“I think, therefore I ask.”

Movies, music, television shows, video games, books—the elements of pop culture are all around us. These are often seen as just pastimes, with the goal being to enjoy ourselves or escape reality for a while. In the best instances, however, they can do more than this. They display beautiful craftsmanship. They move us. They form community as we experience them together and talk about them. Popular culture is a major way that we as a society come together, express ourselves artistically, and tell the stories that matter to us.

Given this importance, it is worth asking a few questions. What messages is pop culture sending, and how is it sending them? What do we think about the ideas we find embedded in pop culture, and are we even aware that those ideas are there? What distinguishes a profound artistic creation from mere escapism? We invite high-school-aged students to join us for Young Philosophers in 2023-2024, as we examine some prominent examples of pop culture and discuss their artistry, ideas, and significance. (And if you enjoy yourself in the process, that’s just fine!)