Stan’s Future Self and Evil Cartman: Pop Culture Assignment

May 4, 2018 Philosophy

Future Self and Evil Cartman: Pop Culture Assignment By: Sachman Aul In the article Stan’s Future Self and Evil Cartman, Shai Biderman’s purpose of writing this article is to explain the idea of personal identity in South Park. This part of the book is targeted towards anyone who is studying or learning philosophy due to the fact that Shai explores the views of many philosophers that you have to know to understand his point that he is trying to make in this chapter. Biderman uses South Park as a clever way to get the attention of new readers, or teenagers.

Therefore, the article allows people to read on philosopher’s theories on personal identity, in such a way to target and adult audience. Shai’s argument in this chapter is that South Park contains the questions and answers of many of the most asked philosophic question: what makes us, us? In order for Shai to support his argument, he uses several philosophers’ views such as John Locke, David Hume and lastly Thomas Reid. At the start of the article, readers begin exploring Shai Bidermans argument on personal identity, and how many episodes of South Park are discussed where personal identity comes into question.

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For instance, the retelling of stories on the bus, Stan meets his alleged future self and when the boys find an alternate Cartman which deals with being in the same place at the same time, Stan’s clone, Jenifer Lopez being Cartman’s hand, and Cartman drinking Kenny’s ashes. Biderman states that the most important thing in personal identity happens to the be brain, therefore people will soon enough change over time due to the changes of the brain. But in the episode “The Biggest Douche in the Universe,” Biderman explains how the actor Rob Schneider’s new film, changes his characters however is still portrayed as Rob Schneider himself.

David Hume states that each of us appear to be “a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement”. The concept behind Hume’s theory is that we all consist of feelings, consistently changing thoughts, and attitudes. In the article, it is quite clear that memory also plays its role in personal identity, and the change over time; therefore it is one’s memory that allows he or she to be the same “type” of person over time.

John Locke happened to support the idea of memory, and stated “thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places” (pg. 207). However, Thomas Reid seemed to point out a downfall in the idea of memory, it may be important, but it doesn’t explain the true purpose for personal identity (pg. 208). Shai Biderman states that overall the question of personal identity is still in place. But what truly is it? Is it a sense of psychological experiences over time or better yet, physical experiences?

It is without a doubt that this article tackled the arguments that were made by many supporting theories and the use of philosophers and other views. Therefore, it made it quite easy for any reader to get a general idea on the subject and the facts that were made related to pop culture, thus creating an interest for many. I truly believe that Shai Biderman’s arguments were definitely well supported with the evidence that was given, as well as the use of south park episodes to back up the argument.


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