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Movies and the Meaning of Life Paperback – April 10, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...keeps with the strong intent of linking philosophical concepts to everyday popular culture...an excellent achievement" -- Midwest Book Review, October 2005

19 papers in which academic philosophers use contemporary Hollywood productions to illustrate some foundational concerns of their disciplines. -- Book News, Inc., July, 2005

About the Author

Blessing is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Buffalo State College.

Tudico teaches philosophy at East Tennessee State University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (April 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812695755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812695755
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Collaboratively organized and edited by Kimberly A. Blessing (Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Buffalo State College) and Paul J. Tudico (Philosophy Department, East Tennessee State University), Movies And The Meaning Of Life: Philosophers Take On Hollywood is an impressive collection of nineteen articles and essays on the impact popular films have had on the popular culture in terms of philosophical values. Organized into five sections, each contributor takes on a specific film ranging from "The Truman Show", to "Fight Club", to "Shadowlands", to "American Beauty", to "Groundhog Day", and more. Enhanced with a section providing descriptive credentials of the individual contributors and a thoroughly "user friendly" index, Movies And The Meaning Of Life is a welcome contribution to academic library "Philosophy" reference collections and highly recommended, accessible reading for film buffs as well.
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Format: Paperback
As a movie buff interested in philosophy, MOVIES AND THE MEANING OF LIFE really jumped out at me as something to check out. I am glad I did. Many people probably think of philosophy as all stuffy, the realm of eggheads. It can be. But it can also be presented to people in a form that is not only accessible, but fun. This book achieves that.

Broken down into five sections and nineteen chapters, MOVIES AND THE MEANING OF LIFE explores some of the deep issues that some of history's heaviest intellects have wrestled with. The essence of reality, personal identity and what it even means to be an individual, religiosity and atheism, how to live one's life, and what one should try to get out of life are all explored. But the exploration, wonderfully, takes place through an examination of Spider-Man, Fight Club, Minority Report and numerous other movies. One of the strengths of the book is that most of the movies are well enough known for the book to be attractive to a good number of people, but with a few lesser known flicks thrown in for good measure.

All the essays are of a fairly good quality. However, as the essays are written by different philosophers, everyone will agree with some interpretations and analyses more than others. Yes, personally I thought the essay for Boys Don't Cry to be just one more piece of feminist drivel, while that for The Truman Show to be thought provoking and interesting. Surely, though, someone else will have different takes on them. It also serves the larger purpose of the book - to get one to think.

One of the few downsides is that the essays are not long enough to do anything more than scratch the surface of the ideas they explore.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is accessible to students and armchair philosophers who love movies. At a time where common culture is dwindling, movies seem to be the only thing that links us together. It is also an art form that is vital in a time where novels, sadly, have become a near obsolete form of expression. This book takes ideas and movies seriously. and it also takes movies seriously. It inspired me to take a second look at some of the movies like Being John Malkovich and Memento. Reading Kimberely Blessing's lead piece in the book on Descartes and the movie The Truman Show reminded my how much that particular movie anticipated the rise of reality TV. Truman Show brings Nozick's experience machine thought experiment to life.

Movies and the Meaning of life is a great as a supplement for introductory philosophy classes. I hope it sells well so that an expanded volume may be published which include new movies like Adaptation (Identity) and Million Dollar Baby (Bio Ethics).
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Format: Paperback
As the title may suggest, this book explores various philosophical topics through the medium of film. The book is comprised of five broad sections and is a compilation of essays written mostly by philosophy professors, though some theology, humanities and education professors do contribute as well. A handy "who's who" of all the authors is included in the back of the text. Upon first opening the text, the reader is greeted with a useful introduction that gives a broad overview of what to expect in each section of the book, in addition to the purpose or goal of the book. The editors explain that movies have pervaded our culture and are a fantastic medium through which many topics are expressed, including philosophical ones. The five sections of the book are Are You For Real?; Who Am I?; Am I Alone?; What Do I Want Out Of Life?; and How Should I Live My Life? Topics such as reality, ethics, self-identity, metaphysics and politics are discussed through a wide range of "popular, controversial, and resonant films." Such films include American Beauty, Life is Beautiful, Minority Report, Spider-Man, Fight Club, and The Truman Show, just to name a few. Each section includes a deep, thoughtful discussion through the examination of three to five films. Specific scenes, characters, and plots of the film are discussed, and then connections are made to original works and theories by various philosophers such as Socrates, Nietzsche, Kant, Mill, and Hume among many others. Footnotes are included for specific reference of the text being discussed. Finally, each essay ends with two interactive sections. The first of these sections is entitled To Think About, and it provides three in depth questions that connect to the reading for further consideration.Read more ›
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