Moving because Pictures? Illusion and the Emotional Power of Film

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 34 (1):200-218 (2010)
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Why does cinema exert such power over our emotions? Many have wanted to answer by appeal to the idea that film sustains some illusion concerning the events it narrates. I compare three such views: that film sustains the illusion that those events are before us; that it sustains that illusion, but only partially; and that, though viewers are always fully aware of seeing pictures, those pictures are experienced as the moving photographic record of the narrated events. I identify these positions’ successes and failures in explaining film’s emotional power, and various ways in which the issue between them might be tested further.



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Robert Hopkins
New York University

Citations of this work

Sonic Pictures.Jason P. Leddington - 2021 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 79 (3):354-365.
Imagination and Perception in Film Experience.Enrico Terrone - 2020 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7.

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References found in this work

Fearing fictions.Kendall L. Walton - 1978 - Journal of Philosophy 75 (1):5-27.
Understanding pictures.Dominic Lopes - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Sight and Sensibility: Evaluating Pictures.Dominic Lopes - 2005 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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