Philosophy | Contemporary Controversies in Philosophy of art
P347 | 28100 | Weinberg


Although the history of the philosophy of art is nearly as old as
the history of philosophy itself, philosophical attention to film
is, of course, a rather more recent phenomenon.  This course will
engage of smorgasbord of philosophical topics that arise in
considering the cinemaand our lives as watchers & consumers of
movies.  Topics will include:

--Can one define the nature of film art?  And do such definitions
have normative consequences -- that is, do movie-makers have an
artistic obligation to make films that live up to their nature as
films?

--Does the photographic nature of (most) film matter to its
aesthetic and artistic aspect?

--How is it that fictional movies are able to move us emotionally,
even when we know that they are fictions?  And why do so many of us
seem to enjoy movies that make us feel BAD, by making us sad (as
tragedies do) or scared (as horror flicks do)?

--In what ways are our imaginations engaged by movies?  Can we make
sense of the idea that we somehow imagine _ourselves_ into the world
of the film?  Conversely, can we make sense of how we are moved by
movies if we don't take ourselves to be somehow inside the world of
the film?

--Can individual movies have specifically philosophical contents?
What about movie genres, such as film noir or westerns or comedies
of remarriage? Can movies teach us to be better people -- and, if
so, can they not also corrupt us into being worse ones?

Texts will include Carroll & Choi, Philosophy of Film and Motion
Pictures; Carroll, The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the
Heart, and Perkins, Film as Film.   There will be a LOT of reading
in the class, as well as weekly short writing assignments, and
required participation in on-line discussions of both the texts and
of assigned films.