Philosophy and Film Final Exam Study Guide
Philosophy and Film Final Exam Study Guide PH 159
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This 11 page Study Guide was uploaded by Katie Schnepf on Sunday September 25, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PH 159 at Boston University taught by in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see Philosophy and Film in PHIL-Philosophy at Boston University.
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PH159 Study Guide 2/3/16 ● Tolstoy attempts to provide a revi ionary self expression account of art that set out a condition that must be met for something to be an artwork. ● Tolstoy’s definition revised for film Art is the activity of making artworks. A film is rtwork if it : combines visual images (and sounds) in such a way as to transfer an emotion to a viewer that was sincerely felt by the artist. 2/5/16 ● Problems with Tolstoy There is clearly something attractive about this definition.There are certain kinds of artwork that seem to fit it well confessional poems for example.But so much rests though on the fact that the author is supposed to feel an identically emotion to the viewer that it seems completely insupportable. ● Furthermore it seems like artworks may communicate multiple emotions and the complexity of the multiple emotions is crucial to making it an artwork. It may not be coherent for Tolstoy to revise this away. ● If we get rid of the criterion that it has to elici ame emotion the artist felt when creating the work then we could say instead th at it must arouse an emotion in the audience intended by the artist. ● There are problems here too.Which audience? Also why does arousing an emotion qualify something as art all sorts of films that no one would accuse of being art arouse emotions. ● There are problems here too.Which audience? Also why does arousing an emotion qualify something as art all sorts of films that no one would accuse of being art arouse emotions. ● Collingwood still holds that art expresses an emotion that the artist feels, in this case the emotion that was clarified through the process of creating the artwork. It seems that this again might be too revisionary. It also gives a very restrictive account of creativity that is rare in film. 2/8/16 ● Personae ● Another sort of theory argues that it is not important that the artist express the emotions. Rather the emotions are expressed by p ersonae that the artist adopts to express the emotions in a fiction. ● This has a number of advantages. It drops a requirement that seems unattainable in many sorts of art. It allows for multiple, complex emotions. It allows for a kind of revelation akin to that which Collingwood describes. And it captures some aspects of how fiction works, and even perhaps how documentary and nonfiction work. ● This theory denies that the emotions that the author feels are being expressed i mmediately in the artwork.They are always expressed through the adoption of some sort of persona. ● But do all sorts of art use ersonae? Think of film music. Or think of shots without characters in them that have an important role in the film.They might be interpreted as having been viewed through an artistic persona, the director as creator of the visual mood. But that seems a stretch, and it brings us back to square one at best! ● Walton’s solution (to the arousal theory)Walton distinguishes between the emotion and the object of the emotion.The object of the emotion may be intrinsically scary serial killer or monster or lovable for that matter but that doesn’t mean that the emotion is negatively or positively valued in the same way the object is. ● Makebelieve ○ According to Walton, when we fear or love a movie image we are engaging in a game of pretend or makebelieve like a child does when playing an imaginary game involving monsters or heroes.When viewing we pretend we are in a world which includes us and monster, etc., structured according to implicit rules. ○ And what we experience is not really an emotion of the sort we feel in real life for example when we receive a Valentine’s Day card but uasiemotion. It’s a feeling connected to certain objects like the emotion is, but a play feeling ● Not literally ○ We don’t literally fear a monster in a film or love a star unless we are deranged. We engage in a game of makebelieve with private and public elements which involves pretense of fearing the slime and a distinctive pleasurable response which makebelievedly is fear. Quasiemotions are what make certain experiences art. ○ One obvious objection is that there are all sorts of films (and artworks) that don’t feel like makebelieve and involve the belief that we are engaged in a fiction.And some of the emotions that arise from fictions seem