Film Theory

Edited by Clotilde Torregrossa (University of St. Andrews)
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  1. Noël Carroll, "Philosophy and the Moving Image.". [REVIEW]Clotilde Torregrossa - 2022 - Philosophy in Review 42 (4):4-7.
  2. Rebecca A. Sheehan (2020) American Avant-Garde Cinema's Philosophy of the In-Between.Giulia Rho - 2022 - Film-Philosophy 26 (1):98-101.
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  3. Time Metaphors in Film: Understanding the Representation of Time in Cinema.Silvana Dunat - 2022 - Film-Philosophy 26 (1):1-25.
    According to conceptual metaphor theory, there are two basic metaphorical models for conceptualising time in terms of space: the ego-moving model maps our movement through space onto our imagined movement through time, while the time-moving model represents time as an entity moving through spatial locations, the ego being just a passive observer. The aim of this article is to investigate how time is conceptualized in film where ego, movement, time and space also play basic roles. I compare the two linguistic (...)
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  4. The Cinema of Disorientation.Dominic Lash - 2020 - Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.
    Precisely, perhaps, because they are so immediately absorbing, narrative films can also be profoundly confusing and disorienting. This fascinating book neither proposes foolproof methods for avoiding confusion; nor does it suggest that disorientation is always a virtue. Instead it argues that the best way to come to terms with our confusion is to look closely at exactly what is confusing us, and why. At the heart of the book are original close readings of four important recent films: David Lynch's INLAND (...)
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  5. The Specter of the Electronic Screen: Bruno Varela's Reception of Stanley Cavell.Byron Davies - 2021 - In David LaRocca (ed.), Movies with Stanley Cavell in Mind. London, UK: pp. 72-90.
    An analysis of some work by the Oaxaca-based Mexican experimental filmmaker and video artist Bruno Varela via the latter’s reading of the late U.S. philosopher Stanley Cavell, especially Cavell’s 1982 essay “The Fact of Television.” This essay focuses on the aesthetic possibilities of the very constitution of the electronic image, based in Cavell’s understanding of television’s dependence on notions of “switching,” as opposed to “succession,” as well as how those notions play a role in Varela’s understanding of what it is (...)
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  6. Film as Phantasm: Dogville’s Cinematic Re-Evaluation of Values.Rebecca Longtin - 2019 - In The Films of Lars von Trier and Philosophy: Provocations and Engagements. London, UK: pp. 19 - 35.
    This paper interprets von Trier’s Dogville as a suspension of belief that provokes a re-evaluation of contemporary moral values. Reading Dogville through the Stoic concept of phantasms and Nietzsche’s perspectivism, I analyze the plot and visual techniques as revealing how we form, evaluate, and re-evaluate our beliefs based on changing impressions and shifting perspectives. The philosophy of the Stoics and Nietzsche and the visual techniques of Dogville demonstrate that the recognition of the artificiality of appearances serves a moral purpose by (...)
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  7. L'immagine-inazione. Lo spazio e il tempo nel passaggio dall'image-mouvement all'image-temps in Gilles Deleuze.Fabio Vergine - 2019 - In Enrico Giannetto (ed.), La memoria del cielo. Catania CT, Italia: pp. 1-18.
    Nella sua riflessione filosofica sull’immagine filmica Gilles Deleuze sembra aver tradotto nella maniera più immediata, ancorché insolubilmente problematica, la presenza di uno spazio e di un tempo che giocano il proprio ruolo su di una forma passiva di soggettività: è proprio ne L’image- mouvement, infatti, che Deleuze mostra come uno dei passaggi più proficui delle sue osservazioni sul cinema sia proprio la crisi di ciò che egli definisce immagine-azione, a favore, invece, di un’immagine-tempo, o situazione ottica e sonora pura. Per (...)
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  8. Introduction: Film Theory and Philosophy.Richard Allen & Murray Smith - 1997 - In Richard Allen & Murray Smith (eds.), Film Theory and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    The introduction discusses the influence of two kinds of philosophy to film theory. It describes and clarifies the characteristic methods and strategies of analytic philosophy and film theory, and continental philosophy and film theory. It is concerned with the description of methods, debates, and principles of analytic philosophy with reference to the contributions of philosophy to film theory. It informs and provides indication of issues, methods, and doctrines. It examines, criticizes, and defends the use of exponents of analytic and continental (...)
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  9. Plotinus and the Moving Image.Giannis Stamatellos & Thorsten Botz Bornstein (eds.) - 2017 - Brill.
