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Title: Moral blindfolds and ethical reflections: imagination, ethics and film
Author: Thorpe, Matthew
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2012
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The thesis explores the cormection between the imaginative engagement with narrative fiction films, and the imagination as it is employed in moral reasoning. I begin by describing a variety of imaginative and non-imaginative stances towards fiction in terms of a general internal/external schema. I then describe a similar schema as it applies to engaging with fictional characters - imagining from a subjective and an objective perspective. I argue that in both cases - internal/external, and subjective/objective - an either/or choice between them should be rejected in favour of an account that incorporates both perspectives. The second part of the thesis begins with an account of how the internal! external distinction is related to the question of how, or if, narrative fiction films can be sources of moral knowledge. I consider the idea that films can act as 'thoughtexperimen( S' (the ITE thesis) and find it lacking. I argue, however, that the idea should not be rejected but modified. I do so with reference to Bernard Williams' distinction benveen 'thick' and 'thin' ethical concepts, and I show that re-conceiving fihns as examples of thick ethical concepts meetS the objections that I have levelled at the FTE thesis. It also, I claim, satisfies the condition that if films are to have moral-cognitive value, that value must be tied in a substantial way to their aesthetic properties. I then go on to discuss in chapter four what might seem the most natural ethical function of engaging with fictions - coming to know 'what it's like'. Subjective imagining, or empathising, I argue is not intrinsically beneficial, but becomes so when it is conducted within a more objective context. The final two chapters are a more detailed discussion of Eric Rohmer's series of films Les ConUs ,ilJoreaux/The Moral Tales in which I flesh out some of the theoretical claims of the thesis, and connect them to a tradition of ironic realism exemplified by Rohmer's senes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available