29 September 2007

American Philosophy?

A new documentary (previously excerpted here) appears to be forthcoming. From the trailer, it looks promising, if (perhaps) confused.

It's an interesting topic: is there such a thing as American philosophy (other than in the merely extensional sense that Michael Hodges mentions)? Certainly, in this extensional sense, I'm an American philosopher, but (qua philosopher, anyway) I am decidedly uninterested in the various themes that are mentioned at the end of the clip (freedom, justice, oppression, etc.).

Moreover, it appears to include a somewhat idiosyncratic selection of interviewees, and some of the filmic outbursts seem sophomoric. Hard to tell what kind of tone it's trying to set, or what audience it seeks. Would this really interest a lay audience? Then again, is it likely to inform philosophers?

Also, there's a rather cruel moment (at about 4:42 remaining), where the editor pauses on the image of Prof. Erin McKenna (Pacific Lutheran University), as if to suggest that it's she who is eccentric. (Watch it in context, beginning at 5:54 remaining.)

But maybe, as they say, any press is good press. Maybe. In any case, here's the trailer: