PHI-10017 - Philosophy and Film
Coordinator: Sorin Baiasu Room: CBA2.001 Tel: +44 1782 7 33591
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

The module aims to introduce you to a relatively new, but firmly established sub-field of philosophy, the philosophy of film. Although there is a tradition of using films to introduce philosophical topics, the philosophy of film is a more ambitious discipline, which examines both how philosophical ideas are treated in films and how films raise philosophical problems in their own way, thus suggesting that it is possible to do philosophy through film or to regard film as philosophy.
We will examine key problems in the area of philosophy and film, in particular:
i) issues and concepts: three topics from among the most important, such as the definition of cinema, acting, consciousness, empathy and character engagement, gender, sound or violence;
ii) authors and trends: three significant film theorists/theories, for instance, Stanley Cavell, Wittgenstein, Gilles Deleuze, phenomenology, psychoanalysis or semiotics and semiology;
iii) genres: three main types of film selected from a list of the most important, including documentary, pornography, horror, Dogme 95 or tragedy and comedy;
iv) film as philosophy: apart from the topic of film as philosophy, two other topics will refer to directors/films important for the topic, including for example Andrei Tarkovsky, Terrence Malick, Ingmar Bergman, Gattaca or Memento.

The module aims to introduce students to:
- the philosophy of film, which is a relatively new, but firmly established sub-field of philosophy;
- an appreciation of the idea of film as philosophy.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Understand, present and evaluate key positions and debates in discussions of the relation between film and philosophy: 1,2
Demonstrate familiarity with some of the main texts in the literature on philosophy and film: 1,2
Use a philosophical approach in the discussion of films which were either examined as part of the module or are similar in relevant respects with films examined as part of the module: 2
Write in a clear and informed manner on some of the main issues, authors and genres discussed in lectures, seminars or assessed work: 1
Present in a rigorous way their own views on the idea of film as philosophy: 2

Study hours

There will be:
- 12 x 1-hour lectures;
- 8 x 1-hour seminars;
- 2 x 50 hours for the preparation of the essays;
- 30 hours for the preparation of the seminars.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 50%
One 1,000-word essay
A 1,000-word essay on a topic from the first half of the module, which includes a discussion of i) issues and concepts, and ii) authors and trends in the philosophy of film

2: Essay weighted 50%
One 1,000-word essay
A 1,000-word essay on a topic from the last half of the module, more exactly on film as philosophy, discussed either through iii) genres or directly by focusing on the problem of iv) film as philosophy