Glasgow & West Scotland

University of Glasgow offers Star Wars philosophy course

Cast of Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back Image copyright Lucas Films
Image caption Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher starred in the original Star Wars films

Forget lightsabers and spaceships, a new university course has been set up to explore the deeper meanings of George Lucas's Star Wars films.

And students won't have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to take part in the short philosophy course.

The day-long open access course is being run by the University of Glasgow.

Star Wars and Philosophy: Destiny, Justice and the Metaphysics of the Force will be held on 4 May - the date recognised as Star Wars day by fans.

It will examine how far people can be responsible for their own actions when their destiny is governed by "the force".

Philosophy teacher John Donaldson will introduce concepts of free will and moral responsibility against the backdrop of the epic space drama.

The lifelong Star Wars fan said the course had been designed to broaden the appeal of philosophy.

Philosophical ideas

It is part of a range of courses that are open to the general public but do not carry degree credits.

Dr Donaldson said: "It's a way of making philosophy more accessible. It's an unfortunate fact that philosophy tends to be hidden away in universities.

"You don't get programmes about philosophy on TV for example, which you do about other academic subjects.

"You don't tend to get books that deal with philosophical ideas. It's not that accessible.

"We hope it will engage people and encourage them to take philosophy further."

He said the university had previously ran courses exploring the philosophical questions raised by The Sopranos, The Wire and The Simpsons.

The first Star Wars film, starring Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, was released in 1977.

The franchise has been a huge commercial success, with a combined worldwide box office revenue of $7.4bn (£5.9bn).

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