Zombies and Philosophy


I am the first to admit that I often think of the strangest things when I’m in the bath. Like how zombism works. We all know that if a zombie bites you, you then become a zombie; it’s a bit like vampirism in that respect, and I suppose the analysis I indulged in this morning will apply equally to that. I hadn’t thought of that at the time; for whatever reason I was more interested in zombies. Perhaps it was the sight of His Lordship half asleep that did it.

Anyway, what I was pondering was this. If you kill a zombie, and then eat the zombie (a) do you turn into a zombie and (b) is it cannibalism to eat a zombie?

Yes, my mind definitely goes off on tangents most other people steer well clear of. And having done a very brief straw poll, it seems that the answer to the first is “no” and the other is “probably not”. Although the reasoning for both was exceedingly convoluted and depended a bit on whether or not one watches The Walking Dead.

That said, this does raise an interesting and important philosophical question – just what makes us human? Why would it be obvious that a zombie (or a vampire, since we’re extending the analysis) isn’t really human? It seems that having died (as both zombies and vampires have to die for the changes to take effect) they lose the essential something that renders them human – and since cannibalism is like eating like, a human eating a zombie cannot be cannibalism.

As to whether or not eating a zombie will turn you into a zombie, it seems that the key element is in the saliva (unless you watch The Walking Dead, where a whole different virus applies) – so as long as you steer clear of the zombie’s saliva, you should be all right.

I’m wondering now if random questions like this might interest a younger generation in some of the key elements of philosophy. I know many philosophy professors have used The Matrix to illustrate concepts of reality and I suppose this is just another part of that. I’d be interested to hear what other people have to say on the subject. Meanwhile, I’ve been told to have showers for a while – until my brain settles down a bit…