Lost and Philosophy: The Island Has Its Reasons

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Lost and Philosophy: The Island Has Its Reasons
Sharon Kaye, ed.
Blackwell Publishing
Publish Date
November 27, 2007

Lost and Philosophy is a collection of 21 short essays, separated into 4 chapters covering the subjects of Love, Origin, Survival and Transformation.

Publisher's summary

"When Flight 815 crashes on a remote tropical island, it gets stuck in a philosophical quagmire. Survivors band together to guard against surreal dangers, but who will guard the guardians? Thrust into the state of nature, our scantily clad and well-tanned heroes learn that they were lost long before the crash. Watching them wrestle their demons, you may realize you're lost too. Locke, Rousseau, Hume. Who are these people?

"Sometimes it feels like you need a Ph.D. to follow the show. But you don't. You just need this book in which twenty-one philosophers explore the deep questions we all face as survivors on this planet: Does 'everything happen for a reason'? Is torture ever justified? Who are the Others? How do we know we're not patients in Hurley's psych ward? What if the Dharma Initiative is experimenting on us? Desmond may not be able to save Charlie, but this book could save you."


Part I: L is for Love

  • What Do Jack and Locke Owe their Fathers?: Michael W. Austin (Eastern Kentucky University)
  • Saving Walt: Frameworks for Evaluating Action: Rebecca Vartabedian (Metropolitan State College of Denver)
  • Moral Stand-offs: Objectification on Lost: Robert Arp (Southwest Minnesota State University) and Patricia Brace (Southwest Minnesota State University)
  • Research Ethics and the Dharma Initiative: Deborah R. Barnbaum (Kent State University)
  • The Island of Ethical Subjectivism: Not the Paradise of Lost: George Wrisley (University of Iowa)

Part II: O is for Origin

  • Meaning and Freedom on the Island: Sander Lee (Keene State College)
  • What Would You Do?: Altered States in Lost: Charles Taliaferro (St. Olaf College) and Dan Kastrul (Chez Nous, Inc.)
  • Reinvention and Second Nature in Lost: Charles Girard (Universite Paris 1) and David Meulemans (Aix Marseille Universite)
  • Lost, The Third Policeman, and Guerilla Ontology: Jessica Engelking (University of Iowa)
  • Lost in Codes: Interpretation and Deconstruction in Lost's Narrative: Tom Grimwood (Lancaster University)

Part III: S is for Survival

  • No Exit …from the Island: A Sartrean Analysis of Lost: Sandra Bonetto (University College Dublin)
  • "The Others Are Coming": Ideology and Otherness in Lost: Karen Gaffney (Raritan Valley Community College)
  • Tortured Souls: Scott Parker (Portland State University)
  • Friends and Enemies in the State of Nature: The Absence of Hobbes and the Presence of Schmitt?: Peter S. Fosl (Transylvania University)
  • Lost's State of Nature: Richard Davies (University of Bergamo)
  • From Daniel Defoe to J.J. Abrams: Lost and Island Survivor Fiction: Paul Heyer (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Part IV: T is for Transformation

  • The Tao of John Locke: Shai Biderman (Boston University) and William Devlin (Boston University)
  • Of Moths and Men: Paths of Redemption on the Island of Second Chances: Brett Chandler Patterson (Anderson University)
  • Everything Happens for a Reason: David Werther (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • "Don't mistake coincidence for fate": Lost Theories and Coincidence: Briony Addey (University of Bristol)
  • Aquinas and Rose on Faith and Reason: Daniel B. Gallagher (Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
  • Lost and the Problem of Life after Birth: Jeremy Barris (Marshall University)


  • The book uses Lostpedia as a source.
  • The book is 288 pages long.
  • The editor is Sharon Kaye, a Associate Professor of Philosophy at John Carroll University.
  • Polish translation was released on September 22, 2010 - six years after "Pilot, Part 1" was aired on ABC.
  • Polish title is "Lost: Zagubieni i Filozofia. Mroczna Strona Wyspy" ("Lost and Philosophy. The Dark Side of the Island").

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