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Abstract

Although the cinematic medium can be used in philosophically valuable ways, bold contentions about how films ‘do philosophy’ in an independent, innovative and exclusively cinematic manner are highly problematic. Philosophers’ interpretations of the stories conveyed in cinematic fictions do not actually support such bold claims about film's independent philosophical value; nor do they offer adequate appreciations of the films’ artistic value. Different kinds of interpretations having different goals and conditions of success should be kept in view if we are to take a sufficiently critical perspective on contributions in this area. In particular, ‘as if’ interpretations in which a philosophical problematic is freely applied to elements of a movie's story are contrasted to interpretations that target a film author's actual philosophizing.