Film/Media Theorist Carl Plantinga on “Moral Psychology and Ethics of Screen Stories”


“The Personal and the Political: Moral Psychology and the Ethics of Screen Stories”

Prof. Carl Plantinga

Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 310pm-430pm

**NOTE: Different venue** Voorhies 126 (under our usual room)

Cognitive film theory has for decades attempted to understand the kinds of experiences spectators have when watching films and television. Some of these accounts have focused on the moral psychology of our encounters with stories presented on screens, asking questions about the kinds of moral judgments screen stories elicit in their “telling” and in the sort of ethical experiences screen stories offer. This talk will argue that attention to the moral psychology of storytelling on screens is essential to the development of an ethics of film and media. Attention to moral psychology can assist us in understanding the role of screen stories in their sociopolitical contexts.


Carl Plantinga is professor of film and media at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of two books, Moving Viewers: American Film and the Spectator’s Experience(University of California Press, 2009) and Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film(Cambridge University Press, 1997). He also co-edited The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film (2009) and Passionate Views: Film, Cognition, and Emotion (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999). Plantinga is former president of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image. His talk at UC Davis is derived from his book-in-progress, Screen Stories: Emotion and the Ethics of Engagement.