The Role of Scientific Research in Film Theory

in Projections
Katherine Thomson-JonesOberlin College

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This article offers a critical discussion of Murray Smith’s proposals regarding the role of science in film theory and the philosophy of art more broadly. I would like to examine the precise role given by Film, Art, and the Third Culture to scientific evidence in understanding film engagement. There are points in the book where scientific evidence is used to considerable theoretical or philosophical advantage. But there are other points where the role of scientific evidence is unclear or where an opportunity is missed for its full deployment in theorizing.

Contributor Notes

Katherine Thomson-Jones is an associate professor of philosophy at Oberlin College. She is author of Aesthetics and Film (2008), editor of Current Controversies in Philosophy of Film (2016), and is currently writing a book on the philosophy of digital art. Email:

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The Journal for Movies and Mind

  • Smith, Murray. 2017. Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Thomson-Jones, Katherine. 2018. “Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 76, no. 3: 356359.

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