Philosophy and Film (MLA)

Graduate Courses

CINE 502 - Philosophy and Film (MLA)

PHIL 522
640 |Karen Detlefsen |M 6:30-9:10pm |COHN 493

This course examines several central ideas in the major areas of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, value theory) through the use of movies supplemented by philosophical texts. We shall watch five or six movies especially rich in philosophical themes, and discuss these themes, as well as the movies? success in treating the philosophical ideas. Movies we shall watch and themes we shall discuss may include the following: The Matrix: What is the relation between appearance and reality? Are the people in the matrix free, and if so, in what sense? Is there anything wrong with being in the matrix? The Seventh Seal: What is the meaning of life, and does the answer to this depend upon whether or not there is an after life? How, if at all, can we reconcile God's existence with the fact of evil and human suffering? Memento: What makes someone the same person over time? Does someone who undergoes a radical change in personality remain the same person? Can one be held responsible and punished for committing acts she does not remember having committed? Minority Report: Is one free if his future actions are known in advance? Why do we punish people? For their actions or for the intention behind those actions? Battle of Algiers: Can colonialism ever be justified? Is terrorism ever a legitimate way to bring about political change? Can torture ever be justified? Mr. Death: Should speech, especially hate speech, ever be legally regulated? Can we reach certainty about the truth of past events? Are we to be held ethically responsible for the beliefs that we hold? Does the artist (in this case the filmmaker) have moral obligations to his audience in how she or he presents controversial material?

last updated 06/23/2014 - 1:13pm

Cinema Studies Program
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