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Let's l Go to e Moes: Two Thbs Up for Hugo Msterberg's e Photoplay (1916) ... is it merely the law of psyccal contrasʦ which mes me that there is one Wng not less important than the center of our in- . �erests, namely, the center of o negiecʦ? " · . Hugo Mnsterberg, "The Problem of Beau" (1908 Presidenal Address to the APA) Inoduction In the fi edion of Film e and Criticism: Introducto Readings, published in.1999, there is a brief selecon om Hugo Mnsterberg's e Film: A Pchogical Study, a work first published in 19161 and reissued in 1970. We thi� find. e colleague oflam Jes, Josiah Royce, and George Santayana2 in e cp�ny. pfsuch -m : sʦ as Sergei Eisenstein, e Bazin, Christian Metz,$ieged.acauer, Rd Bhes, Staey Cavell, and quite a few oers. The focus of the selecon in. Film eo and Cticism is the conast between theatre· and ci nema; in fact· it opens the part of is anthology devoted to "Film -Naave and the Other·ʦ.''3 Mnsterberg's puose in developing s con- ast is clearl y idenfied: by e editors of these Inoducto Readings: the Har- vard psychologist and philosopher ''aempted in 1916 to delineate the features of the nt hotopy' by contrasng it th the theater" (1999, 395; emphasis ad�ed). Cinemac presentaon5 is, at least potenally, not the mechanical re- prqducon ofa_ theae performance: it is try the creave presentation (rather than simply the rresentaon) of a sequence of acons and events in an arsc medium not reducible to any one of the more established a (or to any combi- naon of ese ar:s). It is a mode of narraon unlike any other, one ideally suited to exhibing various asp_ ects of lived temporali and also the conscious- ness of living through a sequence of scenes whose meaning is, for the most p, "e er not yet" (to use James' expression).6 The more cinema becomes a pely vis� mode of narraon, the more this a will (in Miinsterberg's judgment, at least) realize i unique character. Apart om ts contention; it seems edent that mong pictures are ideally Tranractions of the Charles S. Peirce Socie Fall. 2000. Vol. XVI. No. 4

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Hugo Munsterberg


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Let's All Go to the Movies:

Two Thumbs Up for

Hugo Miinsterberg's

The Photoplay (1916)

... is it merely the law of psychical contrasts which makes me think that there is one Wng not less important than the center of our in­

. �erests, namely, the center of our negiects?" · .

-:-Hugo Miinsterberg, "The Problem of Beauty" (1908 Presidential Address to the APA)

Introduction In the fifth edition of Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings,

published in.1999, there is a brief selection from Hugo Miinsterberg's The Film: A PJJchological Study, a work first published in 19161 and reissued in 1970. We thi.I� find. the colleague ofWilliam James, Josiah Royce, and George Santayana2 in t,he comp�ny. pfsuch -film :tQ.eorists as Sergei Eisenstein, Andre Bazin, Christian Metz,$iegfried.I<iacauer, R.ohmd Barthes, Stanley Cavell, and quite a few others. The focus of the selection in. Film Theory and Criticism is the contrast between theatre· and cinema; in fact· it opens the part of this anthology devoted to "Film

-Narrative and the Other·Arts.''3 Miinsterberg's purpose in developing this con­trast is clearly identified: by the editors of these Introductory Readings: the Har­vard psychologist and philosopher ''attempted in 1916 to delineate the features of the silent 'photoplay' by contrasting it with the theater" (1999, 395; emphasis ad�ed).-l Cinematic presentation5 is, at least potentially, not the mechanical re­prqduction ofa_ theatre performance: it is truly the creative presentation (rather than simply the representation) of a sequence of actions and events in an artistic medium not reducible to any one of the more established arts (or to any combi­nation of these ari::s). It is a mode of narration unlike any other, one ideally suited to exhibiting various asp_ects of lived temporality and also the conscious­ness of living through a sequence of scenes whose meaning is, for the most part, "e,ver not yet" (to use James' expression).6 The more cinema becomes a purely vis�al mode of narration, the more this art will (in Miinsterberg's judgment, at least) realize ii::s unique character.

