Fictional Indeterminacy, Imagined Seeing, and Cinematic Narration

In Katherine Thomson-Jones (ed.), Current Controversies in the Philosophy of Film. Routledge. pp. 99-114 (2016)
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This paper focuses on the debate over two central claims regarding cinematic narration: the claim that there are implicit cinematic narrators and the thesis that when we watch movies, we imagine seeing the events and characters in the film fiction. I examine what a consideration of the indeterminate nature of fictional narration, that is, what is specified by the fiction about how we come to imagine the story events, can contribute to the debate on these issues. It is argued that consideration of fictional indeterminacy can be used to show that positing an implicit cinematic narrator is not only unnecessary, but is also incompatible with appreciating the film fiction. While the opposite result is reached regarding the claim about imagined seeing: considerations of indeterminacy suggest that we can suppose, without absurdities, that audiences at the movies sometimes engage in imagined seeing.



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Angela Curran
Texas Tech University

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