[SydPhil] MQ Philosophy Seminar: Robert Sinnerbrink (17th Nov)

Rachael Brown rachael.brown at mq.edu.au
Fri Nov 13 10:47:04 AEDT 2015

Please note the following upcoming event as part of the Macquarie
University Philosophy Work in Progress Seminar Series:
Cinempathy: Phenomenology, Cognitivism, and Moving Images

Robert Sinnerbrink (Macquarie)

Date: Tuesday, 17th November
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Venue: W3A 501 (Blackshield Room)

Some of the most lively and innovative philosophical engagement with cinema
and ethics in recent years has come from phenomenological and cognitivist
perspectives in film theory. This trend reflects a welcome re-engagement
with cinema as a medium with the potential for ethical transformation, that
is, with the idea of cinema as a medium of ethical experience. My
presentation explores the phenomenological turn in film theory (with its
focus on affective, empathic, and embodied responses to cinema),
emphasising the ethical implications of phenomenological approaches to
affect and empathy, emotion and evaluation, care and responsibility. The
oft-criticised ‘subjectivism’ of phenomenological theories, I argue, can be
supplemented by recent cognitivist approaches that highlight the complex
forms of affective response, emotional engagement, and moral allegiance at
work in our experience of movies. I explore this exciting crossover with
reference to recent films that have attracted critical attention from both
perspectives. My suggestion is that an empathic ethics or ‘cinempathy’ is
at work in many films, such as Ashgar Farhadi’s A Separation (2011) and
Almodóvar’s Talk to Her (2014), which offer striking, contrasting case
studies of how both empathic engagement and moral-emotional estrangement
play important roles in ‘cinematic ethics’.

Contact: Rachael Brown (rachael.brown at mq.edu.au), Adam Hochman (
adam.hochman at mq.edu.au) or Mike Olson (michael.olson at mq.edu.au)

A google calendar with details of other events in this series is available
for viewing and subscription by following this link:


24 Nov: Michael Devitt (CUNY)
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