Philosophy and Film - PHIL6620

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 5 30 (15) Simon Kirchin checkmark-circle


The course will begin by looking at various philosophical problems, as presented in films. This will involve discussing a range of different philosophical topics, from different areas of philosophy. Film here is presented as a way into the philosophical discussion, which will be supplemented by appropriate primary and secondary texts. The course will then consider ways in which the medium of film itself presents philosophical problems.

Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. Philosophical issues presented through film will include, but will not be restricted to, time travel, existentialism and Philosophy of art. Philosophical Issues concerning film will include, but will not be restricted to 'is film art?', 'what is film?' and 'can film be philosophy?'

Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of both a number of issues in philosophy, and the way that the medium in which philosophy is done is potentially a constraint on or a complement to the aims of the philosophy. The module will enable students to evaluate issues, both timely and timeless, in a manner that's informed by an interdisciplinary approach to philosophy.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40
Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
Mid-term Essay (2,000 words) – 40%
Final Essay (2,000 words) – 40%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module Level 5 students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate critical understanding of a range of philosophical issues that have been presented through film, and a range of philosophical issues about the medium of film itself;
2. Engage critically with some of the central issues in philosophy, and in philosophy of film, orally, and in writing, through their study of the relevant arguments;
3. Demonstrate the ability to engage in a close critical reading of some of major texts in the field.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module Level 5 students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate their skills in analysis;
2 Engage in argument, both oral and written;
3 Demonstrate their skills in critical analysis and argument through their engagement with relevant texts, through their reading, writing and discussion;
4 Show ability to work alone and to take responsibility for their own learning;
5 Demonstrate their ability to clarify complex ideas and arguments, and to express them orally, and in writing.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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