Film Essay & Philosophy. This essay is separated into two parts based on two films (Part 1 of Essay: The Matrix, Part 2 of Essay: Modern Times)
Please read instructions carefully and thoroughly. ————————————————————————————————————
PART 1: The Matrix
The Matrix, like the Meditations on First Philosophy, presents a scenario in which an individual is radically deceived about the nature of the external world. Proponents of skepticism sometimes adopt what we might call ‘the Skeptic’s Principle’:
If it is possible that we are deceived about the nature of the external world, then we do not know those propositions that we think of as ordinary knowledge claims.
The Skeptic’s Principle can then be used to build a modus ponens argument:
(1) If it is possible that we are deceived about the nature of the external world, then we do not know those propositions that we think of as ordinary knowledge claims.
(2) It is possible that we are deceived about the nature of the external world.
(3) Therefore, we do not know those propositions that we think of as ordinary knowledge claims. As modus ponens is a valid form, the truth of the conclusion is dependent only upon the truth of premises (1) and (2).
PROMPT for Part 1 Requirements for Part 1:
Single-spaced, MLA format, approximately 500+ words Answer these
questions: 1. Does The Matrix, in conjunction with the skeptical principle, constitute an argument that your ordinary knowledge claims are not really knowledge? (In other words–Does the The Matrix constitute a compelling defense of premise (2) above?) Why or why not? 2. Is The Matrix an example of film as philosophy? Why or why not? (Here, be sure to address Wartenberg’s thinking for why The Matrix is philosophy on screen–though you don’t need to agree with him.) ———————————————————————————————————————————–
PART 2: Modern Times
Modern Times is Thomas Wartenberg’s central example of a film that illustrates a philosophical theory–and illustrates it in a way that amounts to practicing philosophy. Now it’s time to sort out and present your own view. Make sure that you have watched Modern Times, read the chapter “Illustrating a Philosophical Theory” in Thinking on Screen (recommended, not required), and thought a bit about the ideas mainly in the film and the book (if you have read it)
PROMPT for Part 2 Requirements for Part 1: Single-spaced, MLA format, approximately 300 to 350 words This assignment is a shorter portion of the essay, ultimately addressing the question:
1. Is Modern Times an example of film as philosophy (as Wartenberg argues)? In the course of answering that question, however, it is important to consider the relationship between intention and illustration. Also, present a thesis about the relationship between intention and illustration and about whether Modern Times illustrates philosophical ideas or not and offer reasons in support of your view! So in the course of answering the overarching question about whether Modern Times is an example of film as philosophy or not, you should also address these questions in your argument:
1. Do you think that Chaplin intended to illustrate Marxist ideas in Modern Times? If not, is it possible to illustrate philosophy unintentionally (so that Modern Times counts as philosophy despite not being intended as such)?