Fuelling the Modern Man

Top university set to offer ‘Homer Simpson Philosophy’ course

Grab yourself a doughnut and enrol today!

Josh Butler
Published 17th November 2016

The University of Glasgow, ranked the eleventh best university in the UK by The Times, has announced this week that it is offering a new one-day course titled “D’oh! The Simpsons Introduce Philosophy” to members of the public who have an interest in philosophy.

Or, presumably, The Simpsons.

Conceived by Philosophy tutor Dr John Donaldson, the one-day course will run on the 14th and 21st of January 2017, and is already proving extremely popular. The university had to announce the first date is already sold out.

As to why Dr Donaldson is offering the course, he explained beer-swilling Homer was a “complex character” who was hard not to like, and is hoping the venture could encourage more people into the study of philosphy.


The course serves to invite students to examine whether Homer Simpson is a “virtuous” character by exploring his character through moments taken directly from the show.

As it stands, The Simpsons is the United States’ longest-running sitcom and longest-running animated programme, although its popularity has declined over the last decade thanks to the continued successes of South Park and Family Guy.

Dr Donaldson explained that the course seeks to examine Aristotle’s classic account of a virtuous character and compares it to Homer. The budding philosophers will then debate arguments for and against whether they consider Homer virtuous.

Dr John Donaldson of Glasgow University Philosophy department is teaching D'Oh, The Simpsons Introduce Philosophy, a course which examines the philosophy of the American cartoon. November 15, 2016. See Centre Press story CPSIMPSONS; A Scottish university has launched a new philosophy course based on the universally popular family cartoon The Simpsons. The course, called ëDíoh! The Simpsons Introduce Philosophyí will look at the long-running animated series to introduce students to philosophy. Students at the University of Glasgow will examine the often drink-induced ramblings of Homer Simpson alongside more traditional thinkers such as Aristotle, Socrates and Voltaire. It will be open to all comers but the £30 day-course is expected to be over-subscribed. Dr John Donaldson, a tutor of philosophy at the university, explained that the showís creator Matt Groening was a student of philosophy and that was evident in each episode.

Of the character of Homer Simpson, Donaldson added, “Homer is a very complex character in many ways.”

“He’s very gluttonous, he can be quite violent and self-interested. But at the same time he’s a character that’s hard not to like.

“He’s very popular. He has a childlike joy of life, he’s open to doing the right thing and he’s a faithful family man.”

With places on the course being snapped up, we can’t help but think the University of Glasgow are onto a winner here. Maybe they should think about expanding their pop-culture-based academic studies?

How about “Respect My Authoritah! – Is Eric Cartman the World’s Last Real Dictator?”or perhaps “”Lois, Why Don’t You Burn in Hell?” – Stewie Griffin and the Inverted Oedipus Complex”?