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May the force be with the students as Glasgow University hosts Star Wars course

University of Glasgow (iStock)
University of Glasgow (iStock)

A university is to host a course in the philosophy of Star Wars.

Glasgow University is offering the one-day course looking at the Star Wars universe in which The Force governs all and directs the destiny of individuals and civilisations.

It will examine how free a person’s actions really are and how morally responsible they can be held for what they do.

The event, held appropriately on May 4, will also question the relationship between a fixed future, freewill and moral praise or blame against the backdrop of George Lucas’s story-lines.

Dr John Donaldson, who previously ran a course which examined the virtues of Homer Simpson, said he hopes it will be popular with fans of the franchise and those new to the film series.

He said: “The course is an open access course and doesn’t carry any certification.

“It’s organised around a theme that’s based on the characteristic of a Star Wars universe.

“We are looking at what the consequences would be if we accept the philosophy of Star Wars.

“We’ll be asking how we can legitimately tell if the characters are good or bad if they are being governed by a force.”

Dr Donaldson, philosophy tutor at the university, will also be discussing the elements such as freewill and the impact it would have on characters’ decisions and actions.

The aim of the course, he said, is to provide philosophical interpretation of something contemporary which would not normally be looked at using philosophy.

Around 25 people are expected to attend the course on May 4, with another date scheduled on May 6.

He added: “We will hopefully get a mix of people attending. It’s not designed to be a Star Wars convention and it’s certainly not the case that you need to be a Star Wars nerd to take part.

“In general we would like people to pursue further philosophical inquiry.

“The course is really about philosophy dressed in Star Wars clothes.”