Journal | Salon | Portal (ISSN 1466-4615)

Vol. 7 No. 23, August 2003



Nathan Andersen


Is Film the Alien Other to Philosophy?:

Philosophy *as* Film in Mulhall's _On Film_



Stephen Mulhall

_On Film_

London and New York: Routledge, 2002

ISBN 0-415-24796-9

142 pp.


Stephen Mulhall's _On Film_ is, in many ways, a remarkable little book. It is, ostensibly, a philosophical essay on the nature of film; and yet it confines itself largely to the explication of the four highly popular science-fiction films that comprise the _Alien_ quartet, beginning with Ridley Scott's science-fiction horror hybrid and culminating with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's attempt to resurrect the series. Although Mulhall occasionally calls upon the insights of Stanley Cavell into the nature of cinema, and refers once or twice to major philosophers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein, this work is not intended to be either a treatise or a piece of scholarship on the philosophy of film. It is, rather, an essay, in the best (or worst?) sense of the term: an 'attempt' ('essai', from the Latin verb 'essayer': to try, to make an attempt) to read these films as a developing body of philosophical works, each of which refers to and criticizes, at the same time as it builds itself upon, the claims and insights of its predecessors. As such an attempt, the book's success can only be measured with respect to how far it can sustain its hypothesis that these films do more than merely illustrate themes that happen to be discussed by philosophers. In other words, the book will have to show that, in addition to being highly entertaining, these films call for a philosophical reading, that they raise and address the issues they are said to refer to -- including topics of general concern such as the significance of embodiment and sexual difference, in addition to questions that relate directly to the philosophy of cinema, such as the nature of cinematic representation, the character of sequels, auteur theory, and the phenomenon of stardom. More precisely, it will have to show that these films entertain (to the extent that they do) precisely because they are entertaining us about just these philosophical issues, with which we -- as finite and embodied human beings who go to the movies -- cannot help but be obsessed.


Of course, just as the films to which it refers can work on a number of levels, so does this book. Apart from (but in support of) its thesis on the relation between film and philosophy, the book provides original readings not only of the four films in the _Alien_ series, but also of several other films by the same directors, such as Scott's _Bladerunner_, Cameron's 'Terminator' series, and David Fincher's _Seven_. These readings have the refreshing quality of some of the best reflective film criticism -- appearing long after the hype of a film's opening, and unencumbered by deadlines, or by the need to advise consumers on what to watch this weekend, but without burdening the reader excessively by means of reference or allegiance to particular theories of film -- such criticism often develops plausible and compelling readings that challenge the received wisdom regarding a film. I am thinking, for example, of Tim Kreider's recent reappraisals of Stanley Kubrick's _Eyes Wide Shut_ and Spielberg's _AI_ in _Film Quarterly_. Such readings have the potential to change one's mind about what was happening in the film -- not because they propose that there are hidden elements in the film that cannot be understood apart from some theoretical apparatus -- but because they lay out and make plain what is already on the surface, showing that close attention to the explicit dimensions of the film reveals it to hang together much better than initial audiences and critics supposed. Such readings also have the capacity to reveal careful thought behind what may initially appear as either sloppiness or, at best, mere technique.


Mulhall's readings of the _Alien_ series as a whole -- and in particular, for me, his readings of _Alien3_ [1] and _Alien Resurrection_ -- have that quality. After reading the book, and quite apart from my need to do so for the purposes of this review, I was both compelled and excited to go back and watch the films again. I found that -- while I agree with Mulhall that his readings are not the last word on these films (10) -- they did allow me to make sense of and work through some of my own prior concerns about the 'hanging together' of the series as a whole. Someone might complain that Mulhall reads too much into these films, that they are too light to sustain his interpretations. The right response is the one he gives, to remind us that this is an *attempt* to read the films philosophically, and that the hermeneutic circle is not necessarily vicious: 'whether or not a particular reading of a film in fact reads things into it as opposed to reading things out of it is not something that can be settled apart from a specific assessment of that reading against one's own assessment of the given film (and vice-versa)' (8). A fan of either of the first two films might complain that Mulhall's readings of elements of the third and fourth film are excessively apologetic -- and yet the interpretations he gives are not so much intended to reassure the disappointed fan of the series that in spite of appearances the latter episodes have remained faithful to their expectations for a sequel. Rather, they aim to show that the creators of these films are more interested in the question of what it is to create a 'sequel', than they are in the question of what fans 'expect' from a sequel. In particular, they have taken seriously the challenge to create sequels to films whose popularity stems from something more than the fact that they generate specific emotions such as anxiety and fear, or encourage the satisfying consumption of popcorn. What Mulhall aims to show in his readings is that each of the directors and creative teams responsible for the ongoing films of this series recognized a responsibility to be faithful to the thinking going on within the series by creating narratives that responded to those ideas: by challenging them, putting them to the test, examining their limits. In other words, Mulhall's readings of these films aim to show not only that each of the _Alien_ films is philosophical insofar as it takes up philosophical themes and addresses them in some particular way, but that the development of the series is itself philosophical in the sense that the history of philosophy is itself philosophy: insofar as in its sequence it embodies the kind of active interrogation and critique that characterizes any given instance of philosophizing.


