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Motives and distractions: Schopenhauer’s actuality for technological media

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A. Schopenhauer has proposed some intriguing and even challenging views on the link of representation to sensoriality. Since this has become a key issue for studies on spectatorship, some aspects of Schopenhauer’s philosophy could be critically examined within the framework of audio-visual media. The present article undertakes this task with a focus on two different notions that concern spectatorship. First, it examines whether the Schopnehaurian conception of a representational ‘motive’ can be incorporated into the study of a cinematic product and suggests that this would involve a ‘realist’ account of cinema and audio-visual culture. Second, it associates the notion of ‘distraction’, which, since Benjamin, has been central to the reception of audio-visuality, with the philosophy of Schopenhauer. The article argues that current audio-visual culture resides in a simultaneous interiorization and exteriorization of ‘distraction’. In the light of this analysis, the work of Schopenhauer appears to be of use for understanding the wide distribution and deep insertion of audio-visuality in contemporary culture.
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Keywords: Schopenhauer; digital media; distraction; film phenomenology; habit; media aesthetics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki/University of Western Macedonia

Publication date: June 1, 2017

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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