The extensive literature on the philosophical aspects of The Matrix Trilogy perpetuates a number of highly problematic models for inter-relating philosophy and film texts. This book demonstrates the prevalence of the binary hierarchies of high/low culture, philosophy/film and word/image in much of the philosophical writing on The Matrix Trilogy. These have the effect of ensuring that the films could not make a contribution to philosophy. The author's delineation of a new methodology undermines these binary hierarchies, combining aspects of Kamilla Elliott's work on adaptation and Michèle Le Doeuff's writing on Western philosophy, to show that philosophical and filmic texts are profoundly linked through their reliance on symbolic figuration. Le Doeuff's work on the important conceptual role of imagery within philosophy has also been expanded to provide a means of considering the philosophical implications of the complex figures created by the filmic multitrack. The book traces the ways in which The Matrix Trilogy takes up and transforms Jean Baudrillard's work, thereby creating its own postmodern position. The trilogy addresses a key question arising from Baudrillard's work: is there any possibility of revolution or radical change within a pre-programmed system? The films' positive answer is created through a series of sustained changes to Baudrillard's figures and concepts. The author has shown that the films depart from the singularity that characterises Baudrillard's conception of the hyperreal and the code, offering a series of multiple, different, hyperreal worlds and codes.
Jean Baudrillard and The Matrix Trilogy
1 Good example, bad philosophy T he first part of this chapter will offer a meta-critical analysis of the extensive literature on the philosophical aspects of The Matrix Trilogy, exploring the theoretical assumptions that underpin general conceptions of the ways philosophical and filmic texts can be inter-related. The majority of the writing on the trilogy presents the films as introductions to philosophy, setting out a twotier model in which the films are compared and contrasted with their more eminent primary sources. Importantly, this chapter will
2 Adapting philosophy/ philosophy as adaptation T he first chapter explored the ways in which philosophical writing on The Matrix Trilogy used categories drawn from adaptation theory, particularly the criterion of fidelity to the original text. This chapter will begin with a brief survey of the philosophical models that inform adaptation theory, focusing on variants of the word/image dichotomy in which the ‘perceptual’ nature of the filmic image renders it necessarily incapable of the complex symbolisation and conceptual abstraction of language. This will be
The impossibility of reason
This book presents an overview of Jean–Jacques Rousseau's work from a political science perspective. Was Rousseau — the great theorist of the French Revolution—really a conservative? The text argues that the author of ‘The Social Contract’ was a constitutionalist much closer to Madison, Montesquieu, and Locke than to revolutionaries. Outlining his profound opposition to Godless materialism and revolutionary change, this book finds parallels between Rousseau and Burke, as well as showing that Rousseau developed the first modern theory of nationalism. It presents an integrated political analysis of Rousseau's educational, ethical, religious and political writings.
Conclusion I want to conclude by offering a summary of my methodology and a brief commentary on its utilisation in the preceding analysis of The Matrix Trilogy. This will be followed by an assessment of the differences between my methodology for inter-relating philosophy and film and two other approaches that have been delineated recently by Stephen Mulhall and Thomas Wartenberg.1 While Mulhall’s On Film was originally published in 2002, the second edition contains a new chapter on film as philosophy, which serves to delineate his theoretical position and to
arts he predicted that his essay ‘would live beyond its century’ (III: 3). And so it did. Approaching the tercentenary of his birth, the Swiss note-copier’s works are on the reading lists in sundry faculties all across the academic horizon – from anthropology through music and philosophy to political science and even botany. Why this continued interest in a man who was ‘from childhood to his death but an artisan, a bureaucrat or minor employee just as much as a writer’ (Launay 1963: 22)? This question is as easy to ask as it is difficult to answer. A short, adequate
In the beginning was song
6 Epilogue: in the beginning was song And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1.5) We have (rather deliberately) said very little about the subject of music, as this is not obviously a part of Rousseau’s social philosophy. Yet music was – though scholars have often forgotten this1 – Rousseau’s main passion, and this passion spilled over into his political writings in more ways than one. Rousseau, the musician and note-copier, was an accidental philosopher. Had he not seen the prize question from the Academy in Dijon on
2 The disenchantment of the world War on his temples, do not all charms fly At the mere touch of cold philosophy There once was a rainbow in heaven We know her woof, her texture, she is given In the dull catalogue of common things Philosophy will clip an angel’s wings Conquer all the mysteries by rule and line Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine Unweave the rainbow, as it erstwhile made The tender person’d Lamia melt into a shade (John Keats, Lamia, Part II, ll. 229–37) Keats wrote these lines in the early part of the nineteenth century. Yet, it is
The life and times of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
.S. Eliot, ‘is someone who establishes a culture’ (Eliot 1975: 402). Few others than Plato, Virgil and Christ (and the latter, arguably, had unfair parental support!) can lay claim to this status. As one scholar has put it, ‘In our time Rousseau is usually cited as a classic of early modern political philosophy. He is more than that: he is the central figure in the history of modern philosophy and perhaps the pivotal figure in modern culture as a whole’ (Velkley 2002: 31). Rousseau belongs to the noble few. Reviled and ridiculed, liked or loathed, the Swiss vagabond, who
5239ST IGNORANCE-PT/lb.qxd 1111 2 3 4 5111 6 7 8 9 10111 11 211 3111 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40111 21/1/09 13:52 Page 9 1 Ignorance and philosophy We are ignorant. We are born into and remain in ignorance: this is what we know. And this knowledge of our ignorance is what it means to be human. Socrates, the indigent, know-nothing philosopher who nevertheless promulgated even if he did not invent the oracular dictum ‘know thyself’, also knows that to be human is not to know.1 To be human, to have a ‘soul’, as Socrates has