A Weakness for Complexity: An Interview with the Philosopher George M. Wilson

  • MUBI
In the late 1970s, an associate professor in the Philosophy department at Johns Hopkins (thesis title: "The Nature of the Natural Numbers") began publishing essays on Hollywood movies. George M. Wilson wasn't the first person to undergo this shift in specialism. At the start of the decade, Stanley Cavell had published The World Viewed, a series of "reflections on the ontology of film." But Cavell had always been concerned with how works of art enable us to think through philosophical themes such as knowledge and meaning, and he held a chair, at Harvard, in Aesthetics. Wilson differed in that he brought a range of analytic gifts to an ongoing revolution: the close reading of American cinema, conceived as part of the "auteur" policy of Truffaut and other writers at Cahiers du cinéma in the 1950s, and concertedly developed in the following decades by critics in England such as V. F.
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