Breaking Bad: Pop Culture and Philosophy

The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)

Teresa Bosch

Professor, Austral University, Argentina


This video essay explores the convergences between the long running television series, Breaking Bad, and the continental philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Unlike the traditional television character that rarely, if ever, changes, Breaking Bad is about the process of change. Each scene depicts the gradual transformation of the lead character, Walter White, as he becomes his alter ego, Heisenberg, the very embodiment of the uncertainty principle. Ultimately, I suggest, popular culture seeks explanations to the same philosophical struggles we confront daily: love, betrayal, passion and death.

The video covers much of the conceptual territory found in my print essay, “Pop Culture and Philosophy: Heisenberg & Heidegger,” written during a visiting fellowship at the University of Southern California.



Bosch, Teresa. “Pop Culture and Philosophy: Heisenberg & Heidegger,” unpublished essay, 2016.

Breaking Bad, AMC. 2008-2013.

Heidegger, Martin. Sein und Zeit, Germany. Being and Time, SCM Press, State University of New York Press, Harper Collins, 1927.

Simpson, Craig. “A Philosophical Take on the AMC Series: Heidegger would have been a fan of Breaking Bad,” Indiewire, 2013.

Koepsell, David and Robert Arp, editors, Breaking Bad and Philosophy: Badder Living through Chemistry, Open Court Press, 2012.


The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)