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Philosophy of Film

Edited by Aaron Smuts (Rhode Island College)
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Summary

"Philosophy of Film" is often used to describe a few different kinds of work. Two are most important. We should distinguish between philosophy in or through film, and the philosophy of or about film. When one does philosophy through film, one seeks to either illuminate some philosophical idea or to make progress on some philosophical issue through a discussion of a movie. One might even attribute the philosophical work to the film. We might call this philosophy in film. In contrast, the philosophy of film is the philosophy about film.  It asks about the nature of film, our experience of it, how it works its magic on us, and what limitations it might have. The analytic philosophy of film is principally issue driven. One of the issues concerns the philosophical limits of film, whether philosophy in film is possible. This mid-level category is home to both kinds of work, philosophy through film and the philosophy of film.

Key works

Carroll's Philosophy of Motion Pictures and Gaut's A Philosophy of Cinematic Art are two leading monographs offering opposing views on a wide range of issue in the analytic philosophy of film.

Introductions

Livingston and Plantinga's Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film is by far the best source for survey articles on topics and figures in the area. Thomson-Jones's Aesthetics and Film provides a clear, brief introduction to several important topics in the area.

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  1. Michael Abecassis (2009). Opening the Door to the Subconscious: Gwynne Edwards (2005) A Companion to Luis Bunuel. Film-Philosophy 10 (1):64-70.
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  2. Michael Abecassis (2007). L'Atalante Lost and Regained: Michael Temple (2006) Jean Vigo (French Film Directors). Film-Philosophy 11 (3):198-203.
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  3. Michael Abecassis (2004). Le Petit Theatre de Renoir, on Martin O'Shaughnessy Jean Renoir. Film-Philosophy 8 (1).
    Martin O'Shaughnessy _Jean Renoir_ Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000 ISBN 0719050626 hb; 0719050634 pb 251 pp.
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  4. Nathan Abrams (2003). ‘Are You Still You?': Memory, Identity and Self-Positioning in Total Recall. Film and Philosophy 7.
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  5. Eduardo Abrantes (2006). The Principle of Revelation : Catherine Lupton (2005) Chris Marker: Memories of the Future. Film-Philosophy 10 (1):1-14.
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  6. Mortimer Jerome Adler (1978). Art and Prudence. Arno Press.
    CHAPTER ONE Plato IT is a mark of wisdom in Greek political thought that the form and content of education receive primary consideration from those who are ...
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  7. Guvenc Akgul, Funda Aksoy Akgul, Husnu Emrah Unalan & Rasit Turan (2016). Photovoltaic Performance of Gallium-Doped ZnO Thin Film/Si Nanowires Heterojunction Diodes. Philosophical Magazine 96 (11):1093-1109.
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  8. M. A. Al-Maghrabi, R. J. Sanderson & R. A. Dunlap (2013). Mössbauer Effect Studies of Fe–C Combinatorially Sputtered Thin Films. Philosophical Magazine 93 (24):3278-3290.
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  9. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea & Iraida Sánchez Oliva (1988). The Viewer's Dialectic. Editorial José Martí.
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  10. Mary Alemany-Galway (2002). A Postmodern Cinema the Voice of the Other in Canadian Film.
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  11. Gadi Algazi (2008). Norbert Elias's Motion Pictures: History, Cinema and Gestures in the Process of Civilization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (3):444-458.
    Norbert Elias’s project in The process of civilization involved reconstructing invisible movement—both the slow tempoof long-term historical change and the modification of psychic structures and embodied dispositions. To do this, he resorted to uncommon devices: treating historical texts as constituting a series amenable to a rudimentary discourse analysis, he constructed an imagined ‘curve of civilization’ serving as an approximation of the hidden process of change. Elias’s curve was not supposed to represent single past states, but movement itself, its direction and (...)
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  12. Amir Ameri (2011). Imaginary Placements: The Other Space of Cinema. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (1):81-91.
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  13. Nathan Andersen (2014). Shadow Philosophy: Plato’s Cave and Cinema. Routledge.
    Shadow Philosophy: Plato’s Cave and Cinema is an accessible and exciting new contribution to film-philosophy, which shows that to take film seriously is also to engage with the fundamental questions of philosophy. Nathan Andersen brings Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange into philosophical conversation with Plato’s Republic , comparing their contributions to themes such as the nature of experience and meaning, the character of justice, the contrast between appearance and reality, the importance of art, and the impact of images. At (...)
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  14. Dudley Andrew (1993). History and Timelessness in Films and Theory. In David E. Klemm & William Schweiker (eds.), Meanings in Texts and Actions: Questioning Paul Ricoeur. University Press of Virginia. pp. 115--32.
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  15. Dudley Andrew & Stephen Heath (1983). Questions of Cinema. Substance 12 (3):95.
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  16. Bonnie L. Angelone, Daniel T. Levin & Daniel J. Simons (2003). The Relationship Between Change Detection and Recognition of Centrally Attended Objects in Motion Pictures. Perception 32 (8):947-962.
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  17. R. Appleton, W. Swiech, M. Ondrejcek & C. Flynn (2003). Studies of Threading Dislocations in Nb Films. Philosophical Magazine 83 (14):1639-1651.
    We obtain strain contrast in low-energy electron microscopy, by dark-field imaging of the strain-sensitive variants of a surface reconstruction. This is employed to make visible the strain fields of dislocations in Nb thin single-crystal films. The strain field symmetries reveal the dislocation Burgers vectors and identify the existence of [111] a /2 and [100] a Burgers vectors for threading dislocations in these epitaxial materials. The contrast also allows interfacial and screw dislocations to be imaged.
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  18. Rowena Santos Aquino (2011). Dina Iordanova, David Martin-Jones and Belén Vidal (2010) Cinema at the Periphery. Film-Philosophy 15 (2):106-112.
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  19. Paul Ardoin (2015). Beckett's Film, “Which Could Only Have Been Played by Buster Keaton”. Angelaki 20 (4):5-21.
    This article uses Deleuze's three-part theory of the movement-image as a way to investigate the potential importance of his unexplored claim about the casting of Beckett's Film. In “The Greatest Irish Film” Deleuze writes that the starring role in Film “could only have been played by Buster Keaton” 23), but he does not explain why. Here, I return to the Bergsonian basis of Deleuze's film theory, as well as to early responses to Beckett's Film, in order to complicate our understanding (...)
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  20. Richard Lindley Armstrong (2015). Mick LaSalle The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn From Contemporary French Actresses. Film-Philosophy 19.
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  21. R. J. Asaro (1972). Tarnish Films and Stress Corrosion Cracking of Α-Brass. Philosophical Magazine 26 (2):425-442.
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  22. Patsy Asch & Timothy Asch (1995). Film in Ethnographic Research. In Paul Hockings (ed.), Principles of Visual Anthropology. De Gruyter. pp. 335-360.
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  23. Paloma Atencia-Linares (2010). Review of The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. [REVIEW] Disputatio 3:317-320.
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  24. I. Atilgan, O. Ozdemir, B. Akaoglu, K. Sel & B. Katircioglu (2006). Transport Studies of Carbon-Rich a-SiCx:H Film Through Admittance and Deep-Level Transient Spectroscopy Measurements. Philosophical Magazine 86 (19):2771-2796.
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  25. J. Aumont (1999). Amnésies Fictions du Cinéma d'Après Jean-Luc Godard.
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  26. Robert B. Pippin (2009). What Is a Western? Politics and Self-Knowledge in John Ford'sThe Searchers. Critical Inquiry 35 (2):223-253.
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  27. Sondra Bacharach, Resuscitating the Subversive in Unlikely Couples. Film and Philosophy 13.
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  28. Sondra Bacharach & Deborah Tollefsen (2011). We Did It Again: A Reply to Livingston. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (2):225-230.
  29. H. Bacon (2007). How Films Behave and Narrate. Film and Philosophy 11:29.
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  30. Henry Bacon (2007). A Phenomenology Of Film Narration. Film and Philosophy 11.
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  31. Mieke Bal (2015). Always Too Long: My Short-Film Experience. Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication 5 (1):13-18.
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  32. Canan Balan (2016). Islam, Consciousness and Early Cinema: Said Nursî and the Cinema of God. Film-Philosophy 20 (1):47-62.
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  33. Jon Baldwin (2003). Other Bother: The Alien in Science Fiction Cinema, on Aliens R Us: The Other in Science Fiction Cinema , Edited by Ziauddin Sardar and Sean Cubitt. Film-Philosophy 7 (3).
    _Aliens R Us: The Other in Science Fiction Cinema_ Edited by Ziauddin Sardar and Sean Cubitt London: Pluto Press, 2002 ISBN 0-7453-1544-5 (hb) 0-7453-1539-9 (pbk) 208 pp.
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  34. Daphne Barak-Erez, The Law of Historical Films: In the Aftermath Of.
    Filmmaking and the narration of history have been engaged in a complex relationship ever since the early days of filmmaking. Many films tell stories unfolding in previous times or about actual historical events, and their narration of history is often criticized as inaccurate, fictitious, or even intentionally misleading. When a highly publicized film suggests a controversial narrative of a certain chapter in history, a debate usually follows in the public arena, be it as part of the ongoing intellectual discourse or (...)
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  35. Karen Bardsley (1998). The 'I'of the Beholder'. Film-Philosophy 2 (1).
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  36. Anthony Barker (2013). On Not Being Porn: Intimacy and the Sexually Explicit Art Film. Text Matters - a Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture 3 (3):186-202.
