Philosophy in Film Series
About the Philosophy in Film Series
The primary aim of the Xavier University Philosophy in Film Series is to bring together interested students and faculty to appreciate and discuss connections between philosophy and film.
All Xavier students are welcome to attend. Each event is hosted by a Philosophy Department faculty member or a philosophy student, who selects a short selection of texts that raise questions and ideas relevant to the film. After the film, the host gives a very brief talk and leads a discussion of some philosophical questions raised by the film.
Dr. Wood is the current director of the film series.
On April 20th, 2017, Dr. Richard Polt led a discussion of Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982). A link to the handout of readings may be found here.
On February 23rd, 2017 Max Creager, philosophy major, led a discussion of the "Nosedive" episode of the series Black Mirror. A link to the handout of readings may be found here.
In Fall 2016 we showed three films. Linnea Head led a discussion of Dark Knight (2008), Evan Mallory led a discussion of Little Murders (1971), and Dr. Michael Sweeney led a discussion of Leviathan (2014).
In Spring 2016 Tyler Nack hosted a discussion of 180 Degrees South
The last Philosophy in Film screening of 2015 was The Gambler (2013). The discussion was led by Max Creager, focusing on themes from Machiavelli and Camus. The reading can be downloaded here.
The first film of Fall 2015 was Divergent, with the discussion led by philosophy major Matt Kearns. The readings, featuring selections from Plato, Descartes, and Nietzsche, can be downloaded here.
The final event of Spring 2015 was Mr. Nobody, with the discussion facilitated by two philosophy majors, Natalie Fagundo and Andrew DeCilles, touching on themes of time and space, possibility, freedom of choice, and quantum mechanics / chaos theory, along with some readings from Kant's Transcendental Aesthetic.
The final event of Fall 2014 was Christopher Nolan's The Prestige (2006), starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. Jacob Khoury and members of the Socratic Club and Philosophy Department led a discussion following the film, focused on themes from Aristotle and Nietzsche. The readings can be downloaded here.
Our first film in fall 2014 was James Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma. Following the film, Eddie Hoffman, students from the Socratic club, and faculty from the philosophy department led a discussion of the film in relation to some reflections on the unconditional nature of moral duty, the attractiveness of good versus evil, and what it takes to become a good person. The reading selections from Plato, Kant, and Aristotle can be found here.
Our second event of spring 2014 was Krzysztof Kieslowski’s (1988) film: Decalogue V. The film is one of a series addressing the Ten Commandments; this one focuses on perhaps the best known: "Thou Shalt Not Kill!" The film addresses a number of philosophical themes, among which is the question of evil. In his discussion, Professor Matthew Dunch, S.J., addressed this theme in part through the lens of Hannah Arendt's famous account of the "banality of evil." A selection from the New Yorker that addresses this theme can be found here: /philosophy-department/pif/documents/DOC032114-03212014154847.pdf (the full article is too large to upload; if you'd like a copy, please contact Professor Dunch or Professor Wood).
Our final film of the spring was The Shawshank Redemption. Following the film, philosophy students and faculty, led by Evan Birch, held a discussion of the film in relation to some reflections on human freedom by Benedict Spinoza. The reading selection can be found here.
In fall 2013 two films were featured:
Seconds, hosted by Dr. Aaron Szymkowiak, and Das Experiment, hosted by Dr. James Wood. The accompanying readings for Das Experiment can be found here.