Finding Ourselves at the Movies: Philosophy for a New Generation

Paperback | December 20, 2016

byPaul W. Kahn

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Academic philosophy may have lost its audience, but the traditional subjects of philosophy-love, death, justice, knowledge, and faith-remain as compelling as ever. To reach a new generation, Paul W. Kahn argues that philosophy must take up these fundamental concerns as we find them in contemporary culture. He demonstrates how this can be achieved through a turn to popular film.

Discussing such well-known movies as Forrest Gump (1994), The American President (1995), The Matrix (1999), Memento (2000), The History of Violence (2005), Gran Torino (2008), The Dark Knight (2008), The Road (2009), and Avatar (2009), Kahn explores powerful archetypes and their hold on us. His inquiry proceeds in two parts. First, he uses film to explore the nature of action and interpretation, arguing that narrative is the critical concept for understanding both. Second, he explores the narratives of politics, family, and faith as they appear in popular films. Engaging with genres as diverse as romantic comedy, slasher film, and pornography, Kahn explores the social imaginary through which we create and maintain a meaningful world. He finds in popular films a new setting for a philosophical inquiry into the timeless themes of sacrifice, innocence, rebirth, law, and love.

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Academic philosophy may have lost its audience, but the traditional subjects of philosophy-love, death, justice, knowledge, and faith-remain as compelling as ever. To reach a new generation, Paul W. Kahn argues that philosophy must take up these fundamental concerns as we find them in contemporary culture. He demonstrates how this can...

Paul W. Kahn is Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities and director of the Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for Human Rights at Yale Law School. He is the author of many books, including Sacred Violence: Torture, Terror, and Sovereignty and Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:December 20, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231164394

ISBN - 13:9780231164399

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsPart I: From Philosophy to Film1. Philosophy, Democracy, and the Turn to Film2. Freedom and Persuasion3. On InterpretationPart II: Film and the Social Imaginary4. Violence and the State5. Love, Romance, and PornographyConclusion: Film, Faith, and LoveNotes Bibliography: Essays on Sources Index

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A valuable read.