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Cinematic Objects, Events and their Predications: An Analytic-Cognitivist Theory of the Viewing Experience


Cinematic Objects, Events and their Predications: An Analytic-Cognitivist Theory of the Viewing Experience

Lapointe, Julien (2018) Cinematic Objects, Events and their Predications: An Analytic-Cognitivist Theory of the Viewing Experience. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Lapointe_PhD_S2019.pdf - Accepted Version


This thesis addresses a recurring question throughout the history of discourses about film watching, including in film studies and cognitive film theory (henceforth, cognitivism). Namely: by what theoretical propositions and explanations are we to convey the cognitive, perceptual and affective experience of film going? Cognitivism has made the most decisive inroads, while falling prey to occasional lacunae, as part one (chapters one-two) of this thesis make plain. Cognitivist authors, while ameliorating the claims of previous schools (e.g. canonical contemporary film theory) err in their choice of terms and/or theoretical models. By contrast, ideas inherited from analytic philosophy are invoked to advance an alternate approach, albeit one consistent with cognitivist principles and aims (e.g. schema theory). This thesis’s contribution to knowledge is thus to posit an abstract model of the interpretive actions occasioned by the experience of film texts, such that all potential viewing experiences (of all potential film texts) are covered.
Following analytic philosophy’s ontology of individuation and eventhood, the thesis posits objects and events as the two fundamental categories informing the viewing experience of films. The argument is augmented with subject-predicate logic, whereby objects and events are jointly identified and predicated. Objects are predicated alternately new or old, while events are short or long – predication-types borne out by analytic philosophy, as well as film and art criticism. Part two (chapters three-four) delineate the operations whereby objects are identified and predicated within film texts. Part three (chapters five-six) pursues the same explanatory account for cinematic events. The analysis culminates in part four (chapter seven), in which joint predications of objects and events complete the range of interpretive categories fundamental to the viewing experience.
In concluding, the broader reaches of the preceding work are articulated. Divergences in the philosophy of science point to research projects for cognitivism, with emphasis accorded to either empirical research and corroboration, or conceptual analysis, coherence and parsimony. The latter priority – conceptual analysis – is invoked to urge film scholars to analytic philosophy. The expectation is that further study of this oft overlook tradition will yield novel, unexpected insights into the experience of cinematic artefacts.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Lapointe, Julien
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Film and Moving Image Studies
Date:December 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Lefebvre, Martin
ID Code:984992
Deposited On:10 Jun 2019 14:07
Last Modified:10 Jun 2019 14:07
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