    Plotinus and the Moving Image offers the first philosophical discussion on Plotinus' philosophy and film. It discusses Plotinian concepts like "the One" in a cinematic context and relates Plotinus' theory of time as a transitory intelligible movement of the soul to Bergson’s and Deleuze’s time-image. Film is a unique medium for a rapprochement of our modern consciousness with the thought of Plotinus. The Neoplatonic vestige is particularly worth exploring in the context of the newly emerging “Cinema of Contemplation.” Plotinus' search (...)
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  10. García Morcillo, Hanesworth and Lapeña Marchena Eds Imagining Ancient Cities in Film: From Babylon to Cinecittà . New York and London: Routledge, 2015. Pp. Vi + 329. £85. 9780415843973. [REVIEW]George Kovacs - 2016 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 136:306-307.
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  11. David Bordwell and Noël Carroll, Eds., Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies Reviewed By.Thomas E. Wartenberg - 1998 - Philosophy in Review 18 (2):85-87.
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  12. Critical Theory and Film: Rethinking Ideology Through Film Noir.Fabio Vighi - unknown
    Critical Theory and Film brings together critical theory and film to enhance the critical potential of both. The book focuses on the Frankfurt School, most notably the works of Adorno and Horkheimer, as well as associated thinkers. It seeks to demonstrate that cinema can help critical theory repoliticize culture and society and affirm the theoretical and political impact of cinematic knowledge. After discussing how the Frankfurt School saw cinema as an instrument of capitalism use to promote the cultural and political (...)
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  13. La imagen sometida: Ideología y contraideología de la representación visual en el cine digital y de animación latinoamericano.Samuel Viñolo Locuviche & Fernando Infante del Rosal - 2012 - Aisthesis 52:369-391.
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  14. An Economy of Annihilation, on Wheeler Winston Dixon's Visions of the Apocalypse: Spectacles of Destruction in American Culture.Daniel Herbert - 2005 - Film-Philosophy 9 (3).
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  15. Book Review:Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies. [REVIEW]ed Bordwell, David & Noël Carroll - 1997 - Philosophy and Literature 21 (2).
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Classical Film Theory
  1. Tony “Two-Toes”: The Pragmatics of Nicknames in Films.Kristina Šekrst - 2022 - Quarterly Review of Film and Video.
    Films frequently employ nicknames not only for villains but also for non-criminal characters. In this paper, I present a classification of nicknames used in films, along with various examples, mostly from crime-related films. I argue that the use of nicknames in films is important not for the sake of reference, but for the sake of an additional narrative told by the nickname as a shorthand description of a character's background (cf. Tony “Two-Toes”, “Dirty” Harry, “Doc” Erwin or “Hatchet” Harry Lonsdale). (...)
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  2. The Palgrave Handbook of the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures.Noël Carroll, Laura T. Di Summa & Shawn Loht (eds.) - 2019 - Springer.
    This handbook brings together essays in the philosophy of film and motion pictures from authorities across the spectrum. It boasts contributions from philosophers and film theorists alike, with many essays employing pluralist approaches to this interdisciplinary subject. Core areas treated include film ontology, film structure, psychology, authorship, narrative, and viewer emotion. Emerging areas of interest, including virtual reality, video games, and nonfictional and autobiographical film also have dedicated chapters. Other areas of focus include the film medium’s intersection with contemporary social (...)
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  3. Film as Art: 50th Anniversary Printing.Rudolf Arnheim - 1957 - University of California Press.
    In the fall of 1957 the University of California Press expanded Arnheim’s 1933 book _Film_ by four essays and brought that landmark work back into print as _Film as Art._ Now nearly fifty years after that re-edition, the book continues to occupy an important place in the literature of film. Arnheim’s method, provocative in this age of technological wizardry, was to focus on the way art in film was derived from that medium’s early limitations: no sound, no color, no three-dimensional (...)
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  4. Національно-культурна ідентичність у щоденникових записах Олександра Довженка.Olha Poliukhovych - 2018 - NaUKMA Researh Papers. Literary Studies 1:97-103.
    У статті проаналізовано конструювання національно-культурної ідентичності в щоденникових записах Олександра Довженка. Cтратегія автора засновується на постійному відтворенні фрагментів минулого життя в Україні, чутливості до страждання її народу та каятті за «Україну в огні». Майбутнє співвідноситься з радянською ідеологією, минуле – з національним, і ці дві категорії є паралельними у щоденниках митця. Минуле перетворюється на травматичний спогад, котрий не має шансів на становлення в майбутньому, оскільки він перекривається радянською ідеологією.
