Philosophy of film without theory is a methodology that aims to motivate and legitimise the current and future development of a range of a-, non-, and anti-theoretical ways of working at the intersection of film and philosophy. We contrast philosophy of film without theory with the main traditions of theoretically orientated philosophy of film, as well as philosophically inflected film Theory and film-philosophy. We also draw attention to the range of philosophical practices and pursuits that distinguish philosophy (in general) without (...) theory and contemporary philosophy (in general) with its near ubiquitous theoretical presumption. The paper finishes with a brief introduction to the various contributions to this Special Issue of Aesthetic Investigations on Philosophy of Film Without Theory. (shrink)
This paper attempts to refute the familiar sceptical argument based upon the theoretical possibility of systematic transpositions of colours in different observers? colour?vision. The force of this argument lies in its apparent demonstration that cases of transposed colour?vision would be on a quite different cognitive footing from ordinary cases of colour?blindness; since colour transposition, unlike colour?blindness, could not possibly have any effect on the use of language by a person who suffered from it. It is argued (1) that this demonstration (...) works only if we assume the truth of a certain theory of the logical nature of our colour vocabulary, and (2) that this theory is false. (shrink)
Written by a non-Jewish analytic philosopher, this book addresses the issue of whether, and to what extent, current opposition to Israel on the liberal-left embodies anti-Semitic stances. It argues that the dominant climate of liberal opinion disseminates, however inadvertently, a range of anti-Semitic assertions and motifs of the most traditional kind. It advocates a return to an unrestricted anti-racism which would allow liberals to defend Palestinian interests without demonizing Jews.
How can literature, which consists of nothing more than the description of imaginary events and situations, offer any insight into the workings of "human reality" or "the human condition"? Can mere words illuminate something that we call "reality"? Bernard Harrison answers these questions in this profoundly original work that seeks to re-enfranchise reality in the realms of art and discourse. In an ambitious account of the relationship between literature and cognition, he seeks to show how literary fiction, by deploying words (...) against a background of imagined circumstances, allows us to focus on the roots, in social practice, of the meanings by which we represent our world and ourselves. Engaging with philosophers and theorists as diverse as Wittgenstein, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Derrida, F. R. Leavis, Cleanth Brooks, and Stanley Fish, and illustrating his ideas through readings of works by Swift, Woolf, Appelfeld, and Dickens, among others, this book presents a systematic defense of humanism in literary studies, and of the study of the Humanities more generally, by a distinguished scholar. (shrink)
A Cinematic Humanist approach to film is committed inter alia to the following tenet: Some fiction films illuminate the human condition thereby enriching our understanding of ourselves, each other and our world. As such, Cinematic Humanism might reasonably be regarded as an example of what one might call ‘Cinematic Cognitivism’. This assumption would, however, be mistaken. For Cinematic Humanism is an alternative, indeed a corrective, to Cinematic Cognitivism. Motivating the need for such a corrective is a genuine scepticism about the (...) very notion of the cognitive. Using historical reconstruction, I reveal how ‘cognitive’ has become a multiply ambiguous, theory-laden term in the wake of, indeed as a consequence of, Noam Chomsky’s original stipulative definition. This generates a constitutive problem for cognitivism as both a research programme and a set of claims, and as such poses a trilemma for philosophers of film, art and beyond. I propose a Cinematic Humanist solution to the problematic commitments of cognitive film theorising and, in so doing, gesture towards a methodology I am calling ‘philosophy of film without theory’. (shrink)
What makes us responsive, however occasionally, to moral demands? Why do people sometimes own up, go off to fight unwillingly in what they consider to be just wars, refrain from stealing a march on friends, and so on, even when they could by doing otherwise reap advantages far outweighing, in the scales of ordinary prudential rationality, any consequent disadvantage? Why has morality such a hold over us?
Russell is set into the overall context of male contributions to british feminism. first it is shown that he devoted much time, political sophistication and commitment to campaigning for women's suffrage before 1914. second, that his lifelong contribution to british feminism is rationalistic, courageous, and highly progressive. third, that in his relationships with women (including his wives), he continues to display anti-feminist attitudes and, still more, anti-feminist conduct.
There is an as yet unacknowledged and incomparable contribution to the philosophical debates about know-how to be found in the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein. It is sourced in his investigations into knowledge and certainty in On Certainty, though it is not limited to these late passages. Understanding the ramifications of this putative contribution (even if one does not agree with it) highlights the extent to which (i) there is now a new range of issues pertaining to know-how which no future (...) philosophical consideration of the topic can ignore, except on pain of failing to engage comprehensively with the subject; (ii) the topic of know-how has been inappropriately marginalised by naturalized epistemology, and may well be as central to epistemology as the propositional knowledge which currently dominates epistemology’s attention; and (iii) any engagement with these potential Wittgensteinian contributions will need to be conducted in tandem with a reflection on the meta-philosophy of epistemology, since their potential impact extends to epistemology’s main methodology, i.e., naturalized reflective equilibrium. These three conclusions, together with a diagnosis of where and why all the current intellectualist accounts of know-how are either internally inconsistent, or irreconcilably flawed on their own terms, provide the motivation and the opportunity for a New Epistemology of Know-How. These conclusions established, I offer one possible Wittgensteinian-orientated version of the New Epistemology of Know-How, providing the first example of a non-naturalized philosophical approach to the topic since Gilbert Ryle. (shrink)
This volume is a tribute to one of England's greatest living historians, Sir Keith Thomas, by distinguished scholars who have been his pupils. They describe the changing meanings of civility and civil manners since the sixteenth century. They show how the terms were used with respect to different people - women, the English and the Welsh, imperialists, and businessmen - and their effects in fields as varied as sexual relations, religion, urban politics, and private life.
Might fiction films have cognitive value, and if so, how might such value interact with films’ artistic and aesthetic values? Philosophical consideration of this question tends to consist in either ceteris paribus extensions of claims relating to prose fiction and literature; meta-philosophical inquiries into the capacity of films to be or do philosophy; or generalised investigations into the cognitive value of any, and thereby all, artworks. I first establish that fiction films can be works of art, then address this lacuna (...) and identify three hitherto unrecognised values relevant to the issue of learning from fiction films. These values are (i) a film’s stance-based cinematic value, which is neither an artistic nor an aesthetic value, but which pertains to the integration of a film’s content, its form, and its themes and/or theses; (ii) a film’s dramatic value, which recognises the use of dramatic argumentation to enable us to make sense of agents’ intentional actions; and (iii) a film’s humanistic value which acknowledges a film’s power to provide illuminating insights into the human condition. In tandem with a series of sceptical arguments that question the very notion of cognitive value, I demonstrate how stance-based cinematic value, dramatic value, and humanistic value can provide fresh ways with which to understand and appreciate that we learn from films, what we learn from films, and how we learn from films. Grouping these values together under the rubric of cinematic humanism offers new resources for a paradigm shift capable of staying true to the spirit that informs both sides of the cognitivist/non-cognitivist debate whilst cutting through the Gordian knot it has become. (shrink)