HNR 340: Cine-Meta

Cine-Meta is a course both about the philosophy of film and creatively experiencing philosophy through the art of film. Students will explore the self-reflexivity of cinema (one meaning of “meta”, a second-order awareness) while engaging with perennial philosophic puzzles (“metaphysics” being another connotation of meta) through film (that’s the “cine” part) via collaborative cinematic storytelling (which is just a fun way to learn). 

In addition to our philosophical tasks (asking how it is that film can philosophize or be self-aware, analyzing narratives using metaphysics and epistemology, understanding how thought experiments can drive a narrative, and so forth), we will also be developing our film acuity through creative engagement with narrative. That is to say, in addition to tasks of philosophical analysis, we will become better consumers of cinema through creative production of our own: using philosophic questions and methods to develop original plots, characters, scenarios, and dialogue. The Matrix is based on the epistemic problem of the external world. Dr. Strange uses the metaphysical concept of possible worlds. Orlando: personal identity through time and the metaphysics of gender… and so on. What kind of original narratives will we create using epistemic and metaphysical thought experiments? 

Films selected for screening will be themed around the weekly topics in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of film, and metacinema. Weekly assignments will develop philosophical analytical skills and media literacy as well as creative narrative-based skills. The final collaborative project will be a short film treatment explicitly themed around one of the philosophical puzzles encountered within the course. 

See more details and schedule at our course web site.

Taught by William Osborne III

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