10 Jan fondamental of humanistic thought
Format: This midterm paper should not be much longer than a total of two pages (not including the appendix—see in the assignment instructions in the next page), typed in standard font (Time New Roman or Arial) size 12, 1.5 lines spacing, justified (aligned both to the left and the right margins). Writing style should be academic, clear and succinct. Use proper academic reference whenever you rely on sources, either printed or electronic.Descartes and the Mind-Body Problem in Popular Culture
This assignment invites you to creatively explore some of the concepts and themes, which are closely associated with the philosophical work of Descartes and the ensuing “mind-body problem”, in the context of their current cinematic representation. This is an opportunity to think seriously and deeply about the way philosophical thinking permeates and invigorates popular culture. Please read the instructions and follow them very carefully.
1. Choose one of the cool films or TV series episodes from the following list and watch it together. Take the time to discuss the film after watching it. Please note that for this assignment we will not accept a discussion of any film other than those on the list.
Each of these films concern at least one of the themes which we touched upon in the first half of our course in this semester: General skepticism concerning our knowledge of the external world, the dreaming argument in particular, the nature of the mind and the self, the various manifestations and repercussions of the mind-body problem etc.
1. Ex machina (Alex Garland, 2015)
2. Amy’s choice – Doctor Who – season 5, episode 7 (2010) 3. Waking Life (Richard Linklater, 2001)
4. Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
2. Identify the main relevant philosophical issue/s or problem/s in the film, which you have chosen. Explain the philosophical issue or problem in your own words without reference to the narrative of the film. That is, explain the general philosophical issue at hand with reference to Descartes’ ideas and/or the mind-body problem, using only the relevant readings specified in section 6 below.
3. Explain the specific ways in which the film employs, handles and develops this general philosophical issue. You may want to refer in this regard to the plot, the characters, the design of the film (for example, the use of special effects) etc.
4. Describe and explain in detail one key scene (or more) in the film, which exemplifies vividly the philosophical issue at hand.
5. Offer your candid critical thoughts about the way in which the film handles this philosophical issue. Is the film successful in integrating the philosophical ideas into a coherent story? Is the film successful in making those ideas sufficiently powerful/dramatic/scary/funny? Please elaborate.
6. Bibliography: the sources for your assignment should minimally include Descartes’ First and Second Meditations, and also one of the following items. They are all available to you through the course website.
T. Nagel, “How do we know anything?”
T. Nagel, “Other minds”
T. Nagel, “The mind-body problem”
K. Campbell, “How the mind-body problem arises?” S. Turkle, The Second Self, Ch. 7
Of course, there are many other academic sources for the topics in this assignment both in print and online. You are encouraged to look for them, and you may use any of them, provided that you indicate this in your text (either in parenthesis or by means of a footnote), and also include a full reference for all your sources in your bibliography.