very real perhaps even more real and profound than our everyday emotions. ● Cognitive Theories ○ We’ve been mostly thinking about narrative film.A whole other approach to artworks is offered by philosophers like Peter Kivy who want to explain why nonrepresentational art music, abstract painting gives rise to cognitive recognition and how this is connected with our appraisal of it as art. ○ According to this account, music and abstract art resemble the posture or other sorts of features of persons in a way that gives rise to the insights.Think of how a soundtrack works in a film.You will hear this in a Jeté nd you’ve already heard it in auvais Sang. ● Problem ○ An objection to this is that music may give rise to emotions that are sufficient for it being art, but don’t seem to be the product of any obvious resemblance. ● Necessary & Sufficient Conditions ○ It i ufficient to be a chicken to be a bird, i.e. it is guaranteed that if you are a chicken you are a bird. ○ It i ecessary to have been hatched from an egg to be a chicken, i.e. you have to have the property “hatched from an egg” in order to be a chicken. BUT this doesn’t guarantee you are a chicken, you could be a turtle. 2/10/16 ● What is art? ○ An artifact (made by humans) ● Different Theories ○ Functional: art is defined by its function; i.e. bad art is not art ■ Tolstoy, Collingwood, Kant ■ Objections ● Bad art is still art ● Too revisionary ○ Institutional: something is art if it is presented to the artworld public ■ Theory is motivated by the Warhol Brillo pad box, which was considered art when placed in a museum yet not when in a store ■ Objections ● Hidden art ○ Historical: art can be anything that resembles previous art ■ Objections ● Too many things will be art ○ Ex. Las Vegas Eiffel Tower—not art but looks like real art ● Proprietary must have an author to the artwork ○ Graffiti Art who is the author, the world may never know ● First work of art in a specific genre ○ What is the first artwork? ○ Cluster: something is art if it meets a certain number of necessary but not sufficient conditions ■ Example of some conditions ● 1. Production shows specialized skills ● 2. Form displays style ● 3. Valued for displaying creativity ■ Objection ● List is unsatisfying ● No principal distinction between art and nonart ● The Power of Movies—CARROLL ○ Why are movies the dominant art form? ■ Bazin: film is the medium that best captures reality ■ Semiotics: learning to watch film is like learning a language ■ Carroll disagrees with these explanations, arguing for the following ● Pictorial Representations: We understand what any photograph is representing without having to “learn” how to read it ○ Filmmakers use devices to direct the audience’s attention (AKA Variable Framing) ■ Indexing: when camera is moved toward an object (like pointing) ■ Bracketing: anything not in the frame has been bracketed (can be in space or time) ■ Scaling: enlarging screen size of an object shows importance ○ The also use Erotetic Narrative ■ Question and answer narrative ■ Filmmaker raises questions and viewer tries to answer them 2/16/16 ● Medium Essentialism: each artform has its own medium, distinguishing it from other forms ● Medium Specificity: different artistic media excel at some things and fail at others ● Defining the Moving Image—CARROLL ○ 5 Necessary Conditions Comprise a Moving Image ■ 1. Detached Display ● Images are poor guides to reality ● Example: when watching a horse race you can orient yourself towards the track ○ But in a movie about horse racing, you can’t orient yourself towards the race track ● Complication: without context even in reality if you only see a snapshot you have a bad concept of reality (i.e. only a shot of your window if you didn’t know where it was) ■ 2. Moving Images ● Complication: static films ■ 3. Performance Tokens Generated by Templates that Are Tokens ● Template: DVDs etc ● Performance Token: projected images by the template ● Difficult to say what the type is when discussing film ○ The negative? ○ An ideal of the movie in the director’s head? ○ The story that ended up being communicated? ■ 4. Performance tokens are not artworks ● Projections are not art, the thing being projected is ■ 5. 