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Screen of vision: Ayn Rand and the possibilities of an objectivist aesthetics of cinema

Barrowman, Kyle 2018. Screen of vision: Ayn Rand and the possibilities of an objectivist aesthetics of cinema. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

This thesis is my attempt to establish a foundation, based on the philosophy of Objectivism as it was developed and elaborated by the Russian-American novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, for the construction of an Objectivist aesthetics of cinema. After contextualizing and explicating Rand’s philosophy, I make the case that, propaedeutic to the construction of a new aesthetics of cinema, it is incumbent upon film scholars to refute the irrational and immoral philosophical premises that have long been destroying the philosophy of art in general and the discipline of film studies in particular. Due to the troubling combination of its contemporaneity, extremism, and considerable influence, I focus initially on the philosophical school of poststructuralism – which I contend has, since the 1960s, served as the default philosophical foundation for film scholars – before ultimately moving on to refute what I call the Kantian aesthetic tradition, of which I demonstrate poststructuralism is a deadly symptom. Upon clearing away this philosophical debris, I set about arguing for the probative value of an Objectivist aesthetics of cinema by reigniting long-dormant debates about the validity of interpretation and the role of evaluation in film criticism. In so doing, I hope to demonstrate the value of an aesthetic orientation which I term aesthetic perfectionism, for it is my contention that perfectionism – which has recently emerged at the heart of key developments in film studies through the work of Stanley Cavell, which I argue motivated Rand’s philosophical enterprise, and which I argue should motivate the philosophical enterprises of all scholars who strive to do justice to all that the cinema has to offer – is the key to unlocking an Aesthetics of Life capable of transforming the discipline of film studies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Funders: JOMEC International Student Scholarship
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 February 2019
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 13:46
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/119306

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