Finding Ourselves at the Movies: Philosophy for a New Generation

Kobo ebook | November 12, 2013

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 philosophy must be brought to bear on contemporary discourse surrounding these primal concerns, and he shows how this can be achieved through a turn to popular film.

In 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, and he treats our present-day anxieties over justice, love, and faith as signs these traditional imaginative structures have failed. His inquiry proceeds in two parts. First, he uses film to explore the nature of action and interpretation, and narrative, not abstraction, emerges as 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 comedies, slasher films, and pornography, Kahn gains access to the social imaginary, through which we create and maintain a meaningful world.

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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 philosophy must be brought to bear on contemporary discourse surrounding these primal concerns, and he shows how this ca...

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:Kobo ebookPublished:November 12, 2013Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023153602X

ISBN - 13:9780231536028

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I: From Philosophy to Film
1. Philosophy, Democracy, and the Turn to Film
2. Freedom and Persuasion
3. On Interpretation
Part II: Film and the Social Imaginary
4. Violence and the State
5. Love, Romance, and Pornography
Conclusion: Film, Faith, and Love
Notes
Bibliography: Essays on Sources
Index

Editorial Reviews

Kahn's work is rich, thought provoking, and will inspire much further discussion.... Finding Ourselves at the Movies will be of keen interest to scholars working in the field of film and philosophy, and constitutes a valuable addition to this area of scholarship.