam’s older brother, Dean, comes asking for Sam’s help. Dean and Sam spent their entire childhood with their father, traveling around the country hunting monsters. When Sam and his father disagreed about Sam’s future, Sam left Dean and their father and went to Stanford. After several years without contact, Dean appears at Sam’s door telling Sam that their father went on a “hunting trip” and has not been heard from in several days. Sam senses the urgency in Dean’s voice and considers coming to his brother’s aid. After the death of his girlfriend Jessica, Sam leaves the comfort of a normal life at Stanford forever and embarks upon a modern day odyssey with Dean. Throughout the show’s nine seasons, Sam and Dean pay attention to demonic signs and mysterious deaths, traveling to hundreds of towns and cities to save the lives of innocent, oblivious people. Hidden in what seems like another mainstream television show are many philosophical teachings expressed through the plot and dialogue several of the show’s episodes. In the show Supernatural, many of the philosophical teachings of Freud, the Rule Utilitarians, and the Stoics are present within the storyline.
In the season two episode “Bloodlust,” the character Gordon Walker exhibits the ideas of Rule Utilitarianism. In this episode, Gordon uses his past experiences to generalize that killing monsters is justified due to the lives that this saves; in a similar way, Rule Utilitarianism is a type of utilitarianism that justifies an action as long as its benefits outweigh its consequences. Rule Utilitarians formulate rules to guide their moral decisions: "Instead of looking at the consequences of a particular act, rule-utilitarianism determines the rightness of an act […] First, the best rule of conduct is found. This is done by finding the value of the consequences of following a particular rule. The rule the following of which has the best overall consequences is the best rule” (Mautner, ed.). This is unlike the Act Utilitarians, who must make decisions based on every individual consequence. In “Bloodlust,” Gordon Walker is introduced as a hunter who has seemingly no conscience when it comes to killing monsters. He has generalized throughout the experiences of his life that all monsters are evil, and therefore deserve to be killed. Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, and Gordon Walker discover a nest of vampires who have been killing and eating cattle in a small, back-country town. These vampires have sworn to not eat human flesh, and argue that they have the...

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