Cartesianism and Intersubjectivity in Paranormal Activity and the Philosophy of Mind

Film-Philosophy 21 (1):1-19 (2017)
Abstract
Over the last century within the philosophy of mind, the intersubjective model of self has gained traction as a viable alternative to the oft-criticised Cartesian solipsistic paradigm. These two models are presented as incompatible inasmuch as Cartesians perceive other minds as “a problem” for the self, while intersubjectivists insist that sociality is foundational to selfhood. This essay uses the Paranormal Activity series (2007–2015) to explore this philosophical debate. It is argued that these films simultaneously evoke Cartesian premises (via found-footage camerawork), and intersubjectivity (via an ongoing narrative structure that emphasises connections between the characters, and between each film). The philosophical debates illuminate premises on which the series’ story and horror depends. Moreover, Paranormal Activity also sheds light on the theoretical debate: the series brings those two paradigms together into a coherent whole, thereby suggesting that the two models are potentially compatible. By developing a combined model, scholars working in the philosophy of mind might better account for the different aspects of self-experience these paradigms focus on
Keywords Film  Horror  Descartes  Film-Philosophy  Popular Culture  Intersubjectivity  Self  Philosophy of Mind  Cinema  Found Footage
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DOI 10.3366/film.2017.0028
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References found in this work BETA
Identity, Cause, and Mind.Sydney Shoemaker - 1987 - Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):227-232.
Beyond Cartesianism: Body-Perception and the Immediacy of Empathy.Joona Taipale - 2015 - Continental Philosophy Review 48 (2):161-178.
Self and Other: From Pure Ego to Co-Constituted We.Dan Zahavi - 2015 - Continental Philosophy Review 48 (2):143-160.
Descartes: Truth and Self-Deception.Shai Frogel - 2016 - Philosophy 91 (1):93-108.

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Philosophy Through Film.Christopher Falzon - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
From Night to Day: Nihilism and the Living Dead.John Marmysz - 1996 - Film and Philosophy 3:138-143.

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