The Philosophy of Clint Eastwood

The Philosophy of Clint Eastwood

The Philosophy of Clint Eastwood

The Philosophy of Clint Eastwood

Excerpt

It is easy to forget that philosophy has not always been practiced as it commonly is today. Most philosophers working today (and over the last couple of centuries) have been academics, usually in universities. There they teach, do research, write for publication, gather to present at professional meetings, and the like. Professional journals and monograph series are often sponsored by university departments, and conferences of all kinds commonly convene on university campuses worldwide. Most philosophers these days possess advanced degrees from universities (though increasingly such degrees do not ensure employment in academic positions). Considered in terms of these traditions of professional formation and deployment, there is ample reason to doubt that Clint Eastwood could plausibly be taken to be a philosopher or to be doing the work of a philosopher in his filmmaking (as actor, director, producer, and/or musician). After all, he does not possess an advanced degree in philosophy (or any closely related discipline), he does not work in an academic institution, he does not present his own creative work in the usual venues that philosophers use. Nevertheless, it is our view that Eastwood is doing substantial philosophical work in and by means of his films. It is the purpose of this introduction to say what we mean by this claim. In doing so we also wish to direct our readers toward the specific essays that make up this volume and some of their distinctive themes. It may be, also, that our notion of practical philosophy (which is what we think Eastwood is doing) will have application elsewhere in the arts and sciences.

One reason for thinking that Eastwood might be philosophizing in his creative work is almost purely negative. Philosophy has not always been practiced as it is today. Indeed, throughout most of its long history it was not. In the ancient world most philosophers (including the few women . . .

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