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Book Review: The Rolling Stones and Philosophy: It’s Just a Thought Away

The Rolling Stones and Philosophy: It’s Just a Thought Away
Luke Dick and George A. Reisch (Editors)
[Open Court Press (2011)]

Mick Jagger having tea with John Stuart Mill? Keith Richards jamming with Descartes? The Rolling Stones have been called many things over the years, but they have, rarely, if ever, been viewed as philosophers – until now. This compendium volume contains 22 essays by a heavily degreed batch of philosophy academics dealing with polemics concerning the self proclaimed “Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.”

The seeming novelty of this subject is tempered somewhat by this being #64 in a long series entitled Popular Culture and Philosophy which has delved into the philosophical implications of such weighty subjects as Doctor Who, Seinfeld, Harry Potter, and World of Warcraft, not to mention other musical groups such as Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and, inevitably, the Beatles. It’s a fun read, with the contributors grappling with such weighty issues as whether the Stones are evil (and their alleged connections with Satan), the Zen of being Keith Richards, the political stances taken by the band’s songs, and the debate, still raging after five decades, of whether the Stones or the Beatles are the better band. Most of the essays are entertaining, and all offer insights into this enduring band of misfits.

—Michael Parrish (San Jose, CA)

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