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Philosophy and Film is a Course

Philosophy and Film

Ended Apr 8, 2016

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Full course description

Course Date:

Feb 8 - April 8, 2016


7 weeks


8-12 hrs/week



Course Type:





This course will examine a variety of philosophical arguments through the medium of film. It will consist of video lectures, readings, and lively discussion. Students will engage a wide range of exciting thinkers, issues, and movies with the goal of understanding both how our world is and how we want it to be.

This class will engage some of the central questions surrounding the human experience through the medium of film. We will seek to understand some of the major ideas and thinkers in Western thought over a period of roughly three thousand years. We will deal with a great variety of subjects that any intelligent human being would care about, engaging these topics with a critical, analytical, and rational approach. This course is not about supplying facile answers to questions like “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Rather, this course is about learning to think for yourself—while watching good movies. Together, we will try our best to understand the world around us through these great thinkers and films.

Read More.

Topics, Thinkers, and Films over six modules:

  • Inception: The Experience Machine and Free Will – Robert Nozick and Galen Strawson
  • The Birds: Psychology and Desire – Sigmund Freud
  • Match Point: Ethical Subjectivism and Moral Luck – David Hume and Thomas Nagel
  • District 9: People aren’t Objects: The Categorical Imperative – Immanuel Kant
  • The Hunger Games: Exploitation and Alienation – Karl Marx
  • Groundhog Day­: Happiness and Friendship– Aristotle


  • Demonstrate the ability to engage critically with a philosophical text, including comprehension and analysis.
  • Engage in critical thinking through the evaluation, comparison, and analysis of philosophical problems through the medium of film.
  • Logically construct and evaluate arguments.
  • Recognize the general patterns of human societies, specifically through the critical examination of narrative and theme.
  • Demonstrate the ability to construct, defend, and attack an argument.
  • Critically analyze how social forces, issues, events, and institutions affect individuals.
  • Apply general theoretical principles of individual and social behavior to practical situations.
  • Demonstrate the understanding that film helps us adopt alternative perspectives, helping us to better comprehend the needs and interests of others, therefore promoting social understanding and change.

Course Instructors

William Lindenmuth

William A. Lindenmuth

Professor of Philosophy

William A. Lindenmuth is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Shoreline College. He received his M.A. in philosophy in New York City from the New School for Social Research, and his B.A. in English from Saint Mary’s College in California. He has taught in New York, Las Vegas, Seattle, and overseas in Rome, Italy. His specialty is normative ethics and moral psychology through the mediums of literature and film. William argues that philosophy gives us a sense of personhood, place, and purpose, and that film is a concentrated medium particularly suited for this. Film forces us to change perspective, and through our identification with characters that may be very different from us: gender, age, species… we see the humanity in others, and therefore increase it in ourselves. Art makes us better people.

"A book [movie!] serves as the axe for the frozen seas within us.” ~ Franz Kafka