Review Essay on: COGNITIVISM GOES TO THE MOVIES: Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga, eds., THE ROUTLEDGE COMPANION TO PHILOSOPHY AND FILM; Carl Plantinga, MOVING VIEWERS: AMERICAN FILM AND THE SPECTATOR’S EXPERIENCE; Torben Grodal, EMBODIED VISIONS: EVOLUTION, EMOTION, CULTURE, AND FILM
Phenomenology Encounters Cognitivism
Since the early 1990s, phenomenology and cognitivism have become influential strands of inquiry in film theory. Phenomenological approaches remain focused on descriptive accounts of the embodied subject's experiential engagement with film, whereas cognitivist approaches attempt to provide explanatory accounts in order to theorize cognitively relevant aspects of our experience of movies. Both approaches, however, are faced with certain challenges. Phenomenology remains a descriptive theory that turns speculative once it ventures to “explain” the phenomena upon which it focuses. Cognitivism deploys naturalistic explanatory theories that can risk reductively distorting the phenomena upon which it focuses by not having an adequate phenomenology of subjective experience. Phenomenology and cognitivism could work together, I suggest, to ground a pluralistic philosophy of film that is both descriptively rich and theoretically productive. From this perspective, we would be better placed to integrate the cultural and historical horizons of meaning that mediate our subjective experience of cinema.
Robert Sinnerbrink and Matthew Cipa
Krin Gabbard, Robert Sinnerbrink, and Catherine Zimmer
Sophie Fiennes, dir.; Slavoj Zˇizˇek, writer and performer. The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. DVD, London: P Guide Ltd. 2006, 150 min. £21.99.
Daniel Frampton, FILMOSOPHY. London: Wallflower Press, 2006, vii + 254 pp., $19.50 (paperback).
Vivian Sobchack. CARNAL THOUGHTS: EMBODIMENT AND MOVING IMAGE CULTURE. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004, xii + 328 pp., $25.95 (paperback).