PHILOSOPHY & FILM
The last week of the course has elected the «Groundhog Day» movie (1993) and Aristotle’s happiness.
Aristotle readings :
Nicomachean Ethics – Book 1
Nicomachean Ethics – Book 2
Aristotle on Hapiness, by Neel Burton
The Director’s views, Harold Ramis:
Groundhog Day, by Michael Faust, Philosophy Now magazine
«Groundhog Day is a masterpiece of existentialism, particularly in respect of the absurd element, with Connors claiming Sisyphus’s mantle of absurd hero. The film’s lesson is that we can escape from whatever dilemma we’re in by adopting the correct attitude. As Connors discovers, it’s a tough lesson; but to learn it is to gain the means to transcend the troubles of life.»
Groundhog Day, by Hal Hinson, Washington Post, 1993
Groundhog Day: the perfect comedy, for ever (The Guardian, 2013)
«The movie, as everyone knows, is about a man who finds himself living the same day over and over and over again. He is the only person in his world who knows this is happening, and after going through periods of dismay and bitterness, revolt and despair, suicidal self-destruction and cynical recklessness, he begins to do something that is alien to his nature. He begins to learn.»
Some exchange of links worth highlighting, like this e-book «Why Marx was right» (Terry Eagleton, 2011)
A new topic opened this week to analyse «The Hunger Games» film and Karl Marx theory.
Hunger Games reviews:
Are ‘The Hunger Games’ Films Radical Social Critique — or Just More Evidence of Hollywood’s Cynicism? (2013)
The Hunger Games: Film Review (The Hollywood Reporter)
Roger Ebert review (2012)
A brief presentation on Marxism
Poster of Capitalist System (1911)
A british documentary on Marx, a tour on Marx’s spots and landmarks in London
Finally I was able to watch the full movie District 9 – http://putlocker.is/watch-district-9-online-free-putlocker.html and I enjoyed it. The documentary and TV report approach made it more real, in spite of the sci-fi aspects.
Roger Ebert critique says about the film:
“District 9” does a lot of things right, including giving us aliens to remind us not everyone who comes in a spaceship need be angelic, octopod or stainless steel. They are certainly alien, all right. It is also a seamless merger of the mockumentary and special effects (the aliens are CGI). And there’s a harsh parable here about the alienation and treatment of refugees.»
I think the film is better than the critiques – http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/sep/03/district-9-review
An excellent teaching resource to analyze District 9 from different angles – http://www.bioethicseducation.com/attachments/027_District%209%20-%20Resource%20for%20Values%20Education.pdf
One of the participants also shared a link for a documentary about the Intelligence of Plants – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeX6ST7rexs
I was not acquainted with this movie, which takes place in South Africa and is directed by a young south african director, and produced by Peter Jackson (the australian film director of Lord of Rings)
A series of brasilian videos on philosophy. like this one about Kant – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuvKyjhcS1o
An educational video on Kant’s Morale
Kant’s Moral Philosophy (in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
«Thus, at the heart of Kant’s moral philosophy is a conception of reason whose reach in practical affairs goes well beyond that of a Humean ‘slave’ to the passions. Moreover, it is the presence of this self-governing reason in each person that Kant thought offered decisive grounds for viewing each as possessed of equal worth and deserving of equal respect.»
A Glossary of Kant’s terminology.
The Wikipedia article on Kant is quite comprehensive.
A long article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy « Kant and Hume on Morality»
A recommende reading for this week was the Letter from a Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King (1963)
In the posts of the discussion on Ethical Subjectivism and Moral Luck a link for lectures by a professor in Oxford University was exchanged – http://mariannetalbot.co.uk/ethics-an-introduction/
«Moral Philosophy through the Ages», by James Fieser, has a chapter on David Hume’s moral theory – https://archive.org/details/MoralPhilosophyThroughTheAges
A series of educational videos is presented by brasilian professor Gui de Franco and this one addresses David Hume thoughts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9mAph7O25k
Bertrand Russell’s thoughts on Ethics – http://fair-use.org/bertrand-russell/the-elements-of-ethics/section-iii
An interesting link for an EdTED lesson – http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-do-you-know-you-exist-james-zucker
The film elected for discussion this week was Match Point, directed by Woody Allen, which I’ve enjoyed a lot and is one of my favorites.
The theme of the movie is about the immorality of the characters and the sheer luch of the protagonist who gets away with murder just by pure luck.
The text by Hume is not easy to read and I’ve found a series of short videos «5 Minute Philosopher» by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci that sums up some of the ideas of David Hume
As for Nagel’s article is a contemporary essay and interesting one.
In my search for Philosophy and Ethics I found a lecture about Moral Relativism, which a long one but worth listening to
The second week highlights Freud and Hitchcock’s film «The Birds»
It was recommended the reading of a reference document by Freud
A lot of discussion around The Birds, the female characters and the role and symbolism of the birds and their attacks occurred during the week.
I must confess that Hitchcocks films, apart of beeing quite entertaining, well filmed to keep us in in suspense, don’t inspire me for deep interpretations.
The reading of Freud’s publication was quite interesting.
This 6 weeks course is a Canvas initiative run by Prof. William Lindenmuth (Shoreline Community College) and «will examine a variety of exciting philosophical issues through the medium of film. Film is not merely entertainment, but rather culture distilled into an artistic works created to reflect both who we are, and what we want to be. The class will consist of video lectures, short readings and lively discussion boards. Expect to enjoy thinkers such as Aristotle, Marx, and Kant; issues such as “Who am I?”, “What is the good life?” and “What is the role of government?”; and films such as The Hunger Games,Inception, and District 9. You will become more philosophically, cinematically, and culturally literate after taking this course.»
The discussions of the first week have been intensive around Inception, which is a great and complex Movie
Other discussions took place about the Experience Machine and the work of philosopher Robert Nozick, and I found articles in:
A conceção de Estado de Nozick (UMinho)
An excerpt about Science and Happiness by Bertrand Russell, from an audio book
Another line of discussion centered on Free Will, questioning:
- What is free will? Is it the ability to do whatever we want?
- Why do we want it? Why is it important that our decisions feel like ours? Why is the idea of free will such an important one?
- Who has it? All human beings? All rational beings? Who doesn’t—animals, machines, babies?
- What are the requirements for free will? What would prove that someone had it?
- What threatens it? What—if anything—if proven to be true, would nullify free will?