Thesis and Antithesis
In “A Toy’s Telos, Chapter 1,” I argued that the Toy Story trilogy presents a moral vision for what it means to be a toy, and I outlined the key tenets of this vision as they are embodied by Woody in his relationships with Andy and Buzz. Woody has a vertical telos: to be there for Andy. He also has a horizontal telos: to be there for Buzz and other toys so that they too can be there for Andy. But Toy Story, as a story, presents this moral vision through narrative, not exposition, and narratives require conflict and resolution. The films establish their moral vision through the challenges Woody faces as he seeks to live according to his telos. It is through Woody’s resilience in the midst of these challenges that the films vindicate the idea of a toy’s telos. Another way to put this is that Woody has a thesis, an argument. In each film, he is presented with an antithesis, a counter-argument. His ability to repudiate these objections are what prove the strength — and what is more, the goodness and beauty — of his argument.
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