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Week 3 Notes

by: Katie Schnepf

Week 3 Notes PH 159

Katie Schnepf

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Philosophy and Film
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katie Schnepf on Sunday March 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PH 159 at Boston University taught by in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see Philosophy and Film in PHIL-Philosophy at Boston University.

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Date Created: 03/20/16
Week 3 2/8/16 ● What makes art art? ○ Art Expression theories are very revisionary ■ Ex. according to Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Beethoven aren’t art bc they don’t express single emotions ■ Collingwood’s theory→ form is important bc it triggers emotions that you haven’t been able to express before ○ Personae Theory ■ Unimportant whether the artist expresses the emotions in the artworks, but instead the artists adopts personae in order to express emotions ● Then, Shakespeare’s plays can be considered art ● Allows for many emotions to take place in a work of art ○ However, Personae Theory doesn’t exactly define why something is art like the Tolstoy and Collingwood theories ■ It draws fictional narratives into what constitutes art but it isn’t descriptive enough ○ Quasi Emotions ■ Like regular emotions but less real ■ For example, you don’t run out of a theater and call 911 if a car accident happens on screen, but you may still feel afraid ○ Cognitive Theories ■ Peter Kivy: explains why/how non- representational art (music, abstract art) allows for cognitive recognition ■ Also discusses how this is connected to our opinions about art ■ He believes that music/abstract art mirrors human characteristics/emotions/postures ■ Criticism ● Music may cause emotions that qualify it as art but aren't “the product of any obvious resemblance” ● Defining Art ○ Art should be defined because ■ 1. We want to know why film is art ■ 2. We like defining things ○ Not Art ■ Some films can be artfully made but not “art films” ○ Necessary and Sufficient Conditions ■ Sufficient ● Ex. It is sufficient that if you are a chicken, you are a bird ■ Necessary ● Ex. It is necessary that if you hatched from an egg, you are a chicken ● Not a guarantee though ■ Better example ● “A number is prime if it is only divisible by itself and “1”. “9” is not prime because it is divisible by 3. 7 is prime because it satisfies the condition above. Any number that fails to satisfy the condition above is not prime. Ever number that does satisfy it is prime. Therefore it is necessary and sufficient.” (Direct quote from Prof Garrett’s slide) ■ If you have a list of every condition needed to be a chicken, it would guarantee that anything that fits the list is a chicken. ● This would be a list of the necessary and “conjointly sufficient” conditions ■ Definitions must include both necessary and sufficient conditions ○ Defining art ■ Art is an artifact, meaning it’s made by humans ■ After that, there is disagreement among theorists ■ Some even disagree about the meaning of being “made” by humans ○ Different Theories ■ Functional ● Define art in terms of a unique function ○ Tolstoy, Collingwood, Kant 2/10/16 ● Objections ○ Basically impossible to provide one functional definition for art ○ Bad art v. not art ■ Functi onal theories don’t really allow for there to be “bad art”; instead, it’s just not considered art anymore More Theories ● Institutional ○ “A work of art is an artifact of a kind created to be presented to an art world public” ○ Brillo Pad Box ■ Andy Warhol created an exact replica of a stack of Brillo boxes, but it is considered art while the actual box is not because it was intended to be art ○ Objection ■ Sometimes people don’t intend for the art world public to see their art, but it still should be considered art ■ “Outsider art” ● Historical ○ Something is art if you own it and if it looks like, sounds like, feels like, etc other works of art ○ Objection ■ Too much artwork then ● Too much kitsch ● Ex. Las Vegas Eiffel Tower ■ Proprietary questions ● Does something have to belong to someone to be considered art? ● Ex. Banksy→ graffiti art (does Banksy or the owner of the building own it?) ■ First work ● So what is the original work of art? ● This work of art is like this, which is like this, which is like this…. ● Cluster ○ theory-of-art/ ■ (1) possessing positive aesthetic properties, such as being beautiful, graceful, or elegant (properties which ground a capacity to give sensuous pleasure); ■ (2) being expressive of emotion; ■ (3) being intellectually challenging (i.e., questioning received views and modes of thought); ■ (4) being formally complex and coherent; ■ (5) having a capacity to convey complex meanings; ■ (6) exhibiting an individual point of view; ■ (7) being an exercise of creative imagination (being original); ■ (8) being an artifact or performance which is the product of a high degree of skill; ■ (9) belonging to an established artistic form (music, painting, film, etc.); ■ (10) being the product of an intention to make a work of art. (Gaut, 2000: 28) ○ You must have a cluster of these components ○ Objections ■ Unsatisfying ■ So order ● Essay: The Power of Movies ○ Carroll tries to explain why movies are powerful and why they have so quickly become a dominant art form ○ Attempts to provide a philosophical explanation for people’s interest and engagement with film ○ Realism ■ Bazin believes that film is the medium that best captures reality ■ Carroll dismisses this position ○ Semiotics ■ “Semiotics”-study of signs ■ Learning to watch film is like a child learning a language ■ Carroll also disagrees with this ○ Pictorial Representations ■ “Films draw on our capacity to rapidly make sense of pictorial representations and understand their references” (direct quote from Prof Garrett’s slide) ■ We can understand what any photograph is representing without having to “learn” how to read it ○ Variable Framing ■ Indexing, scaling, and bracketing ■ Allow the filmmaker to guide the viewer’s image experience 2/12/16 ● Different Theories ○ Functional ○ Institutional ○ Historical ○ Cluster ■ Which cluster? ■ How much? ■ Too guided by high art or visual art? ■ What does this actually tell us? ● The Power of Movies ○ Carroll argues against 2 relevant film theories ■ Realist ■ Semiotic ○ However, though there are many conventions (180 degree line, rule of thirds etc), there are also many disanalogies because you can acquire them and achieve fluency much later than language learning, so it’s not really like a language ○ Ploughs ■ Films are like ploughs because they are “cultural constructions and extensions of natural capacities that further these natural capacities o a unified end” (direct quote from Prof Garrett’s slide) ○ Erotetic Narrative ■ Narrative built on questions and answers ■ Throughout the movie, the answers to the questions posed at the beginning of the movie will all be answered ■ Micro and macro questions ○ Summary of Essay ■ Power of movies comes from ● 1. Pictorial Representations ● 2. Variable Framing ● 3. Erotetic Narrative ● Langer ○ Films are similar to dreams in that we “experience a visual and auditory flow of apparently disconnected images, times, and spaces. We often feel as if we are at the center of this flow” (direct quote from Prof Garrett) ○ However, some films make audiences make sense of the images and sounds without drawing on these conventions ● Costa ○


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