Ockham Publishing

A Philosopher Reads...Marvel Comics' Civil War

A Philosopher Reads...Marvel Comics' Civil War: Exploring the Moral Judgment of Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man

Mark D. White

We love to see superheroes fight, whether to protect innocent people from supervillains or to save the world. But superheroes also fight each other, and if we can look past the energy blasts and earth-shattering punches, we can find serious disagreements over principles and ethics. This was certainly the case when Captain America and Iron Man went head-to-head over liberty and security in Marvel Comics’ epic Civil War storyline, a fictional allegory to post-9/11 America (as well as the basis for the third Captain America film).

In his characteristically light and humorous tone, White lays out the basic ethical foundations of each hero’s thinking and highlights the moral judgment each must use to put his ethics into action. But also how conflicting principles such as liberty and security must be balanced in the real world, lest both be lost.

Written in a style that will be easily accessible to everyone, A Philosopher Reads… Marvel Comics’ Civil War will be a fascinating read for diehard comic fans and philosophy buffs, as well as those looking for a simple introduction to philosophical ethics.


"White's engagement with these ideas is highly entertaining and illuminating, and he clearly adores the medium, delving into not just Civil War proper but the entire Marvel canon going back decades. ... As a comics fan using the medium to explore purely philosophical ideas... White is without peer."

Michael Dudley, Winnipeg Free Press