Geek Gifts 2011: World of Warcraft and Philosophy: Wrath of the Philosopher King

Read whether avid WoW fan and player Wally Bahny thinks the book World of Warcraft and Philosophy is worth buying for the gamer on your shopping list.

As the 45th volume in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series from Open Court Publishing, World of Warcraft and Philosophy: Wrath of the Philosopher King continues the noble mission of bringing philosophy to the masses by explaining it in ways that can be understood; that is, via various forms and types of popular culture. World of Warcraft and Philosophy was edited by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger and features contributions by 26 philosophers and teachers of philosophy.

World of Warcraft and Philosophy is laid out in sections, each worth a certain amount of intellect points. Each section contains three to five essays. The sections are labeled as the various levels of profession skill in World of Warcraft: Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, Artisan, Master, and Grand Master. Each section deals with a different aspect of philosophy and, as such, a different aspect of World of Warcraft. While many of the essays are very interesting, I especially enjoyed "A Mage in Motion" -- an essay about movement as told from a World of Warcraft character's perspective -- and "Future Pasts of Magic and Deceit" -- an essay that discusses the Technological Singularity and considers whether Azeroth (the World in the World of Warcraft) was created by the Titans as a post-Singularity world and that their "magic" is really a manifestation of a sufficiently advanced technology (a reference to Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law).


  • Length: 252 pages
  • Cost: $13.57 paperback; $8.99 Kindle; $9.99 Nook
  • Additional contents: Table of Contents, introduction, contributor biographies, and keyword index

What I like

  • Easy to understand: Philosophy can be a difficult subject to wrap your brain around; this book is an easy introduction to the subject and builds as it goes.
  • World of Warcraft: As readers of my blog posts know, I'm an avid World of Warcraft fan and player (and member of Technologia, TechRepublic's unofficial official guild in the World of Warcraft).

What I don't like

  • Writing style: Some of the contributors' writing styles are rather dry, which can make for difficult reading.

Geek bottom line

As my Geek Gifts 2011 review of the Star Trek and Philosophy book indicated, this series is an excellent way for fans of various aspects of popular culture to begin learning about philosophy, and for philosophers to learn about aspects of popular culture they may not know about, such as WoW. This volume continues that mission and is a good addition to the Popular Culture and Philosophy series. I think any World of Warcraft fan would get a kick out of receiving this book (or a gift card to purchase the e-book version) as a gift.

Geek Gift Score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ***
  • Geek factor: *****
  • Value: *****
  • Overall: ****

For more reviews of tech gadgets, gizmos, games, and books, download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2011.