Star Wars philosophy course to launch at Glasgow University

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Fans of Star Wars know the hugely successful film franchise is about more than spaceships, lightsabers and death stars.

But aficionados of George Lucas’ epic tale now have a chance to explore its philosophical underpinnings.

Star Wars fans can learn about the film franchise's links with philosophy at a Scottish university. Picture: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Star Wars fans can learn about the film franchise's links with philosophy at a Scottish university. Picture: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

The University of Glasgow will launch - on May 4, appropriately - an open access course entitled “Destiny, Justice and the Metaphysics of the Force” with the aim of discussing some of the deeper questions the films pose.

“The course is organised around a central theme found in the Star Wars universe,” said course organiser Dr John Donaldson.

“There are all these characters in the Star Wars universe, some of them we deem to be good, some of them bad, but their lives seem to be governed to a large extent by the Force. It directs their future, their destiny.

“And that creates an interesting philosophical puzzle. On the one hand, we want to judge these characters morally, but on the other hand we seem to recognise that their actions are not entirely free.

“That allows us to introduce philosophical questions about free will and its link to moral responsibilty.”

The one-day event is open to members of the public, with booking details available via the university’s website.

Donaldson, a Star Wars fan since childhood, is expecting strong public interest in the course.

“I grew up in the Star Wars universe, like I think most people have to a lesser or greater degree,” he added.

The film franchise launched in 1977 with the release of Star Wars, subsequently subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope.

The series has since generated more than $7 billion in box office revenues around the world.

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