This volume of new essays energizes a growing movement in film theory which questions and seeks to overturn many of the assumptions that have governed film theory for the last twenty years. The book brings together film scholars and philosophers in a united commitment to the standards of argumentation that characterize analytic philosophy rather than a single doctrinal approach. The essays address such topics as authorship, emotion, ideology, representation, and expression in film.
Projecting Illusion offers a systematic analysis of the impression of reality in the cinema and the pleasure it gives to the film spectator. Film provides a compelling experience that can be considered as a form of illusion akin to the experience of day-dream and dream. Examining the concept of illusion and its relationship to fantasy in the experience of visual representation, Richard Allen situates his explanation within the context of an analytical criticism of contemporary film and critical theory. He argues (...) that many contemporary film theorists correctly identify the significance of the impression of reality, although their explanation of it is incorrect because of an invalid philosophical understanding of the relationship between the mind, representation and reality. Offering a clear presentation and critique of the central arguments of contemporary film and critical theory, Allen also touches on fundamental issues in current discourses of philosophy, art history and feminist theory. (shrink)
This substantial book presents essays by nineteen authors exploring intersections between film theory and philosophy on topics of representation, authorship, ideology, aesthetics, and emotion. The editors explain that film studies has reached a crisis of method after a growth period founded on structural linguistics, psychoanalysis, and Continental philosophy. They wish to alter this foundation and “give momentum to work in an analytic vein”, which requires them to correct the misconception of analytic philosophy in film studies as narrow and conservative, a (...) “toxic waste dump.”. (shrink)
This pioneering work investigates the profound implications of Wittgenstein's philosophy to the practice, theory and criticism of the arts. The essays exemplify Wittgenstein's method of conceptual investigation and highlight his notion of philosophy as a cure.
I shall begin this essay by sketching some Wittgenstein-influenced arguments as to why the causal theory of perception is inadequate. However my main concern is to explore the ramifications for pictorial perception of understanding perception in terms of the causal theory. When 'our ordinary notion of perceiving' is characterized in terms of the existence of a causal connection between an object perceived and our sensory experience of that object the case of pictorial perception generates a paradox.
The introduction discusses the influence of two kinds of philosophy to film theory. It describes and clarifies the characteristic methods and strategies of analytic philosophy and film theory, and continental philosophy and film theory. It is concerned with the description of methods, debates, and principles of analytic philosophy with reference to the contributions of philosophy to film theory. It informs and provides indication of issues, methods, and doctrines. It examines, criticizes, and defends the use of exponents of analytic and continental (...) philosophy. All throughout the introduction, it is noted that analytic philosophy is conceived as a pedantic, conservative discipline by scholars of film, media, and culture while continental philosophy is seen as having more imaginative richness and being more focused on moral and ideological issues. However, the aim of analysing film theory is not to stop the pursuit of any specific doctrine but to improve the rigor with its pursuit. (shrink)
This essay examines the ways narratives succeed or fail to provide a life with structure and direction, as exemplified in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" and George Eliot's "Middlemarch". Whether a narrative can be a moral compass depends on the presence of what Eliot calls "a coherent social faith." The debate between Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine provides a framework for my analysis of the problematic status of such a social faith in the modern world. This analysis in turn sheds (...) light on contemporary work on narrative, community, and ethics by Hans Frei, Stanley Hauerwas, George Lindbeck, and Alasdair MacIntyre. (shrink)
On Anthropomorphism concerns itself with performances and artworks that explore the complex of interesting and mutually contradictory ideas located under the umbrella term, ‘anthropomorphism’. On the one hand, it is used to refer to something that resembles a human, and on the other hand it refers to our natural tendency to read human characteristics in the non-human object or animal. Moreover, an interrogation of the concept of anthropomorphism, especially as it is found in contemporary performance, suggests that there is not (...) a singular line dividing the human from the non-human but a vast terrain that houses the comical, the uncanny and the abject. The aim of this issue is to elucidate anthropomorphism in its multitude of aspects, thereby shedding light on discourses around object theatre and ecological performance that attempt to understand the more-than-human world in a way that goes beyond ‘mere’ anthropomorphism. (shrink)
Reasoning can promote psychological development, so even if the role of philosophical counselor is defined strictly in terms of assisting the reasoning of the client, we can expect client-centered philosophical inquiry to yield psychological benefits. The practices of philosophical counseling and psychotherapy permeate one another to some degree while also diverging in characteristic focus. Philosophical counselors are particularly well suited to helping clients think through their situation in the world.
