Philosophy of Film (Fall 2008) - Paper #2


Write a paper on one of the topics below:

1. Evaluate Currie's claim that photographs, in virtue of being traces, always provide greater "emotional access" to their subjects than paintings. (You'll have to explain what Currie thinks "emotional access" means. Be charitable. Then evaluate. I don't want you to develop your own notion of "emotional access" or to defend the claim for other reasons. You can consider a weaker form.)

2. Evaluate Carroll's analysis of "documentary."

3. Evaluate Carroll's analysis of "cinema." (Since you are short on space, I recommend focusing on just one or, perhaps, two of his conditions.)

Note: In order to evaluate a theory, you must first explain the theory. When explaining a counter-example to a definition, you need to specify whether the example shows that a proposed condition is not necessary, not sufficient, or neither. If you are evaluating an argument, you need to build up the argument and then show where it might go wrong. To build up an argument, you must do more than merely offer a formalization. You must explain the argument. Typically, showing where an argument goes wrong will require arguing that one of the premises is false. Be sure to consider obvious, compelling replies to your objections. If you think an argument is good, then you will need to defend it against the strongest objections that you can think of.

Due Date

Tuesday, 10/28/2008


You have at most 800 words (roughly 2 1/2 - 3 pages, double-spaced, Arial, 12 point font).


You don't have much space, so you will need to be clear and to the point. Clarity should be one of your chief goals in writing this paper. Pick your words carefully. Write to be understood. Assume that you are writing the paper to be read by someone unfamiliar with the issues.

This paper asks you to evaluate a theory or a definition. In this paper you have to both explain an objection and consider possible replies. I want you to explain the theories and objections as clearly as you can within the space limitations.

I do not want papers that are longer than the word limit. The space limitation is designed to force you to practice verbal economy. That said, it is impossible to write an adequate paper on on any of the topics in much less space. You'll have to use most of the space, and use it well.


The paper must be typed. It should be double spaced. It should have one inch margins. You should use a 12 point font. I prefer Arial, since it is easy to read.


You are required to hand in a paper copy at the start of class on the due date. In addition you must submit the paper through TurnItIn via Blackboard by 11:59 pm on the due date. The link is on the assignments section on Blackboard.

TurnItIn is a plagiarism detection tool. It will compare your paper against others available online, in journals, submitted in this class, at Temple, and from all other universities that use the software.

Note: Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the class, not just on this assignment.