This brings us to the question that will be the focus of my response to Mulhall's text. I will consider what it means to claim (or in what senses it can be said) that these films in particular, or any films for that matter, exemplify the condition of 'film as philosophy' (6). Though it might be worthwhile for someone to review, assess, and challenge the accuracy and power of his *interpretations* of the _Alien_ films, I will will be more concerned with how Mulhall argues that films 'can be seen to engage in systematic and sophisticated thinking about their themes and about themselves -- that films can philosophize' (7).


In the introduction to _On Film_, Mulhall distinguishes between his approach and one that would 'look to these films as handy or popular illustrations of views and arguments properly developed by philosophers' (2). What I aim to consider is whether a film can not just *illustrate* philosophical themes, but be *itself* philosophical. What is it that allows Mulhall, or anyone, to see films 'as themselves reflecting on and evaluating such views and arguments [about the relation of human identity to embodiment]; as thinking seriously and systematically about them in just the ways that philosophers do' (2)? I presume, to begin with, that not every film can or should be considered as philosophical in this sense; though of course it might be that this is a matter of degree, and it should be clear that Mulhall's aim in choosing a series of studio-produced sci-fi blockbusters to pursue such an approach is precisely to encourage the view that a 'philosophical film' needn't be ponderous or unapproachable. This seems important, because there is a growing trend in academia to use films in introductory philosophy courses precisely as illustrations of philosophical themes. In the past few years, a number of recent textbooks have appeared to serve this trend. [2] In a chapter on skepticism, for example, such textbooks might include discussions of _The Matrix_ along with Descartes' 'First Meditation'. For these purposes, accessible films are extremely useful insofar as they provide a reference point for drawing an audience fed on popular culture into a discussion of the more standard texts on classical issues.


What makes Mulhall's approach significant, to my mind, is that it suggests an alternative route to approaching philosophy through film, both in and out of the classroom. Rather than look to films (popular or otherwise) as illustrations of philosophical themes, or as 'raw material' to philosophize about, he suggests that we look to film (at least potentially) as 'philosophy in action -- film as philosophizing' (2). After all, if film were only good in a philosophy class as raw material or illustration, it would seem much better to turn to 'reality itself' for our raw material. Why use _The Matrix_ to illustrate skepticism when we already have Descartes 'argument from illusion' and 'dream argument' ready-to-hand? After all, everybody makes mistakes, and everybody dreams. But these facts somehow fail to capture the attention of young college students, and fail to convince them (on the whole) that Descartes is worth reading. The tie-in with _The Matrix_, however, almost never fails to make Descartes 'cool'. In fact, discussing _The Matrix_ in some of my philosophy classes tends to elevate the level of discussion when it comes to Descartes. There are a number of ways this fact might be explained, and it might be considered evidence that modern media trivializes even pivotal texts from the history of thought to the 'superficial' level of popcorn entertainment.


