‘What Makes My Image of Him into an Image of Him?’: Philosophers on Film and the Question of Educational Meaning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper proceeds from the premise that film can be educational in a broader sense than its current use in classrooms for illustrative purposes, and explores the idea that film might function as a form of education in itself. To investigate the phenomenon of film as education, it is necessary to first address a number of assumptions about film, the most important of which is its objective character under study. The objective study of film holds that the meaning of film awaits its correct interpretation according to an informed viewer. I suggest that theoretical modes of interpretation in this vein really amount to attempts to control meaning via a particular lens, rather than allowing films to present meaning in necessarily ambiguous, and thus sometimes unsettling, ways. Situating film as the object of study in this way continues a tradition of empiricism or naturalism in thought that both Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Ludwig Wittgenstein sought to critique as psychologism. Whilst no claim is made for reconceiving of Wittgenstein as phenomenologist, a dialogue between the Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology and the Phenomenology of Perception reveals sympathies in attempts made by both to overcome a metaphysics of the perceived or experienced object, thereby broadening the educational reach of film.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-280
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Volume51
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • film
  • education
  • philosophy

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper proceeds from the premise that film can be educational in a broader sense than its current use in classrooms for illustrative purposes, and explores the idea that film might function as a form of education in itself. To investigate the phenomenon of film as education, it is necessary to first address a number of assumptions about film, the most important of which is its objective character under study. The objective study of film holds that the meaning of film awaits its correct interpretation according to an informed viewer. I suggest that theoretical modes of interpretation in this vein really amount to attempts to control meaning via a particular lens, rather than allowing films to present meaning in necessarily ambiguous, and thus sometimes unsettling, ways. Situating film as the object of study in this way continues a tradition of empiricism or naturalism in thought that both Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Ludwig Wittgenstein sought to critique as psychologism. Whilst no claim is made for reconceiving of Wittgenstein as phenomenologist, a dialogue between the Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology and the Phenomenology of Perception reveals sympathies in attempts made by both to overcome a metaphysics of the perceived or experienced object, thereby broadening the educational reach of film.",
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‘What Makes My Image of Him into an Image of Him?’: Philosophers on Film and the Question of Educational Meaning. / Gibbs, Alexis.

In: Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 51, No. 1, 09.11.2016, p. 267-280.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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