Apart from this contention; it seems evident that moving pictures are ideally

Tranractions of the Charles S. Peirce Society Fall. 2000. Vol. XXXVI. No. 4

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adaptable to an artistic presentation of what has a just claim to be considered the most crucial feature of our lived experience? If it is true, as Miinsterberg's more famous colleague8 famously asserted, that "life is in the transitions as much as in the terms connected"- perhaps more emphatically there than anywhere else­how better to convey a sense of these transitions than with the dramatic play of cinematic images? (James 1912 [1971), 46).9 If we are interested in tr�ruiitions, can we overlook film? The alleged inadequacies of language10 in this and other respects are perhaps better compensated by tllis unique medium than by any other (James; Gavin 1992, 69; 81-82; 171-72; see, however, COlapietro 1995)_11

As another of his colleagues at Harvard, Josiah Royce, 12 would insist in other contexts, contrast is the mother of clearness (1901, 262)_13 Miinsterberg was trying to become clear about the art of film14 by contrasting it with other arts, including of course the one to which it seems so closely akin (theatre). To con­ceive cinema standing to theatre the way the gramophone stands to the concert was, for him, to misconceive the distinctive features of this narrative art (1916, 38). Hence, the selection in Film Theory and Criticism concludes with Munster­berg stressing that: "The photoplay shows us a significant conflict of human ac­tions in moving pictures which, freed from the physical forms of space;, �me, and causality, are adjusted to the free play of our mental experiences and which reach complete isolation from the practical world through the perfect unity of plot and pictorial appearance" (1916, 190; italics omitted). Whereas theatre is largely bound to the forms of time, space, and causality, cinema in its freedom from these forms can become an objectification of subjectivity, a sequence of visual images bodying forth the stream of human consciousness. The techniques of. this medium can, perhaps must, be correlated with the functions of the perception of depth and movement, attention, memory, imagination, suggestion, and emo­tion;15 in turn, these functions are in cinema put into the service of a narration of events as consciously experienced. To take two obvious examples, the dose-up em­bodies the dramatic heightening of attention so characteristic of our conscious experience, whereas the flash-back (or what Mi.insterbcrg himself calls the "cut­back") embodies the jagged image of an unbeckoned recollection, the disquiet­ing usurpation of present consciousness by involuntary memory. The complex ways in which·distinguishable psychological functions are woven together-to form the subtle textures of our everyday experience can also, in principle, be;.bodied forth by this unique artistic medium. Also two of the most salient 'reat:Ures of lived time, the varying rhythms of temporal succession and the dramatic jUxtapoc

sition of simultaneous occurrences, lend themselves especially well to presenta­tion in this medium.16 Such arc some of the conclusions for which Miinsterberg argued in his very early contribution to film theory. It is truly astonishing, on the

basis of a short but intense immersion in the world of film (Margaret Munster­berg 1922, 281-282), how keenly alive Miinstcrberg is to these possibilities inc herem in the newly emerging art of photoplay or moving pictures.

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In a sense, what Miinsterberg argues in The Photoplay is secondary to the fact that he focused O(l. the phenomenon of film at all. One might contend that he was prescient, exc�pt that this contention would ordinarily imply that what he saw without the aid of any-intellectual tradition others eventually came to see. Today tl;lere iS, without: ques�on, an established interdisciplinary field of film stu<#es; mpd:tiv�l· �hllosophy is _one of the disciplines contributing to these stud. ies. 'Bin·' profe�lonal pJUlosophers working out of the analytic and other tradi­tions ar� prominent coill:ri,butors to this vast field, whereas those unmistakably root�d in �c;ri��� philosophy are ·extremely difficult to find among the theorists of c(nem;�P This is certainly ironic, given the prominence of film as a cui rural phenomenon in the United States and also given the repeated insistence of con­temporary advocates of American philosophy to be concerned with the problems of women and men as they emerge in the cultural context of their everyday lives. In Art ar .&:penence (1934) John De�ey showed himself to be not only unable to hear ja�z but also largely blind ·to film.18 In 1953 Susanne Langer appended a "Note on the Film" to Feeling and Form, a work bearing the subtitle A Theory of Art. There she .opened her "Note" by proclaiming: "Here is a new art. For a few ,decades it seemed liked no.thing m�re than a new tech-nical device in the sphere ofdrarna. .But tqday it;s development has already belied this assump­tion. The screen is not the stage ... " (410}. But this was in 1916 precisely Miin­sterberg's contention. So when Langer goes on to claim that: "It is too early to systematize an,y theory of this hew art, but even in its present pristine state it ex­hibits �- quit� .. �eyopd dol,lht.) thintc ..,.,. not only a new technique, but a new poetic [or artistic] mode" (411). Again, this was the view advocated by Miin­sterberg and, indeed,. Vachel Lindsay and other authors as early as the second decade of the present century!9 Whatdid Miinsterberg see in 1916 that appar­ently escaped the notice of Dewey and Langer? How could such photoplays as The Birth ofa Nation and Neptune'r Daughter reveal so clearly to this "vain, lo­quacious, personally rather formal and fastidious" scholar (James in Perry 1935, II, 141) the potential and significance of this artistic medium? In fairness ro

Mi1nsterbetg --'- and as a way of suggesting part of the answer to this question -it is inst;ructive to recall what James goes on to say: In Milnsterberg one sees a de·

sire "to please an(i to shine ... with probably a certain superficiality in his clever­ness,and . lack.ofilie deeper}netaphysical humor [but] a man of big ideas in all direttionS;<a 'r�algeniur. :"( J>eiry'l9 3 5, II, 14 r; emphasis added).

