Aesthetics Workshop (28 Jan)

Robert Stecker, “Film Narration, Imagined Seeing, and Seeing-In” (1pm – 2pm)

This talk initially addresses the debate about whether we imagine seeing characters and their actions in films. There are several different imagined seeing theses that have been advanced. What I shall call the general thesis is simply that we imagine, in some manner or other, seeing characters in films. I bypass the standard objections that have already advanced against this thesis, to argue that the concept of seeing-in can be used to develop an alternative account of our experience of fictional films that has all of the advantages of the general imagined seeing thesis, but none of the purported problems.
I then turn to another, more controversial imagined seeing thesis which asserts that in engaging with mainstream narrative films, we do not imagine seeing characters directly, but through a motion-picture-like medium. Call this the mediated version. This version is important because it is a crucial step in arguing that mainstream films typically have narrators. I offer three objections to this thesis and show that an argument for the thesis offered by George Wilson can be undercut if we adopt the seeing-in account.
Finally, I ask about the actual contribution of the imagination in the reception of narrative films. It is plausible that our emotional involvement with a film-fiction requires at least propositional imagining The seeing-in view is compatible with the idea that there are many aspect of a fiction that we propositionally imagine. I distinguish three kinds or degrees of imaginative involvement in a fiction world, and, based on this distinction, try to resolve a debate about the nature of emotional responses to fiction.

Ben Blumson, “Simile and Metaphor” (2pm – 3pm)

Not every metaphor can be literally paraphrased by a corresponding simile – the metaphorical meaning of ‘Juliet is the sun’, for example, is not the literal meaning of ‘Juliet is like the sun’. But every metaphor can be literally paraphrased, since if ‘metaphorically’ is prefixed to a metaphor, the result says literally what the metaphor says figuratively – the metaphorical meaning of ‘Juliet is the sun’, for example, is the literal meaning of ‘metaphorically, Juliet is the sun’.

John Holbo, “Pictoriality as Pandemonium” (3pm – 4pm)

In “Pictorial Diversity”, John Kulvicki argues that the lack of a certain sort of interpretive diversity, in practice, needs explanation, and some theories are better situated, others worse, to provide it. This paper argues that the shoe is on the other foot. The diversity Kulvicki finds peculiarly absent is exceedingly common. We habitually apply competing schemes, of the sort he says we do not, without noticing we are doing so, or how. A puzzle: why can’t we say what shape Charlie Brown’s head is? How long is the long-necked Madonna’s neck? And a hypothesis: recognitional pandemonium? Even if the hypothesis is too speculative, the diversity it seeks to explain is real.

Date: Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)

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