Philosophy of Film

Edited by Clotilde Torregrossa (University of St. Andrews)
About this topic
Summary

"Philosophy of Film" is often used to describe a few different kinds of work. Two are most important. We should distinguish between philosophy in or through film, and the philosophy of or about film. When one does philosophy through film, one seeks to either illuminate some philosophical idea or to make progress on some philosophical issue through a discussion of a movie. One might even attribute the philosophical work to the film. We might call this philosophy in film. In contrast, the philosophy of film is the philosophy about film.  It asks about the nature of film, our experience of it, how it works its magic on us, and what limitations it might have. The analytic philosophy of film is principally issue driven. One of the issues concerns the philosophical limits of film, whether philosophy in film is possible. This mid-level category is home to both kinds of work, philosophy through film and the philosophy of film.

Key works

Carroll's Philosophy of Motion Pictures and Gaut's A Philosophy of Cinematic Art are two leading monographs offering opposing views on a wide range of issue in the analytic philosophy of film.

Introductions

Livingston and Plantinga's Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film is by far the best source for survey articles on topics and figures in the area. Thomson-Jones's Aesthetics and Film provides a clear, brief introduction to several important topics in the area.

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Contents
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  1. Kino i dukhovnoe obogashchenie lichnosti.M. Aliev - 1989 - Tashkent: Uzbekistan.
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  2. Chʻŏrhak ŭro yŏnghwa pogi, yŏnghwa ro chʻorhak hagi.Yŏng-min Kim - 1994 - Sŏul: Chʻŏrhak kwa Hyŏnsilsa.
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  3. Ficta and Virtuality: An Ingardenian Ontology of Virtualized Ficta.Hicham Jakha - forthcoming - Rivista di Estetica:1-16.
    In my paper, I establish an Ingardenian phenomenological ontology of virtualized ficta, i.e., fictional entities introduced to virtual gaming. The first Section of my paper provides an ontology of virtualized ficta, focusing primarily on their ‘‘existential moments’’. But in order to have a firm grasp of the ontological aspects grounding the virtual work, it’s important to engage its strata. This is what I attempt to do in Section 1.2. Virtualized ficta’s intentional dependencies are strongly manifest in what I call the (...)
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  4. Memento.Andrew Kania - 2008 - In Paisley Livingston & Carl Plantinga (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. Routledge.
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  5. Fondus enchaînés: essais de poétique du cinéma.Marc Cerisuelo - 2012 - Paris: Éditions du Seuil.
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  6. Editor's Introduction.Laura T. Di Summa - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:3-5.
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  7. Craig Fox & Britt Harrison, editors, Philosophy of Film Without Theory.Alexis Gibbs - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:135-139.
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  8. Joshua Heter and Richard Greene, editors, The Godfather and Philosophy: An Argument You Can’t Refute.Peter Vernezze - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:131-133.
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  9. Stop-Motion Animation’s Object Substitutions and Non-Depictive Representation.Andrea Marie Comiskey - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:111-129.
    This article explores a distinctive representational strategy used in stop-motion animation: the object substitution. Using as its central example a children’s TV episode in which brushes stand in for dogs, it explains how this strategy produces a complex relationship between depiction and representation. The analysis highlights the pragmatic underpinnings of various theories of pictorial and cinematic representation, arguing that, in a substitution, depicted elements constitute explicatures and represented ones implicatures. Connecting this strategy to humans’ capacity for pareidolia (seeing things in (...)
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  10. Murdoch's Caring Gaze and "My Octopus Teacher".Thomas E. Wartenberg - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:71-89.
    In her essay “The Idea of Perfection,” Iris Murdoch argues that sustained attention directed towards another can result in a person’s moral improvement by getting them to have a more accurate view of the other. In this essay, I argue that the award-winning film My Octopus Teacher illustrates Murdoch’s view and corrects some of its shortcomings. It illustrates Murdoch’s claim by showing how one of the filmmaker’s sustained attention directed at an octopus results not only in an alternation in the (...)
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  11. Taking Feminist Pornography Seriously.Georgie Malone - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:19-37.
    It has been argued that an adequate feminist response to sexist pornography demands not just efforts to eradicate sexist beliefs, but also aesthetic counter-intervention at the level of taste. This view motivates support for feminist pornography. This paper takes the feminist pornography suggestion seriously by unpacking difficulties for the project. I begin by spelling out two views about what makes feminist pornography feminist: the ‘content view,’ and the ‘context view,’ and discuss what I take to be existing arguments for the (...)
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  12. The Tragedy of the Knight of Faith.Francesco Sticchi & Silvia Liliana Angeli - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:91-110.
