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The nature of film : presentation, representation, and the imagination
Schummer, Jordan C.
Wheeler, MarkAtterton, PeterNericcio, WillliamBailey, Quentin
vi, 139 pages
This is an essay on the nature of film. In particular, it is an inquiry into the metaphysical and epistemological dimensions of film. I will center my analysis on the question of representation, namely, whether or not films and their constitutive images are essentially representational. Although the prevailing view in film studies and the philosophy of film, I will argue that this view, the representation thesis, is fundamentally mistaken. To this end, I will develop a competing view, the presentation thesis, which avoids the mistakes of the representation thesis, I will develop an alternative account of representation as a subsidiary function, determined by the desires and intentions of agents, and I will critique the accounts of representation defended by leading philosophers of film. The mistake of characterizing films as essentially representational has wide-ranging repercussions. First, it mischaracterizes the nature of film itself. The presentation thesis, according to which films function essentially to present the content out of which they are constituted, serves to put film on a secure theoretical footing. Second, the representation thesis leads to a mistaken view about the nature of fictional entities. Films, I will argue, cannot represent fictional characters because they serve to create and present these characters instead. Third, the representation thesis is intimately bound up with the view that the imagination is an important or necessary element of our film viewing experiences. I will argue, on the contrary, that we need not imagine when viewing films, and the presumed need for the imagination in our film viewing experiences all but evaporates when we characterize films as essentially presentational.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 137-139 ).
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2013
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