To suggest,: however, that,JilhatMiinsterberg argues in The Photoplay is sec­ondary to the ·fact that he argues about film at all slights his ideas, ones still wor­thy of our critical attention and thus of historical recovery. In The Major Film Theoriu: An Introduction, J. Dudley Andrewl0 concludes his discussion of Miin­sterberg by retailing a remark made by Jean Mitty, provoked by the reprinting of The Film in 1970: "How could we have not known him all these years? In 1916 this man understood cinema abo.ut as well as anyone will" (26).21

My intention here is, thus, to recover Miinsterberg's work on cinema not

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primarily to make his name better known among us but to inaugutat� i philoso­phical study of the cinematic arts within the philosophical community of those

expressly committed to advancing American philosophy. Serious, sustained and systematic reflection upon the distinctive nature and pervasive infhierice of these contemporary arts seems, to me at least, a task made, to orde'r for th'e member'S of this Society. Historical recovery and theoretical inauguratiori are :hefe of a piCcc: Going back to Miinsterberg's work can be a way of going 'forward - to take up a task hardly yet conceived - yet inconceivably neglected until now, especially given the example of Miinsterberg himself! Thus historiography and philosophy are, in this case, interwoven: I am reclaiming a part of our history for a decidedly philosophical purpose, while reflecting on the phenomena of film from a deliber­ately historical perspective.

The Philosopher of Photoplay In a famous photograph taken in 1908 by Winifred Rieber) htpi"eparat;ion

for a portrait she was undertaking, we see four figures: (from leftto .n�ht})osiah Royce, Hugo Miinsterberg, George Herbert Palmer, and William James (the only one seated and also the -only one looking at any of the others, appareiitly at Royce to his right?2 Royce and Miinsterberg are.looking directly into the cam­era, while Palmer is looking to his right. In the portrait by Rieber now hanging in Emerson Hall at Harvard University there are three figures: Royce, Palmer, and James. What happened to Miinsterberg?23 Whatever the circwnstances of Miinsterberg's exclusion from this portrait, his absence here is an apt symbol of his present status in American philosophy: once a promineni.member of the most prominent department of philosophy in the country, he is now invisible. :rhe play of images/4 not only the diachronic play of cinematic images but also the synchronic play of photographic and portrait images, is multidimensional and thus variously interpretable. When we move from the more conteQ'lpqrary art of photography to the more traditional one of portraiture; we Jo�e the figille who, despite some 'of his most fundamental philosophical comrriinnenrs, appea�s to have been mote finely attuned to the temper and textures of his ti�es than the other three, at least regarding the importance of cinema. This off.e�s another, apt symbol; for the more traditional we become, the more likely w� .are to ocd�de the innovators. So let us draw a portrait in which the figure of Mili1sterberg is painted back fn. His insistence upon being in tht ccntei:< of the portrait, for "aesthetic reasons," was the reason for his exclusion by the artist1 who had her own aesthetic imperatives to honor. But his attention to the aestbetics as wellas psychology of film entitles him, however briefly, to be the center of this prdimi­nary sketch for a larger study. 25

Miinsterbtrg's The Photoplay appeared shortly after Vachel Lindsay;s The Art of the Moving Picture.626 The overarching thesis of Lindsay's book is to establish that film should be accorded the status of art. It is to be counted (along with painting, sculpture, poetry, architecture , etc.) the seventh art. Lipdsay a11tici-

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pateq the semiotic approaches oO;iter film theorists such as Christian Metz and Peter' Wolki;l by asserting that film is a language, though closer to hieroglyphics than anyo�er 13.IlgQag�,. :tie als() specifically tried to show that "cinema enjoyed the prpp�rtiSi_9fali theoth¢r�m, Including �chitecture" (Andrew, 12). In this Lindsay deafly anl:icipa�ed Dewey, who claimed that "something architectural is fou.nd ih every work of art in which there is manifest on a broad scale the harmo­nious mutua!' ad;1p�ation of.endqring forces of nature with human need and pur­pose .... (The'] architectural exists in any work whether of music, literature, paint­ing, ,or architecture . . . " (LW 10:234-5). Lindsay also anticipated Dewey's more general thesis stated that "such words as poetic, architectural, dramatic, sculp-. . tural, pictorial, literary designate tendencies that belong in some degree to every art" (LW 10: 233). .