    The cinema of Martin Scorsese has been analysed in connection with a wide range of themes and issues. In this paper, through a film-philosophical analysis, we aim to demonstrate how his filmography produces storyworlds pervaded by a tension similar to the one Søren Kierkegaard expressed in his existentialist writings. Indeed, one of the tenets of film-philosophy is that audio-visual media generate, in an affective and experiential manner, complex moral and ethical systems and existential viewpoints with which viewers interact in a (...)
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  13. A Reflection of the Sun ( ).Sydney Harvey - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:1-18.
    This paper explores a philosophical argument about the use of natural light in films. I argue that directors use sunlight as a visual metaphor to induce a sublime experience from the viewer to elevate the narrative. While it is more efficient in terms of time management and finances to use electric lights, sunlight creates a successful emotional effect on the viewer placing them in contemplation of the relationship between humanity, nature, and humility. Essentially, I am concerned with what it is (...)
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  14. Racialized Disgust and the Depiction of Native Americans in the Ranown Cycle Westerns.Dan Flory - 2024 - Film and Philosophy 28:39-69.
    This article explores mainstream audience reactions concerning race and how they intersect with late 1950s Westerns known as the Ranown cycle. Synthesizing ideas from critical philosophy of race, philosophy of film, cognitive film theory, and philosophy of emotion, I analyze how these films elicit racialized reactions of sociomoral disgust toward Native American characters. Because such responses are not ordinarily processed through higher-level forms of cognition, I argue that these embodied, affective, implicit reactions are key to understanding how films like those (...)
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  15. In the Mood for Heideggerian Boredom? Film Viewership as Being-in-the-World.Chiara Quaranta - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):31-46.
    In this article, I engage with Shawn Loht’s argument concerning film viewing as being-in-the-world, developed in his book Phenomenology of Film: A Heideggerian Account of the Film Experience (2017), focusing on the aesthetics of mood with particular attention to boredom. I elaborate on a phenomenological ontology of the film experience and its perceptual “rules” which hinge on aesthetic choices: what kind of world does the film open up for the viewer? Loht’s account of viewing Dasein enables us to deepen phenomenological (...)
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  16. Response to Critical Views of Phenomenology of Film.Shawn Loht - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):113-130.
    This article responds to critical views of John Rhym, Martin Rossouw, Ludo de Roo, and Annie Sandrussi on my 2017 book Phenomenology of Film: A Heideggerian Account of the Film Experience. The article also takes up positive footholds from the analyses of Chiara Quaranta and Jason Wirth. The main topics addressed include Martin Heidegger’s ontic-ontological distinction; the notion of film-as-philosophy; being-in-the-world read as being-in-the-film-world; and questions surrounding the facticity and identity of the film viewer.
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  17. Reflexive Wonderings: Prospects and Parameters of a Heideggerian Approach to Film as Philosophy.Martin P. Rossouw - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):47-61.
    This response article addresses the conception of “film as philosophy” developed by Shawn Loht in his book Phenomenology of Film: A Heideggerian Account of the Film Experience (2017), with specific attention to the relevance and implications of Loht's approach for the broader debate beyond a strictly Heideggerian film-philosophy. The article proceeds in three distinct takes. The first take examines Loht's later-Heideggerian inspirations, arguing that although these more fundamental notions of philosophy open significant possibilities for film as philosophy, they nevertheless run (...)
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  18. Dasein and the Question of the Heterogenous Film Viewer: A Commentary on Loht’s Heideggerian Phenomenology of Film.Annie Sandrussi - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):62-78.
    In response to Shawn Loht’s 2017 project delineating a Heideggerian phenomenology of film, Phenomenology of Film: A Heideggerian Account of the Film Experience, I examine how productive Loht’s Dasein-centric account of the film viewer might be for considering diverse film-viewer experiences. Starting from Loht’s premise that the film–viewer relation is the constitutive ground of filmic disclosure, I raise two concerns regarding Heidegger’s account of Dasein that might obscure an account of the diversity of film viewers and associated heterogeneity of filmic (...)
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  19. Padraic Killeen (2022). The Dark Interval: Film Noir, Iconography, and Affect.William B. Covey - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):140-143.
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  20. Introduction: Heidegger and the Phenomenology of Film.Robert Sinnerbrink - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):1-10.
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  21. An Ambiguous World of Film: Cinematic Immersion beyond Early Heidegger.Ludo de Roo - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):11-30.
    Shawn Loht's ground-breaking Phenomenology of Film: A Heideggerian Account of the Film Experience (2017) offers a detailed account of film experience as rooted in Martin Heidegger's existential structure of Dasein. Adapting Being and Time for a phenomenology of cinematic experience, Loht accurately describes how various existential structures of Dasein are “fostered” by the projected world of film: in Loht's account, being-in-the-world is extended in the film experience. Loht's project offers fertile ground for developing the phenomenological basis of film experience. Yet, (...)
