Thursday, March 26, 7 pm in The Forum (ELC 272)
Over the last twenty years, the Belgian team of Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne have made some of the most powerful and most praised films in world cinema. Their most celebrated is the 2002 film, The Son (Le flls), which will be the main focus of this discussion. In all the major films, the Dardenne brothers try to represent, literally to photograph, the mindedness (the intentions and motivations) of certain characters, who are required to make a very difficult decision. But they proceed under two unmistakable assumptions: that there is often something very difficult to understand, even mysterious, about such motivations, decisions, and reactions by others; and that the social context within which these decisions must be made is novel, a product of free trade zones, migrant labor, the Common Market, and globalized capitalism, all creating a new context for labor and power, the social, and especially psychological, implications of which are not yet fully clear. The thesis to be explored: these films should be considered distinct forms of philosophical thought, not merely illustrative of philosophical problems.
Robert B. Pippin is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous books and articles on German idealism and later German philosophy: Kant's Theory of Form (Yale, 1982); Hegel's Idealism: The Satisfactions of Self-Consciousness (Cambridge, 1989); Modernism as a Philosophical Problem (Blackwell, 1991); Idealism as Modernism: Hegelian Variations (Cambridge, 1997), The Persistence of Subjectivity: On the Kantian Aftermath (Cambridge 2005), Hegel's Practical Philosophy: Rational Agency as Ethical Life (Cambridge, 2008), Nietzsche, Psychology and First Philosophy (Chicago, 2010), Hegel on Self-Consciousness: Desire and Death in the Phenomenology of Spirit (Princeton, 2011), After the Beautiful: Hegel and the Philosophy of Pictorial Modernism (Chicago, 2014) and Interanimations: Receiving Modern German Philosophy (Chicago, 2015). He has also published several books on literature and film, including Henry James and Modern Moral Life (Cambridge, 2000), Hollywood Westerns and American Myth: The Importance of Howard Hawks and John Ford for Political Philosophy (Yale, 2010), and Fatalism in American Film Noir: Some Cinematic Philosophy (Virginia, 2012), and on issues in political philosophy, theories of self-consciousness, the nature of conceptual change, and the problem of freedom. He was twice an Alexander von Humboldt fellow, is a winner of the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in the Humanities, and was recently a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the American Philosophical Society.