Mulhall's approach in _On Film_ suggests another interpretation. It is that part of what makes films like _The Matrix_ (in this case it is fairly obvious) and the _Alien_ series so entertaining is precisely that they engage the viewer in much the same way as a philosophy text might. They call upon the viewer to ask questions about basic issues, to search for evidence, and to reflect not only on the world presented within the film but on its significance for making sense of the reality they face in the everyday world. Of course, what is most interesting about film as a medium for 'doing philosophy' is the possibility that the way in which film 'philosophizes' is distinct from the way it is done, say, in a philosophy text or in a classroom. It would, after all, be easy -- though not effective in a classroom in the way that _The Matrix_ can be -- to make films of philosophers talking about philosophy, raising questions and providing answers, and to include examples that illustrate and provide evidence for their conclusions. Mulhall is clearly not interested in *that* kind of 'film as philosophy' -- since that would fall into the category of 'film as illustration of philosophical themes', themes whose proper loci are outside of film -- but his specific remarks on the kind of 'film as philosophy' that does interest him are mostly negative, in the sense that he does not provide any more positive characterization of what it means for a film to be 'doing philosophy' other than to say that such films raise and address their own questions. For Mulhall, to consider a film as philosophical is not to see if it conforms to a pre-existing philosophical theory, but to approach it in such a way as to consider the extent to which the film itself poses questions and develops answers of a philosopical nature (3). Before addressing the ways in which Mulhall does this in relation to the _Alien_ series, it will be worthwhile to step back from his text and consider what this might mean in general. In what sense can film, on its own, independently of queries we might happen to make of it, be said to pose and address its *own* questions?


To focus this issue, I want to consider what it might mean to say there is a specifically 'filmic' way to pose and address philosophical questions. [3] It might, of course, turn out later that what we say about film and philosophy has a bearing either directly or indirectly upon literature, painting, music, performance, and other art forms. At the very least, a distinctively 'filmic' posing of philosophical questions will involve more than just talking heads or voiceovers or words on the screen as a means of asking and considering such questions directly (as a surrogate for the philosophical text or lecture). One useful way of approaching this issue is by rehearsing in summary form a debate that has traditionally surrounded the question of what it is that makes film a distinctive art form. What I will consider, by way of this brief summary, is whether the various theses regarding the essence of film provide clues or resources for addressing the issue of a specifically 'filmic' approach to the raising and addressing of philosophical questions.


The major sides of this debate -- at least as far as is useful to recall them for the present purposes -- are formalism and realism (sometimes identified with the contrast between the film theories of Eisenstein and Bazin, or even with the differences in style and approach to filmmaking exemplified by Melies and Lumiere). Loosely speaking, the debate hinges on whether the distinctive feature of film, by virtue of which it has its special properties, is: 1, the formal capacity within film to juxtapose elements, to create opposition and tension, or to set up a space for comparisons by means of editing; or 2, the fact that film is 'of' the real, that it 'records' the real, and presents for the viewer a kind of reality as it unfolds. This formulation is far too simplistic for technical or historical purposes, but may be enough at least to suggest some of the avenues that might be pursued in thinking film as philosophy. Of course, even realism is a 'style', that makes use of editing; and even 'radical' or 'discontinuous' editing can be used to capture the 'sacred moment' of reality. On the other hand, even highly formalistic films tend to rely upon the ability of the camera to produce what Cavell called 'a succession of automatic world projections'. [4] Even the abstract film tends to abstract *from* -- and thus refer to -- the 'real'. In spite of the dialectical links between these categories, they indicate in a useful way the *tendencies* in relation to which a particular film can be best considered, whether as a whole or in part. A film or sequence can be considered to point the viewer beyond its particular images in the direction of analysis and synthesis, or the film can be considered to call attention to the concrete reality presented in or by means of those images.


According to the formalist approach to the essence of film, it is the power of editing that allows the filmmaker to pose questions of the viewer, insofar as the juxtaposition of elements within film calls for a viewer to think through the possible meaning of their linkage. When Eisenstein intercuts images of strikers facing an army with images of cows being slaughtered, the meaning of the linkage is quite clear. And yet, what this arrangement does is force the viewer to participate, at a very basic level, in the making of meaning through film. If we consider (along with Heidegger) the essence of a question as being an uneasiness or uncertainty or open space that calls for a resolution or the insertion of meaning, then the filmmakers' establishment of a contrast of presented images can almost be said to pose a question: what is it that links these shots? The viewer who aims to follow along is encouraged to supply the answer. In this case, however, there is nothing specifically philosophical about either the question or the answer. To say what, specifically, it lacks to be a properly philosophical question would require an inquiry into the character of philosophy in general. But at least it should be clear that the manner in which the question is 'formulated' does not give much room for a number of the traits often associated with philosophy, such as self-reflection, an openness to criticism, the analysis of concepts, or the mustering of argument.


