Could Superman Have Joined The Third Reich? The Importance and Shortcomings of Moral Upbringing

In Mark D. White (ed.), Superman and Philosophy. Wiley. pp. 37–46 (2013-03-11)
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Abstract

While Superman’s fantastic abilities make him the most powerful being on Earth, his upbringing on the Kents’ farm is what makes him a hero. Unfortunately, moral philosophy often understates the importance of such character. One popular approach to ethics, utilitarianism, asks us to act in ways that maximize the happiness or well‐being of all the people affected. We are not born with virtues (or vices), and this is critical for understanding Superman's heroic personality. The question of how Superman's upbringing would be affected by landing in another nation was explored in Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son (2004). Instead of truth, justice, and the American way, Hitler's Superman would value the totalitarian ideals of propaganda, obedience, and serving the führer. Imagine how some of the major events of World War II may have been different had Superman been involved with Hitler's cause.

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