Philosophical Issues in Film | Newberry

Philosophical Issues in Film

Thursday, October 20, 2016

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Dr. Stephen Asma, Columbia College
Full, waitlist available
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

This seminar discusses the use of movies to explore philosophical themes, including ethical issues, metaphysical questions and existential quandaries. The study of philosophy can open up vistas of meaning for any student, and films can effectively realize abstract ideas in palpable and compelling ways. Films will be discussed that reflect perennial philosophical problems, like those debated by eminent philosophers such as Descartes, Confucius, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Buddha, and Plato. The seminar will be divided into thematic sections. In each section we will begin by discussing a philosophical problem. We will then discuss films that specifically address the issues raised by the respective problem. The course will attempt to open up a dialogue between those films and books that struggle with common philosophical problems. Participants will appreciate the manner in which the art of film and the art of philosophy can illuminate each other. If time permits, short film clips will be shown in the seminar. Some pre-screening of films may be especially helpful for participants, though not necessary. For those who want to prescreen some especially philosophical films, here is a short list:

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Being John Malkovich
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Groundhog Day
Blade Runner
The Matrix
Requiem for a Dream

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Teachers’ Consortium members may register for this seminar through their designated membership contact as space permits. Non-member educators may register for this seminar by purchasing an individual membership at the time of registration. Registration for all NTC seminars opens Wednesday, September 7, 2016. For more information about NTC membership, please contact Charlotte Ross, Teacher Programs Manager, at

The seminar will be followed by a catered lunch. Registrants should RSVP for lunch to assist Teacher Programs staff in reducing waste.

A link to the assigned pre-readings for this seminar will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff.