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Introducing Philosophy Through Film: Key Texts, Discussion, and Film Selections

Richard Fumerton (Editor), Diane Jeske (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-7102-1
640 pages
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Introducing Philosophy Through Film: Key Texts, Discussion, and Film Selections (1405171022) cover image
Philosophy Through Film offers a uniquely engaging and effective approach to introductory philosophy by combining an anthology of classical and contemporary philosophical readings with a discussion of philosophical concepts illustrated in popular films.
  • Pairs 50 classical and contemporary readings with popular films - from Monty Python and The Matrix to Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange
  • Addresses key areas in philosophy, including topics in ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, free will and determinism, the problem of perception, and philosophy of time
  • Each unit begins with an extensive introduction by the editors and ends with study questions linking readings to films
  • Features chapter by chapter discussion of clips from films that vividly illustrate the critical philosophical arguments and positions raised in the readings
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Preface

Source Acknowledgments

Part I: Introduction: Philosophical Analysis, Argument, and the Relevance of Thought Experiments

Films: Monty Python, "The Argument Skit"; Pulp Fiction; Seinfeld episode: The Soup

Part II: The Problem of Perception

Films: Total Recall; The Matrix; Star Trek TV episode: The Menagerie

Introduction

1. First Meditation and excerpt from Sixth Meditation: René Descartes

2. Some Further Considerations Concerning Our Simple Ideas of Sensation: John Locke

3. Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous: George Berkeley

4. Of the Sceptical and Other Systems of Philosophy: David Hume

5. The Self and the Common World: A. J. Ayer

6. Brains in a Vat: Hilary Putnam

7. The Structure of Skeptical Arguments and its Metaepistemological Implications: Richard Fumerton

8. The Experience Machine: Robert Nozick

Part III: Philosophy of Mind

Films: What Dreams May Come; Bicentennial Man; Heaven Can Wait; The Sixth Day; The Prestige; Multiplicity; Star Trek TV episode: Turn About Intruder

Introduction

9. Second Meditation: René Descartes

10. Descartes’ Myth: Gilbert Ryle

11. Sensations and Brain Processes: J. J. C. Smart

12. What Is It Like to Be a Bat?: Thomas Nagel

13. What Mary Didn’t Know: Frank Jackson

14. Minds, Brains, and Programs: John R. Searle

15. Mad Pain and Martian Pain: David Lewis

16. Eliminative Materialism: Paul Churchland

17. Of Identity and Diversity: John Locke

18. The Self and the Future: Bernard Williams

19. From Reasons and Persons: Derek Parfit

20. A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality: John Perry

21. On the Immortality of the Soul: David Hume

Part IV: EthicsA. Act Consequentialism and its Critics

Films: Abandon Ship!; Fail Safe; Dirty Harry; Sophie’s Choice; Saving Private Ryan; Judgment at Nuremberg; Minority Report: 24 (Season 3: 6.00–7.00 a.m.); Titanic; Vertical Limit

Introduction

22. Utilitarianism: John Stuart Mill

23. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals: Immanuel Kant

24. What Makes Right Acts Right?: W. D. Ross

25. A Critique of Utilitarianism: Bernard Williams

26. An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics: J. J. C. Smart

27. Intending Harm: Shelly Kagan

28. United States v. Holmes (1842)

29. The Queen v Dudley and Stephens

30. War and Massacre: Thomas Nagel

B. Obligations to Intimates

Films: The English Patient; Casablanca; The Third Man; The Music Box; High Noon; Nick of Time; 24 (Season 1: 7.00–8.00 a.m.)

Introduction

31. From Nicomachean Ethics: Aristotle

32. Self and Others: C. D. Broad

33. Filial Morality: Christina Hoff Sommers

34. Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality: Peter Railton

35. Relatives and Relativism: Diane Jeske and Richard Fumerton

36. Families, Friends, and Special Obligations: Diane Jeske

37. An Ethic of Caring: Nel Noddings

Part V: Philosophy of Time

Films: Somewhere in Time; Back to the Future; Planet of the Apes; Frequency; A Sound of Thunder

Introduction

38. Making Things to Have Happened: Roderick M. Chisholm and Richard Taylor

39. Space and Time: Richard Taylor

40. The Paradoxes of Time Travel: David Lewis

Part VI: Free Will, Foreknowledge, and Determinism

Films: Minority Report: The Boys From Brazil: A Clockwork Orange: The Omen: Compulsion: Law and Order ("black rage" defense), Season 5, Episode 69414, Rage (2/01/95)

Introduction

41. From De Interpretatione: Aristotle

42. Of Liberty and Necessity: David Hume

43. Meaning and Free Will: John Hospers

44. Determinism: J. R. Lucas

45. Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person: Harry G. Frankfurt

46. The M’Naghten Rules (1843): House of Lords

47. The Insanity Defense (1956): The American Law Institute

48. What Is So Special About Mental Illness?: Joel Feinberg

Part VII: Philosophy of Religion

Films: Jason and the Argonauts; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Dogma; YouTube: Mr Deity and the Evil

Introduction

49. The Wager: Blaise Pascal

50. The Ontological Argument: Anselm

51. The Cosmological and Design Arguments: William L. Rowe

52. Evil and Omnipotence: J. L. Mackie

53. Why I Am Not a Christian: Bertrand Russell

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Richard Fumerton is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa. He is the author of Metaphysical and Epistemological Problems of Perception (1985), Reason and Morality: A Defense of the Egocentric Perspective (1990), Metaepistemology and Skepticism (1995), Realism and the Correspondence Theory of Truth (2002), Epistemology (Blackwell, 2005), and Mill (with Wendy Donner, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009). His present teaching and research interests include epistemology, metaphysics, and value theory.

Diane Jeske is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa. Her teaching and research interests include ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. She is the author of Rationality and Moral Theory: How Intimacy Generates Reasons (2008).

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  • Pairs 50 classical and contemporary readings with popular films - from Monty Python and The Matrix to Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange to engage students and breathe life into basic philosophical concepts
  • Addresses key areas in philosophy, including topics in ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, free will and determinism, the problem of perception, and philosophy of time
  • Each unit begins with an extensive introduction by the editors and ends with study questions linking readings to films
  • Features chapter by chapter discussion of clips from films that vividly illustrate the critical philosophical arguments and positions raised in the readings
See More
"Introducing Philosophy Through Film is a truly wonderful introduction to the core problems of philosophy. Its combination of great films, classic articles from both historical and contemporary philosophers, wonderfully clear introductions to each section, and provocative questions for discussion make for an introduction that is as compelling as it is rigorous."
-Richard Foley, New York University

"Fumerton and Jeske have compiled an excellent anthology, filled with dozens of classic texts on the central problems of philosophy most often addressed in introductory philosophy courses. And the films they suggest will help introduce students to philosophy in the most enjoyable way possible."
-Michael Huemer, University of Colorado

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