‘What Makes My Image of Him into an Image of Him?’: Philosophers on Film and the Question of Educational Meaning

Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4) (2016)
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This paper proceeds from the premise that film can be educational in a broader sense than its current use in classrooms for illustrative purposes, and explores the idea that film might function as a form of education in itself. To investigate the phenomenon of film as education, it is necessary to first address a number of assumptions about film, the most important of which is its objective character under study. The objective study of film holds that the meaning of film awaits its correct interpretation according to an informed viewer. I suggest that theoretical modes of interpretation in this vein really amount to attempts to control meaning via a particular lens, rather than allowing films to present meaning in necessarily ambiguous, and thus sometimes unsettling, ways. Situating film as the object of study in this way continues a tradition of empiricism or naturalism in thought that both Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Ludwig Wittgenstein sought to critique as psychologism. Whilst no claim is made for reconceiving of Wittgenstein as phenomenologist, a dialogue between the Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology and the Phenomenology of Perception reveals sympathies in attempts made by both to overcome a metaphysics of the perceived or experienced object, thereby broadening the educational reach of film.



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References found in this work

Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
Signs.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 2018 - Chiasmi International 20:231-231.
Phenomenology of Perception.Aron Gurwitsch, M. Merleau-Ponty & Colin Smith - 1964 - Philosophical Review 73 (3):417.
The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film.James Milton Highsmith & Stanley Cavell - 1972 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 31 (1):134.

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