More sophisticated examples, wherein questioning is opened up within a film by means of the juxtaposition of contrasting images, can be found in Bergman's _Persona_ or Bill Viola's non-narrative video piece _I do not know what it is I am like_. In the case of _Persona_, the very structure of the film calls the viewer to consider how its framing, as a film within a film, is related to the narrative of the inner film. To make sense of the film as a whole is to find oneself grappling with questions such as: what is the relation between film and reality?; what is the relation between self and other?; what is it to be truthful to oneself and to others? And the film itself, by means of the dialogue and narrative, poses answers to these questions, some of which the film challenges, rejecting as inadequate. The same is true of Bill Viola's piece, which not only has its central question built into the title, but enlists the viewer in an open-ended consideration of answers. To follow the trajectory of the video (which defies useful summary) is, for example, to find oneself asking what the images of wandering buffaloes have to do with the images of the project of making the film, and to consider whether the likenesses shared by these experiences is clarified by images from the activities of Balinese firewalkers or of a decomposing salmon.


Another way in which film can be thought to pose questions is suggested by the other approach to the essence of film, that considers film as presenting a 'reality' before the viewer -- whether that reality is conceived of as present (as if) by way of memory (with Cavell), or as an imagined reality, or as a depicted or even documented reality. The most basic question that a film asks, when considered in this way, is whether the film does in fact present a 'reality' in the manner it claims. The film poses itself as a 'reality', and yet this self-positing is always open to question. When unsuccessful, we say that the film doesn't work, or that it fails to convince. As I take it, this is so not only with respect to documentaries but fictional narratives as well. A fictional narrative 'works' when 'we' (as audience) find ourselves engaged in it, accepting the characterizations as plausible, caring about the issues that the characters are faced with, and believing that the characters would or could respond in the ways that they do. But that we can (and do) walk out of a film satisfied or unsatisfied, depending on the degree to which we considered that film to 'work' in this sense, shows that the 'working' of a film is something that is an issue for us throughout the experience. The extent to which it presents what might be described as the 'compelling portrait of a possible reality' is a *question* posed by the very projection of the film before an audience. [5]


Any *answer* to this question will presuppose a metaphysics (in the broadest sense of the term that would encompass a physics, a psychology, a social theory, etc.). Loosely speaking, it could be said that what differentiates between a philosophical and non-philosophical posing of the question is the extent to which and the manner in which that metaphysics is presupposed. One of the ways in which films can raise philosophical questions is by setting up a scenario that undercuts or challenges the metaphysical presuppositions of the viewer. The metaphysics presupposed by, say, the average Hollywood film is not simply a 'commonsense' metaphysics, but is a commonsense modified by expectations drawn from previous movies. This modified commonsense is rarely challenged, but merely confirmed and extended by what I am considering the 'non-philosophical' film. Even in the case of science-fiction, the modifications to commonsense presupposed in the presentation of the film are expectations built into the genre. These expectations are not challenged when, for example, the characters of the story find themselves on a strange planet being attacked by alien creatures.


However, there needs to be a distinction made between failure to meet expectations, on the one hand, and a challenge to those expectations, on the other. Usually, for example, a film in which characters fail to act in ways that make sense or in which their motives are one-dimensional, is one that fails to meet expectations. It doesn't work. Sometimes, however, there may be clues in such films that our expectations are unfounded, or that there are reasons why we should expect characters to appear simplistic or non-rational. Mulhall makes a case with regards to _Alien: Resurrection_ that one of the reasons for the strangeness in the feel of the various characters -- and the dissatisfaction on the part of fans -- is that the story is told, effectively, from the perspective of the Ripley-clone, who looks like a woman, but whose understanding of the human world remains childlike. But the fact that the film challenges expectations about how people should behave and how their interactions should feel, does not itself constitute a philosophical challenge. Understanding this point merely clarifies the character of the narrative, the nature of the story being told. It becomes a philosophical challenge when the further question is posed as to why the story is told in this way, when it was told very differently in the preceding films. For, as Mulhall aims to show, these films articulate and modify a 'logic' or 'metaphysics', with regards to a number of important philosophical themes, that is established in the first film. The questions then becomes: what is being suggested by the specific narrative style of the final film, with regard to the themes that preoccupy the previous films?


