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LEGO and Philosophy


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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors ix Introduction: Play Well, Philosophize Well! 1 Sondra Bacharach and Roy T. Cook Part I LEGO (R) and Creativity 5 1 Constructing Creativity 7 Mary Beth Willard 2 Building Blocks of Thought: LEGO (R) and the Philosophy of Play 17 Tyler Shores 3 LEGO (R) Formalism in Architecture 27 Saul Fisher 4 "That Was My Idea!": LEGO (R) Ideas and Intellectual Property 39 Michael Gettings Part II LEGO (R), Ethics, and Rules 49 5 "You Know the Rules!" What's Wrong with The Man Upstairs? 51 Jon Robson 6 Searching for "The Special": The LEGO (R) Movie and the Value of (LEGO (R)) Persons 59 Alexander Quanbeck 7 LEGO (R) and the Social Blocks of Autonomy 69 Eric Chelstrom 8 Building and Dwelling with Heidegger and LEGO (R) Toys 79 Ellen Miller Part III LEGO (R) and Identity 89 9 Ninjas, Kobe Bryant, and Yellow Plastic: The LEGO (R) Minifigure and Race 91 Roy T. Cook 10 Girl, LEGO (R) Friends is not your Friend! Does LEGO (R) Construct Gender Stereotypes? 103 Rebecca Gutwald 11 Representation in Plastic and Marketing: The Significance of the LEGO (R) Women Scientists 113 Rhiannon Grant and Ruth Wainman 12 Real Signature Figures: LEGO (R) Minifigures and the Human Individual 123 Robert M. Mentyka Part IV LEGO (R), Consumption, and Culture 133 13 LEGO (R) Values: Image and Reality 135 Sondra Bacharach and Ramon Das 14 Small Farms, Big Ideas: LEGO (R) Farm and Agricultural Idealism 145 Craig Van Pelt 15 The Reality of LEGO (R): Building the Apocalypse 153 David Lueth 16 The American Archipelago: Touring the Nation at Miniland USA 163 Samantha J. Boardman Part V LEGO (R), Metaphysics, and Math 173 17 The Brick, the Plate, and the Uncarved Block: LEGO (R) as an Expression of Dao 175 Steve Bein 18 LEGO (R), Impermanence, and Buddhism 185 David Kahn 19 LEGO (R) and the Building Blocks of Metaphysics 197 Stephan Leuenberger 20 What Can You Build? 207 Bob Fischer 21 Playing with LEGO (R) and Proving Theorems 217 Fenner Tanswell Glossary 227 Alice Leber-Cook and Roy T. Cook Index 233

About the Author

Roy T. Cook is CLA Scholar of the College and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Resident Fellow at the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science. He is the author of Paradoxes (Polity, 2013) and The Yablo Paradox (2014), the editor of The Arche Papers on the Mathematics of Abstraction (2007), and co-editor of The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley Blackwell, 2012) and The Routledge Companion to Comics (2016). No matter how much LEGO he buys, he never seems to have enough headlight bricks. Sondra Bacharach is Senior Lecturer in the philosophy department at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She works in philosophy of art and philosophy for children. She is co-editor of Collaborating Now: Art in the Twenty-first Century (2016) and is the former co-editor of the American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter. When she's not doing philosophy, she can be found building Classic Spaceships (Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!) with her kids' big box of LEGO.


"It's not just another brick in the toy chest" - The Star Tribune.

"[LEGO and Philosophy] sets the stage for building future debates. If you have even the slightest inkling that something serious is going on in the LEGO world, something positive and potentially culturally transformative, then these collected essays provide no better starting place to start your own thinking about this." - New Elementary.

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