Stanley Cavell and Film

Scepticism and Self-Reliance at the Cinema

Stanley Cavell and Film

`Film is made for philosophy.' So states Stanley Cavell, proposing the screen as the perfect venue for something more than pure entertainment. Les mer
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Stanley Cavell and Film

`Film is made for philosophy.' So states Stanley Cavell, proposing the screen as the perfect venue for something more than pure entertainment. Its various attributes, for example its immediate resemblance to reality, reveal new ground for thinking through old philosophical problems. Contributing four books specifically devoted to the movies, Cavell also wrote on scepticism, morality, and the intentions and meanings of ordinary language, but these subjects, too, were informed by his experience of cinema.
Catherine Wheatley's book, as part of the compelling Film Thinks series, examines Cavell's explicitly filmic works The World Viewed (1977), Pursuits of Happiness (1981), Contesting Tears (1996), and Cities of Words (2004), and identifies how the influence of cinema refined his wider philosophical concerns. Wheatley relates not only the familiar Cavellian subjects of the `remarriage comedies' - examples are Adam's Rib (1949) and The Philadelphia Story (1940) - and `unknown women's melodramas' - which include Now, Voyager (1942) and Gaslight (1944) - made during Hollywood's golden age, but also explores the smaller, yet no less influential, references to Chaplin and Keaton, Cocteau and Hitchcock, Greta Garbo and Ginger Rogers, French New Wave film and contemporary action cinema. Tracing this leading American philosopher's key concepts, crucially self-reliance, while being attentive to his autobiographical writings, Wheatley ultimately asks what it is that film - all film - teaches Cavell about how to best live in the world?

PART 1: FRAMEWORKS AND FORMATIONS
1. The Ordinary and the Every Day
2. Screening Scepticism
PART 2: CAVELL AT THE MOVIES
3. Acknowledgement and Overcoming
4. Self-reliance
PART 3: THE GOOD LIFE
5. Moral perfectionism
6. Love's work - Cavell and Spectatorship
Conclusion

This book explores how cinema influenced leading American philosopher Stanley Cavell's moral and social philosophy and thinking on everyday language.

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