[Videolib] 2005 new films on philosophy

Steve Fesenmaier (fesenms@wvlc.lib.wv.us)
Fri, 14 Jan 2005 13:52:27 -0500

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New Films on Philosophy
By Steve Fesenmaier 1.14.05

Since I first wrote a review of available films on philosophy that was
published in Counterpoise magazine in early 2004, I have discovered
several exciting new films and new series of films about philosophy. The
History Channel even cablecast a program – “Western Philosophy, Part 3
(2004) The Theories of Hegel. Nietzsche, Marx, Stuart Mill, and
Wittgenstein.” Typically, it was shown at 4 AM on January 14, 2005, but
it should be available for sale sometime in the future.

Intelecom is selling a 25-part 30-min. episode college course called
“The Examined Life.” Produced in 1999 in Sweden as an international
series, it offers a truly intense survey course on Western philosophy. I
previewed one episode – “How Does Science Add to Knowledge?” I found the
presentation to be very good, starting with Francis Bacon, continuing
thru Karl Popper, contemporary physics using Einstein and quantum
mechanics as examples, Thomas Kuhn and scientific paradigms, finishing
with a discussion on Kuhn’s simplistic thinking. Many contemporary
philosophers including Stephen Toulmin, WV Quine, and Philip Kitcher are
interviewed. You can purchase the 25 part series for $899 or individual
episodes for $49.95 each. [http://www.intelecom.org/episode.asp?id=38 ]

Films for the Humanities and Sciences produced two series in early 2004
– Great Ideas in Philosophy I and Great Ideas in Philosophy II. Together
there are 13 one-hour episodes. These two series are the single best
series of films ever made on the subject and it shows – great music and
graphics combine with talking philosophy who very clearly explain their
viewpoints. Leading Ango-American philosopher Colin McGinn, author of
the best-selling, “The Making of a Philosopher,” was the advisor for
both series.

Ideas I http://www.films.com/Films_Home/Item.cfm/1/32704

Ideas II http://www.films.com/Films_Home/Item.cfm/1/33172

Finally, Polish-American filmmaker Pawel Kuczynski has produced a
one-hour film, “Philosopher’s Paradise,” that is a Ross McElwee-style
film about his father’s philosophical religion, “Universalism.” (This
film has had very limited screenings. You can contact the filmmaker
directly if you are interested in see it – as I did -
http://www.directing.com/index.html.) Kuczynski grew up in Poland with
two philosophy professors as parents. He is concerned about the absolute
atheism he was taught – as was German filmmaker Werner Herzog. He is
planning on making a second film, “Philosopher’s Hell,” about Nietzsche.

I have not been able to see the new feature film, “What the #$*! Do We
Know?!” but I will definitely buy the DVD when it comes out. It attempts
to show how quantum mechanics – meaning indeterminacy – can be seen in
our macro-world. It sounds a bit like the 1990 film “Mindwalk” which
discusses the ideas of Fritjof Capra.

Here is one short description of “What the #$*! Do We Know?!” that
inspires me to certainly want to watch the film….

Amanda, a divorced photographer, finds herself in a
Alice-in-Wonderland experience when her daily, uninspired life literally

begins to unravel, revealing the cellular, molecular and even quantum
worlds which lie beneath. Guided by a Greek Chorus of leading scientists

and mystics, she finds that if reality itself is not questionable, her
notion of it
certainly is. Stunning special effects plunge you into a world where
quantum uncertainty is demonstrated - where Amanda’s neurological
processes, and perceptual shifts are engaged and lived - where
is alive, and reality is changed by every thought. This film gives voice
to the
modern day radical souls of science, making them the true heroes of our
day as they
conquer and map the greatest uncharted territory yet - man’s
consciousness itself.

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