Philosophy and Breaking Bad

  • Kevin S. Decker
  • David R. Koepsell
  • Robert Arp

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. “We Tried to Poison You”: Breaking Evil

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Karen Adkins
      Pages 17-34
    3. Charlene Elsby, Rob Luzecky
      Pages 35-44
  3. “I Am the One Who Knocks”: The Shadow of Death and the Meaning of Life

  4. “I Will Put You Under the Jail”: The Tragedy of Breaking Bad

  5. “I Did It for Me”: Morality, Mastery and Meth

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 141-141
    2. James Edwin Mahon, Joseph Mahon
      Pages 143-160
    3. Travis Dyk, Adam Barkman
      Pages 161-173
  6. Becoming Jesse James: Breaking Bad’s Challenge to Philosophy

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 249-266

About this book


This volume considers the numerous philosophical ideas and arguments found in and inspired by the critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad. This show garnered both critical and popular attention for its portrayal of a cancer-stricken, middle-aged, middle-class, high school chemistry teacher’s drift into the dark world of selling methamphetamine to support his family. Its characters, situations, and aesthetic raise serious and familiar philosophical issues, especially related to ethics and morality. The show provokes a bevy of rich questions and discussion points, such as: What are the ethical issues surrounding drugs? What lessons about existentialism and fatalism does the show present? How does the show grapple with the concept of the end ‘justifying’ the means? Is Walt really free not to ‘break bad’? Can he be redeemed? What is the definition and nature of badness (or evil) itself? Contributors address these and other questions as they dissect the legacy of the show and discuss its contributions to philosophical conversations.


Breaking Bad Walter White Sickness Unto Death I am the One Who Knocks Jesse Pinkman Moral philosophy Ethics Popular culture

Editors and affiliations

  • Kevin S. Decker
    • 1
  • David R. Koepsell
    • 2
  • Robert Arp
    • 3
  1. 1.Eastern Washington UniversityCheneyUSA
  2. 2.Comision Nacional de BioeticaMexico
  3. 3.Independent ScholarOverland ParkUSA

Bibliographic information