Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy

Paperback | April 25, 2012

byPaisley Livingston

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The increasingly popular idea that cinematic fictions can 'do' philosophy raises some difficult questions. Who is actually doing the philosophizing? Is it the philosophical commentator who reads general arguments or theories into the stories conveyed by a film? Could it be the film-maker, or agroup of collaborating film-makers, who raise and try to answer philosophical questions with a film? Is there something about the experience of films that is especially suited to the stimulation of worthwhile philosophical reflections? In the first part of this book, Paisley Livingston surveys positions and arguments surrounding the cinema's philosophical value. He raises criticisms of bold theses in this area and defends a moderate view of film's possible contributions to philosophy. In the second part of the book he defends anintentionalist approach that focuses on the film-makers' philosophical background assumptions, sources, and aims. Livingston outlines intentionalist interpretative principles as well as an account of authorship in cinema. The third part of the book exemplifies this intentionalist approach withreference to the work of Ingmar Bergman. Livingston explores the connection between Bergman's work and the Swedish director's primary philosophical source-a treatise in philosophical psychology authored by the Finnish philosopher, Eino Kaila. Bergman proclaimed that reading this book was a tremendous philosophical experience for him andthat he 'built on this ground'. With reference to materials in the newly created Ingmar Bergman archive, Livingston shows how Bergman took up Kaila's topics in his cinematic explorations of motivated irrationality, inauthenticity, and the problem of self-knowledge.

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The increasingly popular idea that cinematic fictions can 'do' philosophy raises some difficult questions. Who is actually doing the philosophizing? Is it the philosophical commentator who reads general arguments or theories into the stories conveyed by a film? Could it be the film-maker, or agroup of collaborating film-makers, who rai...

Paisley Livingston has a BA in Philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD from The Johns Hopkins University. He is Chair Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Humanities at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He has held teaching and research positions at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, McGill University, l'Ecole Polytechnique (P...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pagesPublished:April 25, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199655146

ISBN - 13:9780199655144

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Table of Contents

IntroductionIllustrationsPart One: Surveying cinema as philosophy1. Theses on cinema as philosophy2. Arguing over cinema as philosophyPart Two: An intentionalist approach to film as philosophy3. Types of authorship in the cinema4. Partial intentionalismPart Three: On Ingmar Bergman and philosophy5. Bergman, Kaila, and the faces of irrationality6. Value, authenticity, and fantasy in BergmanConclusion

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "Livingston's book covers an impressive amount of territory in an exceptionally clear, and often lively, fashion. He is rigorous and yet generous with argumentative opponents. The book balances abstract, conceptual argument with the close analysis of particularfilms and sequences very effectively." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews