By Ted Nannicelli
Recently, students in quite a few disciplines―including philosophy, movie and media reviews, and literary studies―have develop into attracted to the aesthetics, definition, and ontology of the screenplay. To this finish, this quantity addresses the elemental philosophical questions about the character of the screenplay: what's a screenplay? Is the screenplay art―more in particular, literature? what sort of a specific thing is a screenplay? Nannicelli argues that the screenplay is a type of artefact; as such, its barriers are made up our minds jointly by means of screenwriters, and its ontological nature is decided jointly by way of either writers and readers of screenplays. Any believable philosophical account of the screenplay needs to be strictly restricted through our collective inventive and appreciative practices, and needs to realize that these practices point out that at the very least a few screenplays are artworks.
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Additional resources for A Philosophy of the Screenplay
41 However, Aaron Meskin has countered with an important observation: The adequacy of prototype theory is not the point. Rather, the point is that there is sufficient evidence to believe that the classical theory is not the whole story about concepts. It may be the case that some concepts— mathematical concepts, for example—are classically structured, but it is doubtful that all (or even many) concepts are so structured. ”42 For both Dean and Meskin, this challenge to the classical theory of concepts necessitates a reconsideration of Morris Weitz’s anti-essentialism.
But while defining the screenplay (and screenwriting practice) has required extended conceptual analysis, identifying screenplays and instances of screenwriting practice is not so difficult. It is uncontroversial to say that simply listing shots is not a recognizable and live purpose (or feature) of screenwriting practice. Hence, shot lists cannot be screenplays. One might object from the opposite direction that what I have proposed is a functional definition in disguise and is too narrow. According to the definition, for something to count as a screenplay, it must be intended to repeat, modify, or repudiate the ways in which plot, characters, dialogue, shots, edits, sound effects, and/or other features have historically suggested what the constitutive elements of a film might be.
Another reason for preferring this route to the institutional route stems from a crucial fact illuminated by the previous discussion: screenplays are artifacts—the products of intentional human activity. 55 Jerrold Levinson and Noël Carroll are the best-known advocates of intentional–historical approaches, but they have developed substantively different proposals. The nub of the difference is that Levinson offers a definition of art, whereas Carroll offers a method of identifying art. The distinction is this: On one hand, Levinson’s proposal—generally, that “something is a work of art if and only if it is or was intended or projected for overall regard as some prior art is or was correctly regarded”56—involves a condition that is supposedly both necessary and sufficient for something to be art.