The view from outside: On a distinctively cinematic achievement

Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (2):154-170 (2016)
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What aesthetic interest do we have in watching films? In a much debated paper, Roger Scruton argued that this interest typically comes down to the interest in the dramatic representations recorded by such films. Berys Gaut and Catharine Abell criticized Scruton’s argument by claiming that films can elicit an aesthetic interest also by virtue of their pictorial representation. In this article, we develop a different criticism of Scruton’s argument. In our view, a film can elicit an aesthetic interest that does not come down to an interest in the dramatic representation or in the pictorial representation. We will argue that this is a distinctively cinematic interest. In section I we outline Scruton’s argument. In section II we point out an interest in how the cinematic medium presents the portrayed subject as detached from the spectator’s environment. In section III, by referring to Wittgenstein’s account of the contemplation from outside, we contend that the interest in films introduced in section II can count as an aesthetic interest. In section IV we argue that both documentaries and fiction films can elicit this kind of interest. In section V we compare the three different kinds of aesthetic interest that, in our view, a film can elicit. In section VI we describe the corresponding kinds of cinematic achievements



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Author Profiles

Enrico Terrone
Università degli Studi di Genova
Mario De Caro
Tufts University

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References found in this work

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A Wittgenstein Dictionary.Hans-Johann Glock - 1996 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Culture and Value.L. Wittgenstein - 1982 - Critica 14 (41):93-96.

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