Philosophy and Film - PHIL6620

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 30 (15) Simon Kirchin checkmark-circle


The module looks 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. At least some of the module will be devoted to philosophical issues concerning film will itself, such as whether film itself is or can be a form of philosophy.
Students will gain a good understanding of several topics in philosophy. They will also critically explore whether the medium in which philosophy is conducted 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
Mid-term essay (2,000 words) – 50%
End of term task: 50%, one from a choice of:
- written piece of public philosophy (1000 words)
- podcast (10 mins)
- video cast (10 mins)

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 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, in various ways (e.g. different styles of writing, orally), orally, and in writing, through their study of the relevant ideas and 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 students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate their skills in analysis and articulating a coherent position;
2. Engage in argument, and use such arguments to support a coherent position;
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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