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Philosophy in motion

Noël Carroll

From It's a Wonderful Life to the Matrix, films have often been used to present philosophical ideas. Leading figure in the Philosophy of Art and specialist in the moving image Noël Carroll looks at cinema to ask what it means to truly 'philosophise'.

Instructor
  • Noel Carroll
    Noël Carroll

    Noël Carroll is a distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is known as one of the most important contemporary figures in Philosophy of Art.

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About the Course

 

In the 90’s, the field of film and philosophy expanded momentously. The idea that films could be philosophy, or at least express philosophical concepts, began being investigated at universities and schools throughout the world. Yet there remain those who argue that philosophy cannot be done through the medium of film – that philosophy can only be expressed through the spoken or written word.

What is philosophy in film, and how does this differ from the philosophy of film? Does a film need to explicitly endorse one philosophical view in order to be regarded as philosophy, or can it leave open questions? How can narrative be used to push certain ideas and does this make a film philosophical, or is this simply a feature of art?

Leading contemporary philosopher of art Noël Carroll, author of The Philosophy of Horror and Mystifying Movies examines the different approaches to cinematic philosophy and responds to the critics to thoroughly and vigorously defend the legitimacy and potential of the field of philosophy through film.

 

By the end of the course, you will have learned:

• Why baby boomers are responsible for the popularity of cinematic philosophy

• What The Walking Dead is saying about humanity

• Why The Fountainhead illustrates a thesis, while Blade Runner only illustrates a theme

• Why certain sceptics argue that it is impossible to philosophise through film

• Why these sceptics are wrong

 

As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning, suggested further readings to stimulate a deeper exploration of the topic and discussion boards where you can have your say.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.

About the Instructor

  • Noël Carroll

    Noël Carroll is a distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is known as one of the most important contemporary figures in Philosophy of Art. Noël is one of the few individuals in the world who has PhDs in both Cinema Studies and Philosophy.

    In 2002, Noël received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his research into dance and was named as ‘the sixth most influential philosopher of art since 1945’ by the Philosophical Gourmet Report.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: What is Cinematic Philosophy?
    Two approaches have emerged in discussing how films can 'do' philosophy. Some argue that cinema provides an expressive medium for representing thought, whilst others argue that film functions as a thought experiment. Noël summarises these two camps.
  • Part Two: Defending Cinematic Philosophy
    Noël sets out and responds to the main objections to the idea of film as a medium for philosophy, and makes the case for his solution to the problem.