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Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Philosophy of Alice in Wonderland




The Philosophy of Alice in Wonderland 
The famous children's novel "Alice in Wonderland" is not your average children's book. This imaginative story was written by author, logician, mathematician, and photographer Lewis Carrol in 1865. "Alice" isn't your typical fairy tale love story with a happily ever after type ending. Instead, this book is about the colorful adventures of a brave little girl who has "fallen down the rabbit hole" and must use her wits to help her get back out. Alice in Wonderland covers many philosophical topics such as psychedelics, reality versus dreaming, the logical and illogical, the impossible, and proper gender roles. 
Drugs and Reality

Alice brings into play the questioning of reality. The certain amount of skepticism that what we perceive as reality or normal 
experience isn’t. Plato and Chou also ask this question of dreaming vs reality. How do we know if we are dreaming ourselves at this moment because we aren’t aware of one state or the other? Alice experiences almost the same dialogue Plato created, with the cat telling her she is mad, but unlike us she doesn’t know she’s dreaming and denies that she is mad because she’s unaware of the state she is in. Some philosophers believe that drugs can actually enhance and bring us to see the true world around us. With us only hearing and seeing a limited amount of spectrum in the world around us, drugs allow us to see the world as it truly is through mystical experiences.
(Whitney Ingle)
Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

The focus in this section of the book is the possibility of the impossible. Alice focuses on trying to make sense of things that are not meant to make sense. The terms logical and illogical are nonexistent in Wonderland. Instead, the lack of logic continues to peak the curiosity of Alice as she consumes the mushrooms that keep her small. The things that Alice sees walking through Wonderland encountering things she judges as only impossible. “There are, however, many other things that we improperly judge to be impossible for no other reason than that they don’t conform to our established ideas about how the world normally goes, things that fall into the category that the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) labeled matters of fact. Matters of fact constitute one of two categories into which Hume sorted the things about which people make enquiries and exercise their reason.”
(Elsbeth Embretson)
Gender Roles

The female leads in most fairy tales follow similar gender stereotyped patterns. These characters are usually a damsel in distress waiting for a man to save her. The dainty damsel is usually a victim of some kind of cruel life circumstance that she is powerless to and unable to change on her own. The heroine Alice is a completely different kind of female character. Alice stands up for herself, takes charge, and doesn’t need a man or even an adult to save her. The questions concerning gender roles in Carol's "Alice" are questions that have long been debated by philosophers throughout the years. It is a common opinion especially among ancient philosophers, that women are the weaker of the sex and have a certain place in society as wives, mothers, and helpmates. Carol's heroine challenges these outdated feminine roles, and celebrates feminine strength, freedom, and capability. 
(Morgan Massey)

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