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The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer is a non-fiction book analyzing the philosophy and popular culture effects of the American animated sitcom, The Simpsons, published by Open Court. The book is edited by William Irwin, Mark T. Conard and Aeon J. Skoble, each of whom also wrote one of the eighteen essays in the book.[1]

The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer
The Doh of Homer.jpg
Book cover
AuthorWilliam Irwin, Mark T. Conard, Aeon J. Skoble
IllustratorJoan Sommers Design
CountryUnited States
SeriesPopular Culture and Philosophy (Vol. 2)
SubjectPhilosophy, The Simpsons
PublisherOpen Court
Publication date
February 28, 2001
Preceded bySeinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing 
Followed byThe Matrix and Philosophy 

The book was released on February 28, 2001, as the second volume of Open Court Publishing's Popular Culture and Philosophy series, which currently includes eighty books.[2] The book has gone on to be extremely successful, both in sales and critically, and is also used as a main text in various universities with philosophy courses.


The book includes contributions from eighteen academics in the field of philosophy. Topics included are comparisons of the characters in the show, such as Homer Simpson and Aristotle, or Bart Simpson and Friedrich Nietzsche.[3] The book brings up topics such as why Homer's appeal is universal by arguing that he speaks to fundamental conflicts about what gives human pleasure.[4]

Other topics include the manner in which the show makes philosophical statements, and its opinions on sexuality in politics.[5] Religion is also discussed in the book, such as the guilt Homer feels for not going to church, or Ned Flanders experiencing tragedies, despite following the Bible closely.[6]


The book was highly successful, selling over 203,000 copies, making it the best selling book in the Open Court Publishing's Popular Culture and Philosophy series.[7] The book was also critically successful, highlighting the philosophical themes that the book was able to make with The Simpsons,[8] such as Booklist, who wrote, "[...]these pieces make erudite concepts accessible by viewing things through the lens of a great cartoon series,"[3] or Publishers Weekly who wrote, "Fans of The Simpsons are certain to find this book to be the perfect rebuttal for those who dismiss the show as a no-brainer."[5]

At Siena Heights University a course titled "Animated Philosophy and Religion" uses the book as one of the main texts in order to help teach philosophy.[9][10][11] The book has been praised for being able to make connections to philosophical studies and to youth, by using popular culture.[12] The professors who use the book say the book "helps draw people to philosophy."[13] A course titled "Simpsons and Philosophy", devoted entirely to the show & philosophy, is offered at the University of California, Berkeley[14] as part of the university's controversial DeCal program in which students take courses taught by their peers.[15]

Steve Carroll of The Age criticized the book and others like it for watering down philosophical content while making tenuous connections with popular themes in order to maximize appeal to consumers.[16] The book was satirized in an article titled "The 'Popular Culture and Philosophy' Books and Philosophy: Philosophy, You’ve Officially Been Pimped", in the online journal Flow TV.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Irwin, William; Conard, Mark; Skoble, Aeon, eds. (February 28, 2001). The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer. Blackwell Publishing (The Blackwell Philosophy & Pop Culture Series). ISBN 0-8126-9433-3.
  2. ^ "Popular Culture and Philosophy series" Retrieved on November 28, 2007
  3. ^ a b Green, John (April 15, 2001). "The Simpsons and Philosophy: the D'oh of Homer. Review". Booklist. American Library Association. 97 (16): Page 1524. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  4. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (June 30, 2007). "Weekend: EMBIGGENING THE SMALLEST MAN: There are few places on the planet where the influence of five bright yellow, boggle-eyed residents of Springfield has yet to be felt, and there will be fewer still with the long-awaited arrival of the first Simpsons movie". The Guardian. Guardian Newspapers Limited. pp. Page 22.
  5. ^ a b Staff (March 12, 2001). "The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer, Review". Publishers Weekly. Cahners Business Information, Inc. 248 (11): Page 72. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  6. ^ Justin, Neal (May 20, 2007). "Homer's odyssey; Can an 18-year-old sitcom still pack enough punch to be successful on the big screen? Doh!". Star Tribune. pp. Page 01F.
  7. ^ Bernstein, David (April 13, 2004). "Philosophy Hitches a Ride With 'The Sopranos'". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  8. ^ Logerfo, Laura (October 26, 2001). "Author mixes Simpsons, Brecht". The Michigan Daily. University of Michigan. Archived from the original on December 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  9. ^ Staff (December 17, 2001). "'Simpsons' Philosophy Prof Turns 'Toon Raider". New York Post. pp. Page 09.
  10. ^ Staff (December 15, 2001). "D'oh! University offers 'Simpsons' studies". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  11. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (May 1, 2002). "Homer's last stand". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  12. ^ Staff (September 17, 2001). "Books ponder the world according to Homer and Jerry". St. Petersburg Times. pp. Page 7D.
  13. ^ "Bart joins Homer on philosophy course". The News Letter. December 18, 2001. pp. Page 3.
  14. ^ McManis, Sam (March 16, 2003). "Homer's odyssey: Berkeley course uses 'The Simpsons' to discuss philosophy". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  15. ^ Jennifer Case, "Spring could bring student-taught classes", Daily Bruin, 21 January 2004, accessed 22 October 2008.
  16. ^ Steve Carroll, "You ain't nothin' but an existential hound dog", The Age, 4 September 2004, accessed May 31, 2008.
  17. ^ Brian Ott, Flow, Vol. 3 No. 3, 7 October 2005, accessed June 1, 2008. The “Popular Culture and Philosophy” Books and Philosophy: Philosophy, You’ve Officially Been Pimped