PHIL 440 - Philosophy of Film
Section: 001
Term: WN 2011
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
One of the following: a philosophy course at the 300-level or above, one course in History of Art, one course in Screen Arts and Cultures, or permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Meet Together Classes:
Primary Instructor:

From the inception of the film medium, philosophy and film theory have attempted to articulate the nature and possibilities of this medium. They have addressed how film is similar and different to other arts, and how it appropriates elements from those arts (painting, opera, photography, theater) in dazzling new ways. A wide variety of writings have tried to fathom film’s immediate popularity and its social forces (actual and potential). They have interrogated the way film frames women, passes on and creates stereotypes, fancifies the world in problematical ways. The faces of Garbo, Chaplin, Cary Grant are utterly familiar, but also exist in a netherworld. The attempt to find the best words to describe the ontological (and phenomenal) character of these faces in films has partly eluded a century of the most sophisticated film theory. Since there is no form of art and communication more central to contemporary life than film (more crucial to the fabric of our beliefs, ideologies, enjoyment, politics, advertisements) these questions have been posed with considerable urgency throughout film history. Such reflections have not been restricted to writing about film. Film has also, from the beginning, been actively involved in its own investigation, just as it has been actively involved in innovation in the film medium. Film’s own involvement in philosophical reflection upon itself raises the question of what it means for a visual medium to “speak philosophically” about itself at all, indeed to what it means for a visual medium to “speak” at all. Another kind of question that will run throughout is where philosophy ends and film theory begins, whether these terms are interchangeable or not, and if not, why not. It is these and other questions, posed by philosophy, criticism, sociology, politics, and also by film itself, which shall occupy the class. The class will be designed to integrate the weekly viewing of films with the reading of a variety of writings on film in order to explore questions in the philosophy of film, and in philosophy generally.

PHIL 440 - Philosophy of Film
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
M 2:00PM - 5:00PM
002 (LAB)
W 5:00PM - 7:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
Dollar Bill, 611 Church Street, Ann Arbor
only the Sixth Edition of Film Theory and Criticism will work for this class. Do not use the seventh edition of this textbook, or any other. Thank you.
ISBN: 0674961978
The world viewed : reflections on the ontology of film, Author: Stanley Cavell., Publisher: Harvard University Press Enl. ed. 1979
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0307489736
The power of movies how screen and mind interact, Author: Colin McGinn., Publisher: Vintage Books 2005
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0195158172
Film theory and criticism : introductory readings, Author: edited by Leo Braudy, Marshall Cohen., Publisher: Oxford University Press 6th ed. 2004
ISBN: 9780231518581
The star as icon : celebrity in the age of mass consumption, Author: Daniel Herwitz., Publisher: Columbia University Press 2008
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9781593082987
The interpretation of dreams, Author: by Sigmund Freud ; translated by A.A. Brill ; with an introduction and notes by Daniel T. O'Hara and Gina Masucci MacKenzie., Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics 2005
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0585299765
Claims to fame celebrity in contemporary America, Author: Joshua Gamson., Publisher: University of California Press 1994
Other Textbook Editions OK.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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