To answer that question as Mulhall does requires that we go back and consider (in brief) his analyses of the preceding films. The setting of the first film -- as established from the beginning by a tour through the apparently lifeless Nostromo, floating through a vast and empty space, from which the crew emerge as if from the womb of 'Mother', the ship's computer -- indicates the fragility and utter dependence on technology of the characters in this film. To live is to be sustained within a metallic carapace, isolated from an inhospitable environment. What makes Ripley unique within this scenario is that she, almost alone among her crew, possesses a heightened awareness of just this fragility. She knows, more than the others, the dangerous consequences of the possibility of their vessel being penetrated by an alien substance. When, against her will, the alien creature is allowed on board, we see the broader significance of her anxieties. We discover that the manner in which this alien penetrates the body of its victims resembles a grotesque parody of a nightmare version of male sexuality, but one that can impregnate and destroys members of both sexes. To understand the character of Ripley, and to make sense of her extreme caution, Mulhall argues, we need to see that in her psyche there is a parallel between the human awareness of finitude in relation to technology, and the passivity of the female with respect to the possibility of being penetrated:


'she acts consistently from the outset to preserve the physical integrity of the ship she briefly commands because she has all along understood her own femaleness in the terms that the alien seeks to impose upon the human species, and hence has always understood her body as a vessel whose integrity must at all costs be preserved' (24).


That her fears track something real is indicated precisely by the fact that the alien induces horror. Mulhall quotes from Cavell approvingly:


'not the human horrifies me, but the inhuman, the monstrous? Very well. But only what is human can be inhuman. Can only the human be monstrous? If something is monstrous, and we do not believe that there are monsters, then only the human is a candidate for the monstrous . . . Horror is the title I am giving to the perception of the precariousness of human identity, to the perception that it may be lost or invaded' (17-8).


Ripley's vision is a vision of the nature of life -- confirmed not only by way of the actual alien, but in the person of the science officer Ash among other things -- 'as an inherently masculine assault upon women, in which they function merely as the means for the onward transmission of something (an intrinsically penetrating and aggressive force, or drive, or will) essentially alien to them' (31).


What is at stake in this film, with respect to the questions it poses philosophically, is not the question of whether alien life forms exist or whether androids could be made to seem as intelligent as Ash -- that is all part of the 'taken for granted' metaphysics implied by the genre of the film -- but rather the whether we find ourselves troubled by the issues that trouble Ripley and her fellow crewmates. What is frightening in the film is the precariousness of their lives in the isolation of space and in the face of the monster; but what horrifies us, through the film, is the recognition of our own affinity with this apparently alien situation. It is the fear of penetration, and at the same time the recognition of masculine sexuality in the alien's mode of penetration; it is the impassive and yet unrelenting drive of the alien that frightens, and at the same time the recognition that this unrelenting drive that treats individual organisms as essentially passive vessels for its own continuation is a natural drive, not dissimilar to our own nature.


I have only scratched the surface of Mulhall's careful attention to detail in this first film, and will do less justice to the others. In part, this is because I do not want to detract from the experience of reading it, which I strongly recommend. What he attempts to show in relation to the subsequent films are the ways in which each filmmaker responds to the logic of the _Alien_ universe as established in the first film by Ridley Scott and his collaborators. In addition to raising questions of their own, according to the structure of the story they present for an audience, these new films also raise philosophical questions just by the fact of their juxtaposition with the original, and also by their standing in relation to other works by the same director. In other words, the philosophical 'work' of this series involves both the narrative presentation of a universe with its own internal logic, and the significant reworking of that logic throughout the series. On Mulhall's account, the second film, directed by James Cameron, shows an understanding for the logic of the first film precisely in the way that it ends, portraying Ripley as having achieved a kind of family, and having become a mother through adoption, but without yielding to the natural way in which this would take place. The film thus aims to challenge on its own terms the conception of sexual difference that animates the first. The question that this challenge poses for us is whether the fears we have seen animate Ripley to that point have been adequately addressed in the course of the film, preparing the way for her acceptance of the vulnerability attendant with the intimacy that Cameron suggests as the cure for her dis-ease. David Fincher's contribution, by contrast, aims to nip this possibility in the bud from the beginning -- providing a kind of refutation of Cameron's conclusion in the opening credits by killing off Ripley's new family, and then by setting up the ensuing narrative in a prison whose inhabitants incarnate within themselves precisely the unrelenting type of masculinity from which Ripley had been attempting to isolate herself. The resolution to Ripley's fears and obsessions will not come so easily: 'since the alien itself originates from within her, since it is an incarnate projection of her deepest fears, she can succeed in eliminating it only by eliminating herself' (106). It is in that context that Jeunet's final contribution to the series makes sense: from a child's view, in which everything from the adult world is exaggerated and monstrous, this monstrous vision of human sexuality and human nature itself appears as an exaggeration, as absurd rather than horrible.


