The Problem of Cinematic Representation

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The purpose of this paper is two-fold: to identify the problem of cinematic imagination, and then to propose a satisfactory solution. In part one I analyze the respective claims of Dominic McIver Lopes and Roger Scruton, both of whom question the scope of imagination in film, when compared to other art forms, on the basis of its perceptual character. In order to address these concerns I develop a hybrid of Gregory Currie’s model of cinematic imagination and Kendall Walton’s theory of make-believe in section two. Section three offers a reply to Lopes and Scruton, examining the problem in terms of the tension between the normativity of films as props and the employment of the creative imagination by audiences. I conclude with a solution that admits of two incompatible conceptions of cinematic imagination.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Aesthetics
Early online date30 Jun 2012
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jun 2012


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