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  5. Кіно у творчості Василя Герасим’юка.Myroslav Laiuk - 2018 - NaUKMA Researh Papers. Literary Studies 1:70-73.
    У статті досліджено роль кіно у творчості Василя Герасим’юка. Простежено особливості використання кінематографічних прийомів, проаналізовано цитування кінокласики, розкрито значення постаті І. Миколайчука у текстах В. Герасим’юка. Розглянуто вплив «поетичного кіно» і особливо стрічки «Тіні забутих предків» на формування «карпатського тексту» поета.
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  6. Філософія кіно, метод моделювання та проблема декадентського кінотвору.Olga Kirillova - 2018 - NaUKMA Research Papers. History and Theory of Culture 1:17-23.
    Статтю присвячено реконструкції узагальненої моделі твору декадентського кінематографа як стилізованого кінематографа moderne, що є яскравим прикладом застосування філософської інтерпретації до кінематографа і феномену кінореальності. Ця модель має такі рівні: морфологічний, стилістичний, інтертекстуальний, ритмічний, аудіальний, тактильний, монтажний, специфічно-антропологічний і специфічно-наративний.
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  7. The ‘Good Form’ of Film: The Aesthetics of Continuity From Gestalt Psychology to Cognitive Film Theory.Maria Poulaki - 2018 - Gestalt Theory 40 (1):29-43.
    Summary This article questions certain assumptions concerning film form made by the recent psychological film research and compares them to those of precursors of film psychology like Hugo Münsterberg and Rudolf Arnheim, as well as the principles of Gestalt psychology. It is argued that principles of Gestalt psychology such as those of ‘good form’ and good continuation are still underlying the psychological research of film, becoming particularly apparent in its approach to continuity editing. Following an alternative Gestalt genealogy that links (...)
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  8. Conventions of Viewpoint Coherence in Film.Samuel Cumming, Gabriel Greenberg & Rory Kelly - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    This paper examines the interplay of semantics and pragmatics within the domain of film. Films are made up of individual shots strung together in sequences over time. Though each shot is disconnected from the next, combinations of shots still convey coherent stories that take place in continuous space and time. How is this possible? The semantic view of film holds that film coherence is achieved in part through a kind of film language, a set of conventions which govern the relationships (...)
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  9. The Evolution of the Language of Cinema.André Bazin - 2010 - In Marc Furstenau (ed.), The Film Theory Reader: Debates and Arguments. Routledge.
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  10. The Ontology of the Photographic Image.André Bazin - 1992 - In Marc Furstenau (ed.), The Film Theory Reader: Debates and Arguments. Routledge.
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Cognitive Film Theory
  1. Constructing Film Emotions: The Theory of Constructed Emotion as a Biocultural Framework for Cognitive Film Theory.Timothy Justus - 2022 - Projections 2 (16):74–101.
    In the classical view of emotion, the basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise) are assumed to be natural kinds that are perceiver-independent. Correspondingly, each is thought to possess a distinct neural and physiological signature, accompanied by an expression that is universally recognized despite differences in culture, era, and language. An alternative, the theory of constructed emotion, emphasizes that, while the underlying interoceptive sensations are biological, emotional concepts are learned, socially constructed categories, characterized by many-to-many relationships among diverse (...)
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  2. Dreams of Succulence: What is The Dark Knight About?Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    What is the film The Dark Knight about? Is it about sovereignty? I speculate that the opening scene is a dramatic reaction to a mundane event: an essay competition set by a bank which “goes wrong.”.
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  3. Why Philosophy of Language is Unreliable for Understanding Unreliable Filmic Narration.Marc Champagne - 2022 - Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 59 (2):43-50.
    A typical device in film is to have a character narrating what is going on, but this narration is not always a reliable guide to the events. According to Maier, distortions may be caused by the narrator’s intent, naivety, use of drugs, and/or cognitive disorder/illness. What is common to these various causes, he argues, is the presence of a point of view, which appears in a movie as shots. While this perspective-based account of unreliability covers most cases, I unpack its (...)
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  4. The Nature of Aesthetic Experience and the Role of the Sciences in Aesthetic Theorizing.Sherri Irvin - 2019 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 56 (1):100-109.
    Bence Nanay, in Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception, and Murray Smith, in Film, Art, and the Third Culture, have given us a pair of rich and interesting works about the relationships between aesthetics and the sciences of mind. Nanay’s work focuses on perception and attention, while Smith’s addresses the relations among experiential, psychological, and neuroscientific understandings of a wide range of aesthetically relevant phenomena, particularly as they occur in film. These books make a valuable contribution to a project that remains (...)
