Philosophy through Film
In Philosophy through Film, Amy Karofsky and Mary M. Litch use recently released, well-received films to explore answers to classic questions in philosophy in an approachable yet philosophically rigorous manner. Each chapter incorporates one or more films to examine one longstanding philosophical question or problem and assess some of the best solutions that have been offered to it. The authors fully integrate the films into their discussion of the issues, using them to help students become familiar with key topics in all major areas of Western philosophy and master the techniques of philosophical argumentation.
Revised and expanded, changes to the Fourth Edition include:
- A brand new chapter on the mind-body problem (chapter 4), which includes discussions of substance dualism, physicalism, eliminativism, functionalism, and other relevant theories.
- The replacement of older movies with nine new focus films: Ad Astra, Arrival, Beautiful Boy, Divergent, Ex Machina, Her, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, A Serious Man, and Silence.
- The addition of two new primary readings to the appendix of source materials: excerpts from Patricia Smith Churchland’s, "Can Neurobiology Teach Us Anything about Consciousness?" and Frank Jackson’s "What Mary Didn’t Know."
- The inclusion of a Website, with a Story Lines of Films by Elapsed Time for each focus film.
The films examined in depth are: Ad Astra, Arrival, Beautiful Boy, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Divergent, Equilibrium, Ex Machina, Gone Baby Gone, Her, Inception, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, The Matrix, Memento, Minority Report, Moon, A Serious Man, Silence
3. Personal Identity
4. The Mind-Body Problem
Live, Die, Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow
5. Artiﬁcial Intelligence
6. Free Will, Determinism, and Moral Responsibility
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Gone Baby Gone
8. Political Philosophy
9. Philosophy of Religion
A Serious Man
10 The Meaning of Life
A Serious Man
Appendix: Readings from Primary Sources
(Numbered by relevant chapter)
0: Plato, "Allegory of the Cave" ( from The Republic)
1a: Bertrand Russell excerpts from The Problems of Philosophy
1b: William James excerpts from Pragmatism: A New Way for Some Old Ways of Thinking
2a: René Descartes, "Meditation One" (from Meditations on First Philosophy)
2b: George Berkeley, excerpts from A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
3a: John Locke, excerpts from An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
3b: David Hume, excerpts from A Treatise of Human Nature
4a: Patricia Smith Churchland, excerpts from "Can Neurobiology Teach us Anything about Consciousness?"
4b: Frank Jackson, "What Mary Didn’t Know"
5a: Alan Turing, excerpts from "Computing Machinery and Intelligence"
5b: John Searle, excerpts from "Minds, Brains, and Programs"
6a: David Hume, excerpts from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
6b: Jean-Paul Sartre, excerpts from "Existentialism is a Humanism"
7a: John Stuart Mill, excerpts from Utilitarianism
7b: Immanuel Kant, excerpts from Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals
8a: Thomas Hobbes, excerpts from Leviathan
8b: John Stuart Mill, excerpts from On Liberty
9a: J. L. Mackie, excerpts from "Evil and Omnipotence"
9b: Augustine, excerpts from On Free Choice of the Will
10a: Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"
"Outstanding! I am a major fan of this book and have used it with great success in my philosophy and film classes. The 4th edition continues to give philosophical substance to course content that might otherwise wander too far in the direction of mere film review. The writing style is down to earth, and the philosophical topics are traditional ones that work perfectly in introduction to philosophy courses. The authors smartly confine the book to just 16 films that can realistically be viewed during a single semester, and their choice of films is spot on, including both current and classic ones."
James Fieser, University of Tennessee at Martin
Praise for previous editions:
"A valuable book for introducing students to the wonder of philosophical exploration and the power of philosophical reasoning to force us to reevaluate our reflexive responses to fundamental questions, such as the nature of truth or the self."
Jennifer Hansen, St. Lawrence University"
With clarity that doesn’t compromise rigor, Mary Litch and Amy Karofsky introduce readers new to philosophy to some of its most enduring concerns and seminal questions, including skepticism, personal identity, artificial intelligence, and political philosophy"
Mark Uffelman, Millersville University
"Highly recommended for the introductory philosophy classroom, as well as for anyone who likes movies that make you think."
Nathan Andersen, Collegium of Letters, Saint Petersburg, FL