LEGO and Philosophy: Constructing Reality Brick By Brick

Author(s): William Irwin

Critical Thinking

How profound is a little plastic building block? It turns out the answer is “very”! 22 chapters explore philosophy through the world of LEGO which encompasses the iconic brick itself as well as the animated televisions shows, feature films, a vibrant adult fan base with over a dozen yearly conventions, an educational robotics program, an award winning series of videogames, hundreds of books, magazines, and comics, a team-building workshop program for businesses and much, much more.



  • Dives into the many philosophical ideas raised by LEGO bricks and the global multimedia phenomenon they have created

  • Tackles metaphysical, logical, moral, and conceptual issues in a series of fascinating and stimulating essays

  • Introduces key areas of philosophy through topics such as creativity and play, conformity and autonomy, consumption and culture, authenticity and identity, architecture, mathematics, intellectual property, business and environmental ethics

  • Written by a global group of esteemed philosophers and LEGO fans

  • A lively philosophical discussion of bricks, minifigures, and the LEGO world that will appeal to LEGO fans and armchair philosophers alike

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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.

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

General Fields

  • : 9781119193975
  • : John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • : John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • : August 2017
  • : 22.40 cmmm X 14.70 cmmm X 1.50 cmmm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : en
  • : 688.725
  • : 256
  • : William Irwin
  • : Paperback