None of this talk of film as philosophy will make sense from the perspective of those who insist upon the notion of philosophy as the construction of arguments with respect to canonical 'philosophical' questions. As I take it, there is a different sense of philosophy in which film -- and for that matter much of the most interesting philosophy of the twentieth century -- is or can be philosophical. In a general characterization of philosophy we might replace the idea that it consists in the production of philosophical 'arguments' with the notion that it provides a pathway for thinking, an open space in which thinking takes place, enabling new modes of organizing and making sense of experience and knowledge. In order for there to be a pathway for thought, there has to be a motivation for the movement of thought. Questions, in the broad sense described above, provide this motivation. In the case of a narrative film, what motivates its viewers is the interest in the characters and their situation. This motivation becomes a motivation to philosophy insofar as the effort to make sense of their situation calls on us to reflect on the affinities of their situation with our own, and as our efforts to make sense of the motivations of the characters calls on us to reflect upon preoccupations we may share with them. Although this type of motivation to philosophy may not be unique to film, it is particularly powerful in the case of film, insofar as film tends to involve us almost tangibly with the lives on screen. The motivation to philosophy is especially powerful in the films that Stephen Mulhall has so thoughtfully brought to life on the pages of _On Film_.


Eckerd College

St. Petersburg, Florida, USA





1. Though it can't be done in the text format of this review, the '3' should be superscripted. Mulhall in fact makes a good deal of sense out of the filmmakers' decision to title the film in just this way, as _Alien3_ with a superscripted '3', rather than, say, as 'Alien III'. In an extended meditation on the significance of this film as signaled in the title, Mulhall writes:


'if this film resembles its predecessor in any respect, it is in its rejection of the expected way of noting its own status within the series of _Alien_ films. James Cameron's title avoided the number '2' altogether (whilst discovering it obsessively within the film itself); David Fincher's incorporates the necessary numeral, but only after subjecting it to a radical displacement . . . as if Fincher feels that anything he might to with his film will be superscriptural, a writing over the writings of others' (91-2).


He points out, in addition, that the film is dealing with the third generation of the alien species, that there are three aliens in the film, and that the space within which the film transpires is almost always enclosed space, as if the superscriptural '3' were to indicate cubing, and hence containment. He points out that this reading is sustained by the fact that Fincher's preoccupation in this film is to create closure, to end the series.


2. Examples of this approach include Mary M. Litch's _Philosophy Through Film_ (which is to my mind the best and most useful that I have found), Christopher Falzon's _Philosophy Goes to the Movies_, and Burton F. Porter's _Philosophy Through Fiction and Film_.


3. For present purposes, I don't see a need to use 'film' in a technical sense that differentiates it from, say, video or other media for the projection of moving images. Such a distinction does not appear in Mulhall either.


4. Cavell, _The World Viewed_, p. 72.


5. Even Deleuze's approach (in the _Cinema_ books) to the thinking going on in films -- film as the creation of concepts -- might be considered (tentatively) to fit along these lines. What a film does, philosophically, for Deleuze, is present some way of organizing experience and memory. The question posed by the very existence of the film is, can experience and memory be organized in this way? And: what is the effect on thought?





Stanley Cavell, _The World Viewed_ (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1979).


Christopher Falzon, _Philosophy Goes to the Movies_ (New York: Routledge, 2002).


Tim Kreider, 'Review: _Eyes Wide Shut_', _Film Quarterly_, vol. 53, no. 3, Spring 2000.

--- 'Review: _AI_', _Film Quarterly_, vol. 56, no. 2, Winter 2002-3.


Mary M. Litch, _Philosophy Through Film_ (New York: Routledge, 2002).


Burton F. Porter, _Philosophy Through Fiction and Film_ (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2004).



Copyright © Film-Philosophy 2003



Nathan Andersen, 'Is Film the Alien Other to Philosophy?: Philosophy *as* Film in Mulhall's _On Film_', _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 7 no. 23, August 2003 <>.


Read a response to this review-article:


Stephen Mulhall, 'Ways of Thinking: A Response to Andersen and Baggini', _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 7 no. 25, August 2003 <>.


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