2Dimensional ● Holograms tho 2/19/16 ● Photography and Representation—SCRUTON ○ Film is not representational art ■ 1. Photography is not representational art ■ 2. A film is at best a photograph of a dramatic representation ● Most vulnerable contention bc film is more than just a stream of photos ■ 3. Therefore, film itself is not representational art ● Photography is a not mode of representation in the sense that painting is a representation ● Painting vs. photography—artist intends you to see what is happening in the painting whereas photos are only causally linked to their subjects ○ Lack of control (photobombs) ○ He also believes that the aesthetic value of photography comes from the subject itself 2/22/16 ● Transparent Picture: On the Nature of Photographic Realism—WALTON ○ Photographs are always of things that exist ○ Cameras are like telescopes, microscopes, and windows ○ Perceiving vs. believing ○ Counterfactuals ■ A counterfactual is a proposition in the form ■ “If not __ then __” where “If not __” is contrary to the facts. ■ Imagine a photo and a sketch of Grandma. ■ PHOTO —“If Grandma hadn’t existed at the point in time when I took her photograph, then no photo of Grandma.” ■ PAINTING — “If Grandma hadn’t existed at the point in time when I painted her, my beliefs about her would have changed.” ○ Photos Transparency ■ We don’t need to rely on photographer’s judgement ■ Eye transplant experiment ● 1. Someone’s eyes are taken out and replaced with bionic simulation cameras which depict the world accurately ○ Neuroscientist could control the information ● 2. Someone’s eyes are replaced with biological eyes 2/24/16 ● Natural Meaning walton ○ Photos have a natural meaning in the way spots naturally mean measles but a red light does not naturally mean stop ○ Visual translator vs. word translator ● The Aesthetics of Photographic Transparency—LOPES ○ Contra Scruton ○ When we look at photographs we literally see the objects they are of ○ Seeing photographs as photographs engages aesthetic interest not engaged when seeing the actual objects ○ Style argument (against Scruton): photographers have control over their photos (which moment in time to capture, focal length, grain, image selection etc.) ○ Object Argument: there is an aesthetic interest in photographs as photographs ○ Reasons you may take an interest in a photograph specifically: ■ Fixed in time so we can see properties that are not normally revealed in reality ■ Bridge both spatial and temporal distances (so you can see a dead person) ■ Decontextualizes ■ Camera disturbs natural scene so shows moments differently than could be achieved in real life ■ Black and white/different filters etc bring out texture/form ○ These give rise to aesthetic values specific to photos ■ 2 Dimensions ● Measure of authenticity, accuracy, truthfulness of photos ● Measures promotion of revelatory, transformative, or defamiliarizing seeing ○ Lopes argues — contra Scruton — that these give rise to aesthetic values specific to photography which is not just what is photographed. It “has two dimensions. One measures the authenticity, accuracy, or truthfulness of a photograph; the other measures its promotion of revelatory, transformative, or defamiliarizing seeing.” (445) ● Cinema as a Representational Art—ABELL ○ Counter to Scruton ○ Cinematic representation is a species of pictorial representation ○ Cinematic representation involves primary depiction ○ While Scruton claims editing is just an external arrangement of causally generated images, Abell argues that film is different by depicting things through time ■ Temporal sequence ○ Something can be a representational artwork only if it is aesthetically rewarding in virtue of the way it represents its object ○ Scruton’s claims for why photos aren’t representations: ■ 1. Don’t bear intentional relations to their subjects so they can’t express their maker’s thoughts ■ 2. Photos can’t add anything of aesthetic interest that the subject didn’t already have ○ However, much primary cinematic representation is achieved by means of secondary depiction ■ Ex. an actor’s performance of a man’s suicide 2/26/16 ● ABELL cont. ■ Has 6 parts which determine its quality ● Plot ○ Beginning, middle, end and a well structured length and grandness ● Character ○ Must be good, proper, true to life, consistent, and better than ordinary in rank and importance ● Diction ● Thought ● Song ● Spectacle ■ Plot the plot then is the first principle and as it were the soul of a tragedy; character holds the second place. ○ Reversal of fortune ○ Fear and pity 3/23/16 ● Of Tragedy—HUME ○ Why do we watch tragic films if they’re tragic? ○ Dubos’ answer ■ Distract ourselves from sitting around ■ But doesn’t explain why we choose tragedy over other genres ○ Fontenelle’s answer ■ Mixture of pain and pleasure ■ Hume accepts this ○ Fictional narratives ■ Well crafted fictional narratives do something which first hand experiences of real suffering do not ● Temper and redirect feelings through art ■ Eloquence ● Presents the fiction in a beautiful or aesthetically pleasing form ■ Rousing ● Causes strong emotions ■ Tempering ● But not too strong so they aren’t palatable ■ Redirected ● Strong emotions are redirected towards a now newly invigorated aesthetic pleasure ■ Distance ● No one wants to watch something about 