The political passages in Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge are an integral part of his arguments against ‘objectivism’ and/or a post-critical, personalist, fiduciary and fallibilist philosophy. This paper elaboratesthe social and political implications of Polanyi’s emphasis upon acceptance of one’s situation and the exercise in it of a sense of responsibility to transcendent ideals, as against attempts to start with a clean slate, to overcome all imperfections and to find some simple rule for political policy. Prescriptive duties and rights, and mutual trust (...) and solidarity, are the bases of politics, anti responsible action must start with them. But much of modern politics expresses a Gnostic impatience of our created and finite existence which results in arbitrary commitment to some radical and destructive ideology. (shrink)
Ethical Studies is one of the most enlightening works of moral philosophy in English. This article surveys the principal structural theme running throughout it, but will concentrate on its more explicit development at the beginning and end of the book, Essays II and VI, and the “Concluding Remarks.” Essay II formulates the formal requirements of morality in terms of self-realization, and the remaining Essays survey possible contents, the valuable elements of which are brought together, with further materials, in Essays VI (...) and VII. But Bradley finds that morality involves a contradiction, and so, in order to resolve that contradiction, it issues into something more than morality, namely, religion. However, this article will show that Bradley’s resolution of this contradiction is not satisfactory and that, once morality is conceived as an ἐνέργεια and not a γένεσις, an activity and not a process, this contradiction vanishes. Yet morality does, nevertheless, on Bradley’s own principles, find its completion in religion when so conceived; and such an argument was developed in detail in the great work of one of Bradley’s pupils, A. E. Taylor’s Faith of a Moralist, Vol. I. (shrink)
In this article I introduce the term ‘theatrical latency’ as a pleasurable effect experienced when listening to sound in relation to visual perception. Latency refers to both the phenomena of audio delay and a theatrical sensation that comes from the reanimation of visual environments through aural framing. In this configuration, the notion of latency takes on a double meaning as both a recorded phenomenon and the retrieval of something dormant within physical objects, sites or materials. These ideas will be introduced (...) through my experience of walking Katrina Palmer’s site-specific audio work The Loss Adjusters on the island of Portland. The audio tracks create an extended meditation on Portland, interweaving specific locations and histories with fictional characters and ghosts of the island. (shrink)
University of Buffalo New York Department of Art Gallery. The ancient philosopher Protagoras is most famous for his claim: “Of all things the measure is Man” and today, Western societies continue to promote anthropocentrism, an approach to the world that assumes humans are the principal species of the planet. We naturalize a scale of worth, in which beings that most resemble our own forms or benefit us are valued over those that do not. The philosophy of humanism has been trumpeted (...) as the hallmark of a civilized society, founded on the unquestioned value of humankind defining not only our economic, political, religious, and social systems, but also our ethical code. However, artists recently have questioned whether humanism has actually lived up to its promises and made the world a better place for humankind. Are we better off privileging humans above all else or could there be other, preferable, ways to value life? With the continued prevalence of violent crimes, even genocide, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, we see the ways in which the discourse of humanism falters, as groups are targeted through rhetoric reducing them to the subhuman, and therefore disposable. But what if the subhuman, nonhuman, and even the non-animal and material, were reconsidered as objects of worth even if far removed from us? (shrink)
This short video essay was presented at Glasgow Buzzcut Symposium 'Side Burns' on Wednesday 5th April 2017. It is called The Weird World of Donald Trump. It argues how America’s current encounter with the world of Donald Trump is akin to the weird realism of H.P Lovecraft, drawing upon Mark Fisher’s account of the weird - defined by Lovecraft’s fiction - as an encounter that can encompass grotesque sensations of fear when experiencing an object or being that shape shifts and (...) transforms itself. The weird, in this sense challenges and creeps into the perceived safety and certainty of everyday life to frightening political effect. The essay presents a short reading of Trump’s world against the philosophy of Lovecraft’s weird as a way of thinking about how the encounter with it might be understood and challenged. If a community can find a language to describe the sensation of what they are experiencing then there is hope that it can be collectively overcome, claiming a space within the weird, facing up to the thing on the doorstep. (shrink)
This is the first full exploration of the implications of Wittgenstein's philosophy for understanding the arts and cultural criticism. These original essays by philosophers and critics address key philosophical topics in the study of the arts and culture, such as humanism, criticism, psychology, painting, film and ethics. All exemplify Wittgenstein's method of conceptual investigation and highlight his notion of philosophy as a cure.