New Philosophy

Other Trends in New Philosophy

What is philosophy of film?

Film criticism, both scholarly and popular, has a history as long as visual media. But philosophy of film, as a contemporary subfield in aesthetics, or philosophy of art, dates from the 1970s. As in other fields, the philosophy of film is similar to the theory of film undertaken by specialists in film or film studies.

There are philosophers who, like film theorists and critics, specifically study film as a self-contained medium, philosophical cultural critics who use film as “evidence” of broad beliefs in contemporary culture, and philosophers who turn to film for examples in ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, feminism, and many other philosophical interests and subfields.

As well, some films directly raise philosophical questions, such as the questions about what is real in The Matrix (1999) and its sequels, and the nature of memory and identity raised by Momento (2000) and the children’s film The NeverEnding Story (1984). There are, moreover, films that are directly about philosophy and philosophers such as The Ister (2004), which is about Martin Heidegger (1889–1976).

Contemporary sources on philosophy and film include: Richard Allen and Murray Smith, editors, Film Theory and Philosophy (1997); Gregory Currie, Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science (1995); and Cynthia A. Freeland and Thomas E. Wartenberg, Philosophy and Film (1995). The online journal Film-Philosophy: A Philosophical Review of Film Studies and World Cinema is an ongoing source of contemporary work and additional sources.


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