My Research Interest

The way the mind edits perceptions received from the senses is strikingly similar to the director’s cut of a complex film. There is a developing consensus among contemporary philosophers that the mind works through two codependent components, pure sensation or perception, and conceptualizing thoughts applied to pure sensation (Block 2011, Chalmers 2011). In the field of film theory, researchers have come to similar conclusions about a codependence in the creation of films, namely that they are objectively visible (the camera captures an image of reality) but are also subjectively structured or mise-en-scène (the designed visual theme) (Allen 2001, Sobchack 2016,).  The conscious mind and film both essentially involve these two components, giving rise to the interesting and difficult challenge of separating them. While it is clear that the purpose of a film is to evoke meaning, the mind seems to be under the illusion of its own role in processing perceptions. We tend to ignore or repress the idea that we are the directors of our lives, constantly dictating and creating meaning from chaos. Although philosophers have often discussed the connection between philosophy and film (e.g., Cavell 2005, Carroll 2008), this work has strictly focused on aesthetics and general theory of value. Philosophy so far lacks work on how film can be used as a tool to investigate analytical questions of consciousness and metaphysics. It appears that film is not only good at recreating reality; it does so in a similar way to the conscious mind. There is thus a missed opportunity; philosophy should take advantage of this visual and auditory device. My research proposes that philosophy of mind can benefit from utilizing devices in film to explore the constraints of the conscious mind. This is significant to the field of philosophy because film has not yet been used as a device for substantive philosophical explanation. Film has a unique ability to re-create reality and lead it in unfamiliar directions, thereby exploring the constraints on what the conscious mind can imagine and comprehend. This makes film a significant instrument for research on consciousness. I would like my research to fill the gap between philosophy of mind and film by demonstrating the profound analogy between film and the conscious mind, and also demonstrating the benefit of film’s ability to make vivid philosophical paradoxes. I am interested in creating research that sheds light on interesting philosophical issues concerning the relation between theoretical understanding and experiential understanding.