Tag Archives: Film

Call for Papers, Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

GSU Phi Sigma Tau

Philosophical Society

Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, Georgia

April 11-12, 2014

Conference Topic: Philosophy in Literature and Film

Papers that focus on analyzing the philosophical consequences and implications of film and literature are especially encouraged.  Participation in the conference is open to all undergraduate students regardless of major.  The top papers will be published in Georgia Southern’s undergraduate philosophy journal, The Indefinite Dyad.

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Guidelines:

  • Only full papers will be accepted.
  • Student submissions should be no more than 4,000 words.
  • Group presentations will be accepted.
  • Submissions should contain student’s full name, institution, and contact information (including email).
  • Deadline: March 1, 2014
  • Submit proposals to Geneva Hendrix gsuphisigmatau@gmail.com
  • Questions? Contact Danielle Layne dlayne@georgiasouthern.edu

Philosophy Humor on Twitter

Philosophers, movies, and hashtags.  Enjoy!

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I Enjoyed Iron Man 3, But…

I enjoyed Iron Man 3.  I was entertained.  I found Ben Kingsley delightful (and, truth be told, I was giddy when I found out he would be in it).   Plenty of scenes induced white knuckles, serious breath holding, and laughter.

But…

Upon leaving the theatre I felt a slight pang of disappointment.  Was it the acting?  No.  Was it the action? No.  In fact, the film really was good fun.

But…

Iron Man 3 contained the basic formula for Blockbuster madness: a great cast, charming dialogue, and explosions galore.  What was this “something” that it left out?

I realized the film lacked a “moral” to the story.  Superhero films engage audiences on more than an action/entertaining level.  They often provoke and affirm a value towards moral behavior. In the first Iron Man, for example, Tony Stark underwent a character transformation that highlighted a reorientation for “Right” and “Justice.”  Initially he indulged in a purely hedonistic lifestyle and when confronted with the dire consequences he chose change.  That moment of transformation was part and parcel to being “super.”  One could argue his evolved approach to business took on a John Stuart Mill-esque Utilitarian calculation for “higher pleasure” to bring about the best consequences.

But…

This film presupposed an acceptance of “hero versus villain” as a sufficient formula.  Where was the “Ah-ha” moment for Stark here?  Yes, watching the development of the Iron Man suits captures our attention, however these really are not what make Tony Stark interesting as a Hero.  For the superhero, the moral compass serves as the driving force and the abilities (or suits in this case) are a vehicle for expressing a character. Iron Man 3 seems bereft of authentic purpose and personal growth.

What are your thoughts about the movie?


Film and Philosophy, 9 Pairings

Films provide a great medium to promote dialogue about Philosophy.  For the professor who wants to enhance her lecture, or for the student who desires a creative connection to theory, I’ve listed a few pairings below that I’ve used in my own courses.

1. Descartes: The Matrix, The Truman Show, Source Code, Waking Life, Inception

2. Ethical Theory (Virtue, Duty, Utilitarianism, Existentialism): Blood Diamond, The Emperor’s ClubGood Will Hunting, Iron Man, The BeachMatch Point

3. Business Ethics: Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room 

4. Engineering Ethics: Flash of Genius

5. Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Women) and/or John Stuart Mill (The Subjection of Women): A League of Their Own, Bend It Like Beckham, North Country

6. Robert Kane’s argument for Free Will: The Truman Show

7. d’Holbach’s argument for Determinism: Minority Report, Sliding Doors

8. Philosophy of Religion: Bruce Almighty, Contact, Dogma

9. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Gandhi

*Note to professors, create a list of questions to pass out before showing the film.  This will keep students engaged and direct their attention to key connections between the film and theory. After the film, put the students into groups to discuss the questions.

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