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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Lifelong Learning (PPL)

Undergraduate Course: Philosophy and Film (LLLI07022)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will address issues in the philosophy of film, such as: How do films engage our emotions? What is film's connection with reality? Can films be moral or immoral? In addition, we will examine the treatment of philosophical issues and concepts in film and consider the claim that some films may themselves be considered works of philosophy.

This is a for-credit course offered by the Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL); only students registered with OLL should be enrolled.
Course description 1. Introduction ¿ Plato¿s Cine-Cave. This class will explain the link between modern-day cinema and Plato¿s Allegory of the Cave as a way of introducing the various relationships between philosophy and film.

2. Film as Art. Philosophizing about film began in earnest in the early twentieth century in response to the sceptical claim that, given its basis in photography, film could not be art. This class will explore the philosophical and cinematic challenges to the claim that film is the mere reproduction of reality.

3. Film and Reality. Rather than viewing film¿s basis in reality as a weakness to be overcome, some theorists have considered film¿s ability to re-present reality as its greatest strength. This class will address Realism as both an ontological and stylistic feature of film.

4. Ontology of Cinema. Ontology is the study of being. As such, the ontology of cinema is the inquiry into the kind of thing that cinema is ¿ an attempt to answer the question ¿What is film?¿. This class will examine various philosophers¿ attempts to establish the sine qua non of film.

5. Film and Emotion. Whatever film is, it is clear that it has the ability to produce strong emotional responses in the viewer. This class will consider why we become so emotionally involved in what we know to be fictional events and why it is that we, paradoxically, enjoy horror and tragedy in film.

6. Film and Morality. It is often argued that, as well as evoking emotional responses, some films can give rise to morally significant behaviour. This class will assess the grounds for labelling films as moral or immoral and will consider film¿s ability as a force for good or evil.

7. Documentary Truth. The line between documentary film and fiction film is increasingly blurred. This class will examine whether a valid distinction can still be made and whether it is possible for documentary film to provide us with an objective account of reality.

8. Philosophy through Film. Increasingly, film is being used as a pedagogical tool in philosophy classes and lectures. This class will show how film can be of use in understanding philosophy by addressing a key philosophical issue through its treatment in film.

9. Film as Philosophy. Some philosophers claim that film can be of more than mere instrumental value to philosophy. This class will consider the idea that some films, rather than being mere vehicles for previously held philosophical ideas or arguments, may be thought of as actually doing philosophy.

10. A Future Filmosophy. What does the future hold for the relationship between film and philosophy? This final class will consider potential developments in this growing field.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  10
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 3
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2000 word essay submitted after the course finishes, worth 100% of the total course mark.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
* Think analytically about film;
* Apply a range of philosophical theories/ perspectives to film;
* Understand philosophical concepts/ issues conveyed in film;
* Explain the different relationships between philosophy and film;
* Enjoy and discuss film from a more informed viewpoint.

Reading List
A course reader of essential readings from the below recommended texts will be provided.

Carel, H. and Tuck, G., eds., 2011. New Takes in Film-Philosophy. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Carroll, N., 2008. The Philosophy of Motion Pictures. Oxford: Blackwell.

Carroll, N. and Choi, J., eds. 2006. The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: an Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell.

Cox, D. and Levine, M.P., 2012. Thinking Through Film: doing philosophy, watching movies. London; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Falzon, C., 2007. Philosophy Goes to the Movies: an introduction to philosophy. 2nd ed. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge.

Freeland, C.A. and Wartenberg, T.E, eds., 1995. Philosophy and Film. London; New York: Routledge.

Fumerton, R. and Jeske, D, eds., 2009. Introducing Philosophy though Film. Oxford; New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Gaut, B., 2010. A Philosophy of Cinematic Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Litch, M., 2010. Philosophy Through Film. 2nd ed. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge.

Livingston, P. and Plantinga, C., eds., 2009. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge.

Shaw, D., 2008. Film and Philosophy: Taking Movies Seriously. London: Wallflower Press.

Sinnerbrink, R., 2011. New Philosophies of Film: thinking images. London; New York: Continuum.

Smith, M. and Wartenberg, T.E., eds., 2006. Thinking through Cinema: Film as Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell.

Wartenberg, T.E. and Curran, A., eds., 2005. The Philosophy of Film: Introductory Text and Readings. Oxford: Blackwell.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills * Analytical skills;
* Critical reading/ viewing;
* Participation in group discussion.
KeywordsFilm Philosophy
Course organiserMr James Mooney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3077
Course secretaryMrs Sabine Murdoch
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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