The X-Files and Philosophy: The Truth Is in Here
Aah, but this show, one of the first big serial paranormal dramas, shaped a large chunk of my teenage years. I’ve always loved the unknown, the unexplained, the unusual. There’s a great deal of philosophy embedded in The X-Files, to be sure. The X-Files and Philosophy digs down to expose this philosophy, leaving plenty of food for thought for the novice and the devout X-phile alike.
There are ten different sections, each centering around broad topics such as science versus the fringe, conspiracy theories, elusive truth, ethical conundrums, and the nature of belief, among others.
Many of these topics have always fascinated me, especially the fluid nature of “truth” versus the rigidity of belief, despite the fact that there is no such thing as a true belief. Beliefs are subjective, shaped by our perceptions, yet, once set, they can be difficult to shift, even when confronted with contradictory truth.
Some of my favorites essays include: “Mulder’s Metaphysics,” which takes a look at various perceptions of metaphysics, placing value on a pluralistic view that can encompass the material world and the immaterial. (For the record, I share Mulder’s ontological pluralism view.) “Five Ways of Being a Monster,” which explores how not all monsters are cryptids or creatures of the night. Plenty of human monsters walk among us today. Some are skillfully hidden, while others easily give themselves away. The other four categories of monster are mutants, cryptids, unknown species, and supernatural beasties. (I love the fact this philosopher used the term “cray-cray.”) A final favorite was “I Want to Believe….and That’s the Problem,” which looks at the nature of belief and how we arrive at our beliefs. Mulder is a xenophiliac and will jump to the more extreme conclusions first. Scully is the cautious believer. She seeks mundane explanations first but is willing to shift beliefs with sufficient evidence.
I could go on. There are many great essays here! Highly recommended for any who love The X-Files.
Robert Arp, Editor