Warning! This unit contains mature content and may not be suitable for some students. Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.

Subject details

At the completion of this subject students will have the ability:

  1. to find, analyse and evaluate primary and secondary sources and present a well-argued philosophical discussion in an essay format
  2. to interpret and examine developments in philosophy of film that deal with theoretical problems as well as broader philosophical and cultural issues
  3. to analyse and explore the relationship between theory and practice in contemporary cinema and its link with philosophy
  4. to apply philosophical theories to specific film examples
  5. to locate and evaluate contemporary media discussions of film from a philosophical point of view
  6. to create or design a means of communicating your own reflections on philosophy of film
  7. to participate actively in group discussion and learning activities.
  • Topics

    • What is Philosophy of Film/Film-Philosophy?
    • Ontologies of the Moving Image
    • Understanding Film Narrative
    • Cognitivism Goes to the Movies
    • Affect and Emotion in Cinema
    • Cinematic Ethics
    • Gilles Deleuze's Philosophy of Film
    • Stanley Cavell's Philosophy of Film
    • Film as Philosophy: Pro and Contra
    • Film Philosophy Case Studies
  • Study resources

    • Instructional Methods

      • Discussion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online assignment submission
      • Podcasting/Lecture capture
      • Standard Media
      • Web links
    • Online Materials

      • Printable format materials
      • Resources and Links

Entry Requirements

Equivalent Subjects

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • MAQ-PHI350


You must complete some Level 1 and 2 studies before starting this subject. Prior study in Philosophy is recommended.

Special requirements

  • OtherDetails -

    Some films will need to be purchased or hired

This subject was previously known as PHI350 Film and Philosophy.

Please note: This subject is available in Macquarie Semester 3. This is an intensive semester which spans only 9 weeks (including recess). Students are advised to enrol in only one or two subjects in Semester 3.

What can philosophy teach us about cinema? What can film show us about philosophy? Can films do philosophy? This subject explores these questions across a range of writings dealing with philosophical, aesthetic and ethical aspects of our engagement with film. Rather than treating film as an illustration of various theories or ideas, we examine the ways in which film itself can explore philosophical problems in visual and narrative terms. We begin with the problems of cinematic representation, visual perception and the ontology of the moving image. We consider how film represents our subjective experience by exploring the phenomenology of perception, movement, emotional engagement and time-consciousness. We also analyse how films can explore philosophical ideas, focusing on the provocative claim that films can do philosophy by cinematic means. Finally, we examine some of the ethical, moral and ideological implications of film in modern culture. Throughout the subject we analyse the work of philosophers who investigate the philosophical dimensions of film, or who construct new ways of thinking about film philosophically (eg. Stanley Cavell, Gilles Deleuze and Stephen Mulhall). We also study various films and filmmakers from a philosophical point of view with the aim of demonstrating the creative intersection between film and philosophy.

  • Assignment (15%)
  • Essay (40%)
  • Journal (25%)
  • Participation (20%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject.

View textbooks

Related Degrees

undergraduate MAQ-ART-DEG-2018

Bachelor of Arts

  • Major in Ancient History
  • Major in English
  • Major in Modern History
  • Major in Philosophy
  • Major in Politics
  • Major in Society and Culture
  • Major in Sociology