Philosophy on Television: The Good Place

Six unlikely friends, romance, snappy, funny dialogue, and… loads of philosophy. The Good Place has an unusual combination of elements for network television, but the situation comedy makes an excellent entry point for theoretical ethics. The show’s guiding concern is the nature of good and evil — on both a human and cosmic scale. Its continuously developed story-line revolves around the constituent ingredients of ethical decision-making, ethical agency, and the good life. The results are entertaining and thought-provoking, for every episode tackles consequential normative questions with sly, good humour and without being preachy. The show is very well informed about recent and historical ethical theory; this is due, no doubt, to the fact that philosophers Todd May and Pamela Hieronymi were advisors. Jeremy Adam Smith makes a case for watching season 1.

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