    Since the mid-twentieth century, we have passed from a time where sexual frankness was actively obstructed by censorship and industry self-regulation to an age when pornography is circulated freely and is fairly ubiquitous on the Internet. Attitudes to sexually explicit material have accordingly changed a great deal in this time, but more at the level of the grounds on which it is objected to rather than through a general acceptance of it in the public sphere. Critical objections now tend to (...)
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  37. Jennifer Marilynn Barker (2004). The Tactile Eye. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
    Going to the movies is a sensual experience. When we say we are moved by a film, that it touches us, or that we respond to it viscerally, we mean it in a more-than-metaphorical sense. These claims imply an intimate and distinctly tactile relationship between film and viewer that is an important factor in our attraction and response to the movies. "The Tactile Eye" examines the tactility of the film experience, asking how films' meaning and significance are made at our (...)
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  38. Martin Barker (2006). Envisaging 'Visualisation': Some Challenges From the International Lord of the Rings Audience Project. Film-Philosophy 10 (3):1-25.
    This essay explores a series of issues which have emerged around the term ‘visualisation’ asa result of materials generated out of the international Lord of the Rings audience project.‘Visualisation’ is quite widely used as a term in film studies, but not much considered. In this essay I begin from someelements of empirical evidence, and through some unlikely encounters that these spurredwith bodies of work from outside film studies, I develop an argument for a new approach tothinking about ‘visualisation’. This approach (...)
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  39. Daniel Barnett (2004). A Deceptively Slender Volume, on Nathaniel Dorsky Devotional Cinema. Film-Philosophy 8 (2).
    Nathaniel Dorsky _Devotional Cinema_ Berkeley, California: Tuumba Press, 2003 ISBN 1-931157-05-07 52 pp.
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  40. Robert Barry (2011). Richard Misek (2010) Chromatic Cinema. Film-Philosophy 15 (2):139-142.
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  41. Anna Batori (2016). Aida Vigan and Gordana P. Crnković In Contrast: Croatian Film Today, Zagreb, Croatia: The Croatian Film Association in Association with Berghahn Books. 264 Pp. [REVIEW] Film-Philosophy 19.
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  42. Heather Battaly & Amy Coplan (2009). Is Dr. House Virtuous. Film and Philosophy 13:1-18.
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  43. Lloyd Baugh (2005). The Grace of Divine Providence: The Identity and Function of the Silent Witness in the Decalogue Films of Kieslowski. Gregorianum 86 (3):523-548.
    In his ground-breaking series of films The Decalogue , Krzysztof Kieslowski creates an enigmatic character who appears in nine of the ten otherwise-disconnected films. Kieslowski neither names this mysterious man nor allows him one word of dialogue. In several of the films, the man is seen by other characters; in others he remains invisible to them. Sometimes he seems to influence the decisions of the protagonists; other times, he seems to remain a passive observer of their problems. Many scholars who (...)
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  44. André Bazin (2002). The Life and Death of Superimposition (1946). Film-Philosophy 6 (1).
    Translated by Bert Cardullo University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Missouri, USA This essay first appeared in French in Écran Français in 1946, then was included in Volume 1 ('Ontologie et langage') of Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1958-1962), pp. 22-30. Translated here, for the first time, with the permission of Madame Janine Bazin.
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  45. André Bazin (2002). Will CinemaScope Save the Film Industry? (1953). Film-Philosophy 6 (1).
    Translated by Bert Cardullo University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Missouri, USA This article first appeared in French in Esprit , vol. 21 no. 207-208, October-November 1953, pp. 672-683. Translated here, for the first time, with the permission of Madame Janine Bazin.
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  46. S. Bec, A. Tonck & J. Fontaine (2006). Nanoindentation and Nanofriction on DLC Films. Philosophical Magazine 86 (33-35):5465-5476.
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  47. Robert Beckford (2014). Documentary as Exorcism: Resisting the Bewitchment of Colonial Christianity. Bloomsbury Academic.
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  48. Frida Beckman (2015). Ambivalent Screens: Quentin Tarantino and the Power of Vision. Film-Philosophy 19:85-104.
    Reveling in the self-reflexive and the metacinematic, Quentin Tarantino's films are often associated with a Baudrillardian postmodernity. His most recent Inglorious Basterds continues in the same self-referential vein as his earlier films but adds a blatant falsification of history which pushes the question of the reality and images even further. But, this essay asks, is a Baudrillardian perspective the most fruitful one in comprehending the creative potential of Tarantino's latest film? Moving from Baudrillard through Virilio to Deleuze and Guattari, the (...)
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  49. Fiorella Sampirisi Beckmeier (1979). The Fiction of Samuel Beckett in the Light of Sartrean Existentialism.
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  50. Mark Bego (2001). The Pocket Essential the Marx Brothers.
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