Dead Ringers: Plato and Turning the Camera Back

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter proposes and evaluates two models relating the Socratic practice of philosophy to cinema via the Delphic imperative gnōthi seauton (“know thyself”). Its purpose is to point towards complexities in the relationship between self-knowledge and right action, while initiating a critique of a recent shift in film theory. The first proposed model of this Socratic-cinematic relation is shown to run into ethical difficulties, before being put aside for its dependence on the questionable notion of the auteur. The second model has a similar structure yet functions without reference to an auteur, depending on the recent turn in film theory towards focusing on an audience encountering its own gaze on screen. This so-called “objective gaze” is tracked back to Sartre’s account of shame as a necessary mediator in self-knowledge, leading in turn to Plato as a transitional figure in the history of self-knowledge and shame (aidōs). The Ring of Gyges from the Republic is then considered as a possible model of cinematic experience in relation to the gaze. Finally, Herodotus’s version of Gyges’ story and Diderot’s Letter on the Blind are used to indicate some ethical complications with this second model, suggesting that the turn to the objective gaze in film theory is not unambiguously an advance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlato and the Moving Image
Place of PublicationLeiden
Chapter3
Pages60-78
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameValue Inquiry Book / Philosophy of Film (Book 332)
PublisherBrill

Cite this

Secret, T. (2019). Dead Ringers: Plato and Turning the Camera Back. In Plato and the Moving Image (pp. 60-78). (Value Inquiry Book / Philosophy of Film (Book 332)). Leiden.
Secret, Timothy. / Dead Ringers: Plato and Turning the Camera Back. Plato and the Moving Image. Leiden, 2019. pp. 60-78 (Value Inquiry Book / Philosophy of Film (Book 332)).
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abstract = "This chapter proposes and evaluates two models relating the Socratic practice of philosophy to cinema via the Delphic imperative gnōthi seauton (“know thyself”). Its purpose is to point towards complexities in the relationship between self-knowledge and right action, while initiating a critique of a recent shift in film theory. The first proposed model of this Socratic-cinematic relation is shown to run into ethical difficulties, before being put aside for its dependence on the questionable notion of the auteur. The second model has a similar structure yet functions without reference to an auteur, depending on the recent turn in film theory towards focusing on an audience encountering its own gaze on screen. This so-called “objective gaze” is tracked back to Sartre’s account of shame as a necessary mediator in self-knowledge, leading in turn to Plato as a transitional figure in the history of self-knowledge and shame (aidōs). The Ring of Gyges from the Republic is then considered as a possible model of cinematic experience in relation to the gaze. Finally, Herodotus’s version of Gyges’ story and Diderot’s Letter on the Blind are used to indicate some ethical complications with this second model, suggesting that the turn to the objective gaze in film theory is not unambiguously an advance.",
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Secret, T 2019, Dead Ringers: Plato and Turning the Camera Back. in Plato and the Moving Image. Value Inquiry Book / Philosophy of Film (Book 332), Leiden, pp. 60-78.

Dead Ringers: Plato and Turning the Camera Back. / Secret, Timothy.

Plato and the Moving Image. Leiden, 2019. p. 60-78 (Value Inquiry Book / Philosophy of Film (Book 332)).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

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Secret T. Dead Ringers: Plato and Turning the Camera Back. In Plato and the Moving Image. Leiden. 2019. p. 60-78. (Value Inquiry Book / Philosophy of Film (Book 332)).