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Thinking Through Film: Doing Philosophy, Watching Movies

ISBN: 978-1-4443-4382-3
244 pages
July 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Thinking Through Film: Doing Philosophy, Watching Movies (1444343823) cover image
An introduction to philosophy through film, Thinking Through Film: Doing Philosophy, Watching Movies combines the exploration of fundamental philosophical issues with the experience of viewing films, and provides an engaging reading experience for undergraduate students, philosophy enthusiasts and film buffs alike.
  • An in-depth yet accessible introduction to the philosophical issues raised by films, film spectatorship and film-making
  • Provides 12 self-contained, close discussions of individual films from across genres
  • Films discussed include Total Recall, Minority Report, La Promesse, Funny Games, Ikuru, The Dark Knight, Memento, AI and more
  • Explores concepts that span epistemology, metaphysics, fate, choice, robot love, time travel, personal identity, spectacle, ethics, luck, regret, consequentialism, deontology and the philosophy of film itself
  • A uniquely flexible resource for courses in philosophy and film that encourages student reflection, as well as being an engaging read for the film enthusiast
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Preface vii

Acknowledgments x

Part I Philosophy and Film 1

1 Why Film and Philosophy? 3

2 Philosophy and Film Spectatorship 23

Part II Epistemology and Metaphysics 47

3 Knowing What's What in Total Recall 49

4 Ontology and The Matrix 65

5 It's All in the Mind: AI Artifi cial Intelligence and Robot Love 79

6 La Jetée and the Promise of Time Travel 98

Part III The Human Condition 113

7 Fate and Choice: The Philosophy of Minority Report 115

8 Personal Identity: The Case of Memento 132

9 The Spectacle of Horror: Funny Games 147

10 Looking for Meaning in All the Wrong Places: Ikiru ("To Live") 170

Part IV Ethics and Values 189

11 Crimes and Misdemeanors and the Fragility of Moral Motivation 191

12 The Lives of Others: Moral Luck and Regret 209

13 The Dark Knight: Batman on Deontology and Consequentialism 228

14 Dangerous Childhood: La Promesse and the Possibility of Virtue 245

Index 265

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Damian Cox is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Bond University.  He is co-author of Integrity and the Fragile Self with Michael Levine and Marguerite La Caze in 2003. Cox has written widely on philosophical topics including ethics, value theory, metaphysics and epistemology.

Michael Levine is professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia, and has co-authored Politics Most Unusual: Violence, Sovereignty and Democracy in the ‘War on Terror' with Damian Cox and Saul Newman (2009). He is currently working on the topic of the role of regret and self-assessment in our moral lives.

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  • An in-depth yet accessible introduction to the philosophical issues raised by films, film spectatorship and film making
  • Provides 12 self-contained, close discussions of individual films from across genres
  • Films discussed include Total Recall, Minority Report, La Promesse, Funny Games, Ikuru, The Dark Knight, Memento, AI and more
  • Explores concepts that span epistemology, metaphysics, fate, choice, robot love, time travel, personal identity, spectacle, ethics, luck, regret, consequentialism, deontology and the philosophy of film itself
  • A uniquely flexible resource for courses in philosophy and film that encourages student reflection, as well as being an engaging read for the film enthusiast
See More
Thinking Through Film provides the best introduction available to the diverse relationships between film and philosophy.  Clearly written and persuasively argued, it will benefit students of both film and philosophy. 

Thomas E. Wartenberg, Mount Holyoke College

Cox and Levine's admirable Thinking Through Film picks up where Philosophy Goes to the Movies left off, arguing that films not only do philosophy but, in some cases, do it better than philosophers! The result is a rich and rewarding examination of films-from metaphysical thought experiments, personal identity puzzles, to reflections on the meaning of life-that shows, in bracing, no-nonsense fashion, how popular cinema can do serious philosophy.  

Roger Sinnerbrink, Macquarie University

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