December 28, 2019

The study of philosophy has been known to tax students’ brains. But the subject has never been associated with eating anyone’s brain. That is until now.

Bryan Hall, Ph.D., dean of the Denver’s Regis University College of Contemporary Liberal Studies, has united zombies and philosophy in his book, “An Ethical Guidebook to the Zombie Apocalypse: How to Keep Your Brain without Losing Your Heart.” Published this month, it is part graphic novel, part short story collection – and is all about what the study of philosophy can tell us about age-old, moral dilemmas.

The difference is that in this book, those dilemmas are zombie-wrought. When your community is attached by zombies, how do you choose whom to save if you can’t save everyone? Is it OK to sacrifice one victim to the undead horde to save more people?

Hall, a former professor of philosophy at St. John’s University in New York City, who joined Regis in January, said his hope is that the book will attract people who don’t ordinarily read about philosophy. “It’s hard to get people engaged in philosophy through the ways it’s traditionally been presented,” he said.

While the book’s concept may raise eyebrows among the more rigid members of the philosophy community, zombies and philosophy are a natural pairing for Hall. He’s a longtime horror fan and he may be the only scholar of the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant to speak at Denver Pop Culture Con, formerly known as Denver ComicCon.

At ComicCon Hall participated in a panel on how pop culture can raise issues rooted in philosophy. Hall said ComicCon was another way to bring consideration of ethics and morality to a wider audience.

But Hall isn’t after shock value. His goal is to inspire serious examination of how to live ethically, and how moral values guide us in a complex world. How better to get readers’ attention than with zombies? “Philosophy, I think, has tremendous power to do good in the world.” Hall said.

Sometimes, though, it needs a little help from zombies.

(Reproduced from REGIS University Magazine, Karen Auge, Editor. “An Ethical Guidebook to the Zombie Apocalypse: How to Keep Your Brain Without Losing Your Heart” is available from Amazon Books).