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  5. Remember the Medium! Film, Medium Specificity, and Response-Dependence.Clotilde Torregrossa - 2020 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews
    Medium specificity is a theory, or rather a cluster of arguments, in aesthetics that rests on the idea that media are the physical material that makes up artworks, and that this material contains specific and unique features capable of 1) differentiating media from one another, and 2) determining the aesthetic potential and goals of each medium. As such, medium specificity is essential for aestheticians interested in matters of aesthetic ontology and value. However, as Noël Carroll has vehemently and convincingly argued, (...)
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  6. Toward a Naturalized Aesthetics of Film Music: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Intramusical and Extramusical Meaning.Timothy Justus - 2019 - Projections 13 (3):1–22.
    In this article, I first address the question of how musical forms come to represent meaning—that is, the semantics of music—and illustrate an important conceptual distinction articulated by Leonard Meyer in Emotion and Meaning in Music between absolute or intramusical meaning and referential or extramusical meaning through a critical analysis of two recent films. Second, building examples of scholarship around a single piece of music frequently used in film—Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings—I follow the example set by Murray Smith in (...)
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  7. Imagination and Film.Jonathan Gilmore - 2019 - In Noël Carroll, Laura T. Di Summa & Shawn Loht (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures. Springer. pp. 845-863.
    This chapter addresses the application of contemporary theories of the imagination—largely drawn from cognitive psychology—to our understanding of film. Topics include the role of the imagination in our learning what facts hold within a fictional film, including what characters’ motivations, beliefs, and feelings are; how our perceptual experience of a film explains our imaginative visualizing of its contents; how fictional scenarios in films generate certain affective and evaluative responses; and how such responses compare to those we have toward analogous circumstances (...)
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  8. The Palgrave Handbook of the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures.Noël Carroll, Laura T. Di Summa & Shawn Loht (eds.) - 2019 - Springer.
    This handbook brings together essays in the philosophy of film and motion pictures from authorities across the spectrum. It boasts contributions from philosophers and film theorists alike, with many essays employing pluralist approaches to this interdisciplinary subject. Core areas treated include film ontology, film structure, psychology, authorship, narrative, and viewer emotion. Emerging areas of interest, including virtual reality, video games, and nonfictional and autobiographical film also have dedicated chapters. Other areas of focus include the film medium’s intersection with contemporary social (...)
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  9. Murray Smith. Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film. Reviewed By. [REVIEW]Iris Vidmar - 2018 - Philosophy in Review 38 (3):123-125.
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  10. SMITH, MURRAY. Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film. Oxford University Press, 2017, Xiii + 294 Pp., 32 B&W Illust., $45.00 Cloth. [REVIEW]Katherine Thomson-Jones - 2018 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 76 (3):356-359.
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  11. The ‘Good Form’ of Film: The Aesthetics of Continuity From Gestalt Psychology to Cognitive Film Theory.Maria Poulaki - 2018 - Gestalt Theory 40 (1):29-43.
    Summary This article questions certain assumptions concerning film form made by the recent psychological film research and compares them to those of precursors of film psychology like Hugo Münsterberg and Rudolf Arnheim, as well as the principles of Gestalt psychology. It is argued that principles of Gestalt psychology such as those of ‘good form’ and good continuation are still underlying the psychological research of film, becoming particularly apparent in its approach to continuity editing. Following an alternative Gestalt genealogy that links (...)
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  12. Conventions of Viewpoint Coherence in Film.Samuel Cumming, Gabriel Greenberg & Rory Kelly - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    This paper examines the interplay of semantics and pragmatics within the domain of film. Films are made up of individual shots strung together in sequences over time. Though each shot is disconnected from the next, combinations of shots still convey coherent stories that take place in continuous space and time. How is this possible? The semantic view of film holds that film coherence is achieved in part through a kind of film language, a set of conventions which govern the relationships (...)
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  13. Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film.Murray Smith - 2017 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Murray Smith presents an original approach to understanding film. He brings the arts, humanities, and sciences together to illuminate artistic creation and aesthetic experience. His 'third culture' approach roots itself in an appreciation of scientific innovation and how this has shaped the moving media.
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  14. Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science.Gregory Currie - 1995 - Cambridge University Press.
