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Thread: Philosophy in Movies

  1. #1

    Philosophy in Movies

    Hi guys, wondered if you could help? I'm currently a second year philosophy student, and have discussed with my tutors the idea of screening movies for the philosophy society. The idea is that some philosophical ideas are easier to discuss if we have examples [e.g. watching the matrix shows us what Descartes was talking about].

    The problem is our courses are about 10 weeks long, so I'd like to screen 10 films - also some topics are easy to screen movies about; others are harder. Here is a list of possible movies I had:

    The Matrix - Cartesian Scepticism
    Memento - Personal Identity and Epistemology
    Short Circuit - Personal Identity and Consciousness
    Truman Show - Cartesian Scepticism
    Being John Malkovich - Personal Identity
    T2: Judgement Day - Consciousness, Free Will + Ethics
    Twelve Angry Men - Proper Philosophical Discussion

    My problem is that in case you can't tell - there's too much skepticism + personal identity - not enough other topics. Could you possible suggest other movies based on philosophy - especially Meta-ethics.



  2. #2
    Movie / Philosophical issue

    Schwarzeneggar's Commando / Kill now, or kill later?
    Schwarzeneggar's Conan The Barbarian / Kill now, or kill later?
    Schwarzeneggar's Terminator / Kill now, or kill later?
    Schwarzeneggar's Predator / Kill now, or kill later?

    Sorry, just having fun. Can't recall any films off the top of my head that had any deep philosophical stuff going on. Isn't that terrible?

  3. #3
    lol now I think about it - he never even took long deciding - and he normally went for the former :P


  4. #4
    Registered Member
    "American Beauty" ???

    Deals with ethics and familial issues...

    Plus it's my favorite movie of all time.

  5. #5
    Doctor Detroit with Dan Akyrod(?)

    Is the doing of a good samaration deed worth it?

  6. #6
    Oh Red2m4 - how I wish I could show American Beauty. It is my favourite movie of all time too; but I'm not entirely sure what definite questions it raises. I'm trying to find something which deals with meta-ethics; which is really tricky to think about because loads of movies deal with normative ethics.

    Thank you for suggesting this - and if you can think of what questions it raises, I would very much like to put it on. Might just be a failure of insight on my part.


  7. #7
    Not a fan of American Beauty.

    The Blues Brothers, now there's a deep film!

  8. #8
    That's actually a damn good idea... "We're on a mission from GOD"... definite possibility ... but why aren't u a fan of AB???

  9. #9
    American Beauty just didn't do anything for me. Overall it was sort of pointless. Kevin Spacey is annoying. There was just nothing in the film that appealed to me.

  10. #10
    I know this may seem a strange choice but what about swordfish?

    Its where the question for my "value of life" thread came from

    it talks about where the point is that the end DOSN'T justify the means

    (there is alot of exstrainious stuff in it though)

  11. #11

    Talking true philosophy in movies

    Okay for those of you who are interested there are three older movies that deal with all kinds of philisophical issues. Too many to list. Those movies are:
    Dark City
    The Cube
    if you watch those three movies you will be able to discuss the philisophical issues in those movies for years to come. Just thought I would let everyone know of those movies.

  12. #12
    if you want to show movies which bring out philosophical issues, screen 'The Wall'. it's an amaaaazing film. it deals with many themes...prominent ones being isolation, inability to handle fame etc.

    plus it's based on the album by PINK FLOYD...the best group ever.

  13. #13
    Registered Senior Member Tyler's Avatar
    I don't think I've seen Mutual Desire post in some time.....
    But just to let you know, I think The Matrix's most prominent philosophical idea was Plato's Cave.

  14. #14
    "The Man Who Wasn't There" if you couldn't tell by the title, possesses very strong philosophical elements.
    It stars Billy Bob Thorton and is directed by The Coen Brothers
    The Man Who Wasn't There

  15. #15
    Registered Senior Member
    As you probably know, philosophy is in all movies, but:

    Fight Club - nihilism

    you know it really depends what you want to address. it'd be easier that way, since anything could be used. ever seen 'rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead?' - there's one for ya

    what topics?

  16. #16
    I think you should show 'Pi' -- deals with personal identity and beauty in the world around us.

  17. #17
    Save the whales motherfucker sargentlard's Avatar
    How about Requiem for a dream..i don't know if it fills the critreria for what you want but a good film nonetheless. Also Bill and Ted's excellent deals with all sort of cool time travelling and such. Not a bad suggestion is Groundhog day with Bill Murry in's basically god forcing his ass to give a damn about the people around him- that could be a new field in Philosophy called "Overassertive diety influenceism" (that has been copyrighted so if you steal it i'll sue your ass indefinetly). Well i am tapped for suggestions..hope that helped

  18. #18
    This thread is kinda old... it's even archived, lol
    I don't think it matters anymore.

  19. #19
    Save the whales motherfucker sargentlard's Avatar
    Originally posted by Alpha
    This thread is kinda old... it's even archived, lol
    I don't think it matters anymore.

    That's what i get when i am too lazy to check the date...oh well i still like the coined up new philoshpy i made up.

  20. #20
    Originally posted by Weiser_Dub
    As you probably know, philosophy is in all movies, but:

    Fight Club - nihilism

    Are you allowed to watch documentaries too, Mutual Desire? Because then that'd be very easy.

    How about "John Q"? This one should be a cinch.

    Or "Artificial Intelligence", in combo with "The Bicentennial Man"?

    Or "Blade Runner"? This one's another cult classic, it's what "The Matrix", "The Fifth Element", "12 Monkeys" and "Dark City" sprung from (so I've heard).

    Also "the Thirteenth Floor", even though it wasn't exactly a great film.

    Perhaps "Donnie Darko"? "The Dog of Flanders"? "Rabbit-proof Fence"? etc.

    And to reiterate Weiser_Dub's point - doesn't every movie have some kind of philisophical "value" at its very core, no matter if it's hidden inside Keanu Reeves' gun or underneath the "Deep Blue Sea"?

    (p.s. Hey Adam! )

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