Philosophers on Screen

Via Scott McLemee at Inside Higher Ed’s new Intellectual Affairs blog, the news that Astra Taylor has a new documentary out, Examined Life, in which she interviews eight philosophers, in what Scott aptly describes as “philosopher-in-the-street” interviews.  The subjects include (alphabetically) Kwarne Anthony Appiah, Judith Butler, Michael Hardt, Martha Nussbaum, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Sunaura Taylor, Cornel West, and Slavoj Žižek, and Taylor’s style–interviewing subjects walking down the street, riding in the back of a car, sitting in a rowboat–works well here to capture these thinkers outside the usual sites of conferences and classrooms to produce more informal conversations about philosophical principles.

Taylor proved her critical theory documentary chops with her debut feature, Zizek!, which explored the ideas of the superstar Lacanian philosopher, Slavoj Zizek.  In Zizek, Taylor worked hard to present Zizek’s often complicated, always compelling ideas in an accessible format, and based on what I can see in this trailer, she’s done that again.  The shot of Cornel West describing himself as a “philosopher bluesman” alone makes the doc worth watching.

I may be in New York in February, so if Scott’s correct, hopefully I’ll be able to catch it then.  Otherwise, I may be forced, like him, to beg Zeitgeist Films in public for a screener.

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