Hickok Hall


Philosophy Through Film: How Movies and TV Shows Are Asking Life's Challenging Questions

Tom Javoroski, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy
October 5, 12, 19, 26


Tom JavorskiPhilosophers have long used speculative storytelling to investigate humanity’s fundamental questions. Two thousand years ago, Socrates questioned assumptions about human nature and morality by imagining a man who could become invisible at will. In the seventeenth century, Descartes questioned what we know about other people’s minds by asking how he knew that the people outside his window weren’t just clever robots. For more than a century, filmmakers have also posed such philosophical questions. This forum, presented by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy, examines philosophical questions and answers presented in movies and television shows and what famous philosophers have had to say about those same issues. Each session in this month-long series will examine a different topic in philosophy. Week one will focus on the nature of reality and our knowledge of it, using recent film and tv show examples to ask whether we can ever really know what the world outside our minds is truly like. Week two will explore artificial intelligence and human minds. In week three, we turn to our knowledge of our selves and the problem of memory, asking whether our memories can be trusted and how confident we can be that our memory is accurate without simply remembering that it is. The final session will grapple with ethics and morality: do the ends justify the means? Is morality purely subjective, or are there absolute duties we have to each other? Throughout, the series will illuminate significant questions about human thought and existence and evaluate solutions to those questions as posited by great thinkers and creators, past and present.