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November 06 , 2010

Cowboy Metaphysics

Ethics and Death in Westerns


For many of us, the image of the cowboy hero facing off against the villain dominates our memories of the movies. Peter French examines the world of the western, one in which death is annihilation, the culmination of life, and there is nothing else. In that world he finds alternatives to Judeo-Christian traditions that dominate our ethical theories, alternatives that also attack the views of the most prominent ethicists of the past three centuries. More than just a meditation on the portrayal of the good, the bad, and the ugly on the big screen, French's work identifies an attitude toward life that he claims is one of the most distinctive and enduring elements of American culture.

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