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  22. Kelli Fuery (2022). Ambiguous Cinema: From Simone de Beauvoir to Feminist Film Phenomenology.Kate Ince - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):136-139.
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  23. Genevieve Yue (2021). Girl Head: Feminism and Film Materiality.Laura Staab - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):148-151.
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  24. Cinematic Rehearsals of Phenomenology: On the Ontic-Ontological Schema and Heideggerian Film Theory.John Rhym - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):79-97.
    This article argues that the strengths and problems of Shawn Loht's Phenomenology of Film: A Heideggerian Account of the Film Experience (2017) are rooted in its method, which derives from a specific interpretation of Heidegger's existential analytic and from the critical strategy implemented by Heidegger – and thus later adopted by his readers and applied to various disciplinary domains – in his polemical engagement with the history of philosophy. Central to this method is what I refer to as the ontic-ontological (...)
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  25. Eugenie Brinkema (2022). Life-Destroying Diagrams.Archie Wolfman - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):144-147.
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  26. Matilda Mroz (2020). Framing the Holocaust in Polish Aftermath Cinema: Posthumous Materiality and Unwanted Knowledge.Emily-Rose Baker - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):131-135.
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  27. A Mud Doctor Checking Out the Earth Underneath: Ruminations on Malick’s Days of Heaven and Loht’s Phenomenology of Film.Jason M. Wirth - 2024 - Film-Philosophy 28 (1):98-112.
    This is a philosophical rumination on Shawn Loht’s important extension of “film as philosophy” into a Heideggerian phenomenological account of the philosophical response that cinema can engender. After considering the importance of these kinds of approaches, I turn to Loht’s phenomenological engagement with Terrence Malick’s early masterpiece, Days of Heaven (1978). After sympathetically reviewing his “interpretation”, I expand upon its delineation of “earth and world” to include the “fallenness” of the world as well as the possibility of a metanōetic awakening (...)
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  28. Conclusion: Film "text analysis" a new beginning?Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  29. Intermediality in film: a blending-based perspective.John A. Bateman - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  30. Eat, pray, love: expanding adaptations and global tourism.Joyce Goggin - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  31. From visual narrative grammar to filmic narrative grammar: the narrative structure of static and moving images.Neil Cohn - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  32. From text to recipient: pragmatic insights for filmic meaning construction.Janina Wildfeuer - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  33. Editing space as an audio-visual composition.Martine Huvenne - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  34. Movie physics or dynamic patterns as the skeleton of movies.Wolfgang Wildgen - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  35. Towards a semiotics of film lighting.Theo van Leeuwen & Morten Boeriis - 2016 - In Janina Wildfeuer & John A. Bateman (eds.), Film Text Analysis: New Perspectives on the Analysis of Filmic Meaning. Routledge.
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  36. Experience and explanation in the cinema.Murray Smith - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  37. Movie-made philosophy.Noel Carroll - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  38. Rancière's film theory as deviation.Tom Conley - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  39. Thinking as feast: Raymonde Carasco.Nicole Brenez - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  40. Thinking cinema with Alain Badiou.Alex Ling - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  41. Hurray for Hollywood: philosophy and cinema according to Stanley Cavell.Elisabeth Bronfen - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  42. Strange topologics: Deleuze takes a ride down David Lynch's Lost highway.Bernd Herzogenrath - 2017 - In Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  43. Andre Bazin's film theory and the history of ideas.Angela Dalle Vacche - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  44. Montage Eisenstein: mind the gap.Julia Vassilieva - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  45. From lyrosophy to "anti-philosophy": the thought of cinema in Jean Epstein.Christophe Wall-Romana - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  46. This is your brain on cinema: Antonin Artaud.Gregory Flaxman - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  47. Different, even wholly irrational arguments: the film-philosophy of Bela Balezs.Adrian Martin - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  48. Hugo Mensterberg, film, and philosophy.Robert Sinnerbrink - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  49. Striking poses: gesture, image, and remake in the cinematic Bergson.John Ó Maoiarca - 2017 - In Bernd Herzogenrath (ed.), Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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  50. Introduction: film and|as philosophy: an elective affinity?Bernd Herzogenrath - 2017 - In Film as philosophy. University of Minnesota Press.
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