9/11 too close after the event 3/28/16 ● Genre and emotion ○ Carroll distinguishes between cognitive affects which he calls emotions and not cognitive affects or moods ● Qualia: subjective feel of something (red has both connotation and denotation) ○ Thought experiment ■ Genius raised in B&W environment who learns all about colors and knows everything about them but she hasn’t actually experienced the qualia of color ● Intentionality: mental directedness toward an object ● Cognitive: involves beliefs or understanding ○ To hate something you have to have a thing to hate and know that the object exists—hate is cognitive ● There’s a difference between a qualia and a fullfledged emotion ○ Startle response vs. other types of anger ○ You have to be angry at something and have certain beliefs about it, but when you’re startled you don’t have beliefs about the thing 3/30/16 ● Genres attempt to raise specific emotions in viewers, acting like searchlights (melodrama, suspense, horror) ● Paradox of Horror—GAUT ○ People like horror ○ Horror characteristically producers fear and disgust in audiences ○ Fear and disgust are intrinsically unpleasant emotions 4/1/16 ● Expressivist solution: ● Enjoyment Theory: we may actually enjoy fear and disgust ○ Mountaineers ○ Roller coasters ○ Why tho? ● Gaut believes that our emotions are evaluative, to fear something is not just to feel a certain way phenomenologically or to relate to an object, but to evaluate the object of one’s fear as dangerous and negative ○ Draws on cognitive theory of emotions ● Horror and Art Dread—FREELAND ○ Art Horror ○ Horror is a moral genre concerned with evil and good ○ Dread ■ Looser sort of fear, mood of menace ■ Powerful and attractive bc we confront issues of cosmic justice, evil, and suffering 4/4/16 ● Scene of Empathy—PLANTINGA ○ Facial close ups are placeholders where complex cognitive judgements land and are reinforced ○ Duration, attention, allegiance, affective congruence, and narrative context are crucial for eliciting emotions often anchored in a “scene of empathy” 4/11/16 ● Character identification in film ○ Characters we value ○ Intelligible aims ○ Value things we value ○ Want what want ○ Common experiences ○ Shared vulnerabilities ● You compare yourself to the character 4/13/16 ● GAUT ○ Objections to identification ■ You don’t really become the person ■ You don’t really imagine yourself becoming the person ■ If POV shots are a primary means of identification we often take the POV of characters we don’t actually identify with ■ Neither sympathy nor empathy is identification ○ Aspectual Identification ■ Perceptual Identification: perceive what the character perceives ■ Epistemic Identification: perception based only on what the character knows and through his feelings ■ Affective Identification: perfection through one character and then another character ● 2 ways we learn through identification ● 1. Learning through what a character learns ● 2. Learning beyond what a character learns ● Standard of Taste —HUME ○ Despite obvious divergences in taste there is a standard of taste ○ How to become educated in taste ■ Learn to judge in context ■ Follow a virtuoso ■ Practice 4/20/16 ● Film as Philosophy ○ LIVINGSTON ■ Bold Thesis: films make historically innovative and independent contributions to philosophy by means exclusive to the cinematic means or art form ■ Dilemma: if the contribution can’t be paraphrased then it’s not clear what it is. If it can, it’s not clear that it’s distinctly cinematic ● Sound ○ Background/room sound ○ Foley ○ Voices ○ Music (diegetic/nondiegetic) 4/22/16 ● Music—COHEN ○ Music influences the inferences we draw, moods and emotions we feel, and our relation to visual images ○ Music can… ■ Mask extraneous sounds ■ Provide continuity ■ Direct attention to important objects on screen ■ Mood ■ Communicates meaning in ambiguous situations ■ Heightens sense of reality ○ Temporalizing ■ Sound imbues images with a sense of time and directedness ■ Gives rhythm and beginning/end 4/25/16 ● Art and Morality—HUME ○ Thesis: Art must provide narratives, characters, and outcomes that have to be morally proper in order for us to consider it good art ● SMITH ○ Perverse allegiance ■ What about when we align with characters like Eli who are immoral? ■ We usually form allegiances in spite of the perversity, because many perverse characters are at least partially good or we empathize with them bc of their mistreatment 4/27/16 ● Immoral Art ○ What about immoral art that asks us to take a side? ○ Looking at a painting through a dirty window vs. looking at a drab painting ● EATON ○ Rough heros ○ Unlike antihero ■ Seriously flawed ■ Flaws are integral to their personality ■ Character intends to do bad ■ Audience does not need to forgive them