    This is a book about the nature of film: about the nature of moving images, about the viewer's relation to film, and about the kinds of narrative that film is capable of presenting. It represents a very decisive break with the semiotic and psychoanalytic theories of film which have dominated discussion. The central thesis is that film is essentially a pictorial medium and that the movement of film images is real rather than illusory. A general theory of pictorial representation is (...)
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  15. La Paradoja del Suspenso Anómalo.Gemma Arguello Manresa - 2016 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 68:49-65.
    Resumen: En este trabajo se aborda lo que en los debates recientes de filosofía del cine se ha denominado la paradoja del suspenso. Esta paradoja radica en el problema de que algunos espectadores sienten suspenso frente a una narración que ya conocían, partiendo del presupuesto de que la incertidumbre es un estado cognitivo necesario para sentir esta emoción. Se analizan varias propuestas recientes y se ofrece una alternativa a la mismas en la que se recupera la simpatía y la anticipación (...)
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  16. Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema. [REVIEW]Rafe McGregor - 2016 - British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (1):106-109.
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  17. The Philosophy of Motion Pictures.Noël Carroll - 2007 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    _Philosophy of Motion Pictures_ is a first-of-its-kind, bottom-up introduction to this bourgeoning field of study. Topics include film as art, medium specificity, defining motion pictures, representation, editing, narrative, emotion and evaluation. Clearly written and supported with a wealth of examples Explores characterizations of key elements of motion pictures –the shot, the sequence, the erotetic narrative, and its modes of affective address.
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  18. Aesthetics and Film. By Katherine Thomson‐Jones. [REVIEW]Jennifer A. Mcmahon - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):865-867.
    Each chapter covers one topic and largely consists of brief summaries of arguments for and against various themes. The topic of the first chapter is whether and on what basis a film can be considered art. Photography is used as an analogy. The arguments range from considering the mechanical form of cinema as an obstacle to arthood to arguments considering cinema’s mechanical nature as essential to its arthood; the former by those who ground art in human agency, the latter by (...)
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  19. Cinematic Philosophy: Experiential Affirmation in Memento.Rafe Mcgregor - 2014 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (1):57-66.
    This article demonstrates that Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) meets both conditions of Paisley Livingston's bold thesis of cinema as philosophy. I delineate my argument in terms of Aaron Smuts's clarifications of Livingston's conditions. The results condition, which is concerned with the nature of the philosophical content, is developed in relation to Berys Gaut's conception of narrational confirmation, which I designate ‘experiential affirmation.’ Because experiential affirmation is a function of cinematic depiction, it meets Livingston's means condition, which is concerned with the (...)
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  20. A New/Old Ontology of Film.Rafe McGregor - 2013 - Film-Philosophy 17 (1):265-280.
    The purpose of this paper is to examine the ontological effects of digital technology, and determine whether digital films, traditional films, and pre-traditional motion pictures belong to the same category. I begin by defining the parameters of my inquiry, and then consider the two most significant consequences of the new technology. §2 proposes a decisive refutation of the causal relationship between reality and photography. §3 identifies an end to the dominance of photorealistic film over animation, and argues for an inversion (...)
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  21. The Philosophy of Motion Pictures, by Noël Carroll.Ward E. Jones - 2013 - Mind 122 (486):fzt066.
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  22. Looking at Motion Pictures (Revised) [.Richard Allen - 2001 - Film-Philosophy 5 (1).
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  23. Misrecognizing Film Studies.Bruce Bennett - 2000 - Film-Philosophy 4 (1).
    _Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies_ Edited by David Bordwell and Noel Carroll Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996 ISBN: 0299149447 564 pp.
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  24. Cognitive and Philosophical Approaches to Horror.Aaron Smuts - forthcoming - In Harry Benshoff (ed.), Blackwell Companion to the Horror Film. Blackwell.
    Four main issues have occupied center stage in the analytic-cognitivist work on horror: (1) What is horror? (2) What is the appeal of horror? (3) How does it frighten audiences? and, (4) is it irrational to be scared of horror fiction?
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  25. Self-Reflection: Beyond Conventional Fiction Film Engagement.Margrethe Bruun Vaage - 2009 - Nordicom Review 30:159-178.
    Idiosyncratic responses as more strictly personal responses to fiction film that vary across individual spectators. In philosophy of film, idiosyncratic responses are often deemed inappropriate, unwarranted and unintended by the film. One type of idiosyncratic response is when empathy with a character triggers the spectator to reflect on his own real life issues. Self-reflection can be triggered by egoistic drift, where the spectator starts imagining himself in the character’s shoes, by re-experiencing memories, or by unfamiliar experiences that draw the spectator’s (...)
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