The principal concern of M,11nst:erberg's book is to exhibit the distinctive fea­_tures 'of:cineinacic pre�e.ntation as an art form. In the context of his own psycho­logic.�! ancf.3,esth¢* theories,27 he identifies and explains these feature.s.28 His film :tl:Ieory' is -�us 111arred ·by· ,the limitati9ris of his psychological and aesthetic theories. �ut,,:ll.lllostmagically; it also transcends those limitations in some re­sp�ct;s. What makes thls possible· is Munster berg's phenomenological attention tO, .tl}e actUal fe,ature� of cinell?atic presentation with which he WaS fami!iar.29 This· however implies yet another limitation upon his views regarding film - a historical one, He was after all writing about film in the second, not the last, decade of thi� century. Much has changed. Hence, he was attending to moving in\;lges without synchronized sound . Despite these limitations, his views are wor­thy of consultation and scrutiny.

Before saying more about these. views, however, let me say a word or two about Milnsterberg himself. He: was born in Danzig in 1863. He: studied at kipzig under Wilhelm Wundt, receiving his doctorate in psychology from that University:in 188S}0 Twoyears l�tel' he received from Heidelberg his M.D. In 1892 Miinsterberg was brought by James to Harvard in order to relieve James of _the fesponsibility ofhaving to teach psychology; this allowed the author of The Prtncipkf of PJ'jchoipgy ( 1890) tC>-turn his attention toward philosophy; for with the public��dn ofrhe.Principies,-]ames marked the dose of a distinctive period in his intellectuaUife, not the i�auguratfon or, better, solidification of his career as a psychologist; In' 1895, at the conclusion of what was in effect "a trial stint·,. (Kuklick, 196), Harvard·oftered Miinsterberg a protessorship of psychol­ogy;. but he still hoped to secure a position in Germany. Two years later, how­ever; he made the realistic assessment that a permanent position of comparable stan.is in his native land was simply not in the offing. So, in 1897, he assumed the professorship in psychology. He was not only the author of a book entitled Psychology: Genera/and Applied(NY: D. Appleton, 1914) but also extremely in· terested in applying his psychological theories to a wide range of cultural phe­nomena, including law; industry, psychotherapy, education (including art educa­tion .arid se�.educ?-ti.on), and of course cinema.31

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from these historical struggles is, ultimately, to divest them of their human sig­nificance .

Two contemporary poets provide important suggestions fot how to conceive not only the art of poetry but also art more generally, suggestions especially help­ful for bringing into clear and steady focus the experiential and worldly character ofanworks. Joric: Graham views her own poems not so much as telling personal stories or retelling perpetual myths but "as ways of actually experiencing real�ty. It sometimes seems to me that the .first time through an experience is not neces­sarily the deepest encounter with that piece of experience. Any kind ofwork that you do, in the arts, is a way of going back through any given. experience and gleaning from it whatever you might have missed in the hurry of living" ( 4; .em­phasis added).37 The function of art is linked, then, to the articulation of experi­ence, but the process of articulation is itself an encounter with reality, thus an in­stance of experience. It is a process wherein abstractions arc made38 for the pur­pose of the intensifying experience and also for that of comprehending (though not necessarily in a manner translatable into words) the actual course, constitu­tive conflicts, and possible resolutions of an experience ( cf. Langer; Dewey).

In Crediting Poetry (his Nobel Lecture), Seamus Heaney also suggests that poetry provides us with the means of owning up to experience, to the acquisi­tions flowing from and the exigencies inherent in our experiential transactions. He proclaims that he credits poetry ultimately because it "can make an order as true to the impact of external reality and as sensitive to the in!'ler laws of the poet's being as the ripples that rippled out across the water in that scullery. bucket [in his boyhood home] fifty years ago" (1995, 10).39He immediately goes on:to stress that this is an "order where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew" - a configuration allowing us to articulate and thereby to appro­priate our actual experience. This configuration "satisfies all that is appetitive in the intelligence and prehensile in the affections" (1995, 10).

Art is paradoxical in that it enables us to experience our own experience and whatever is encountered in our experience in such a way that we have an' oppor­tunity actually to experience what we habitually miss "in the hurry of living." This should not be taken to mean that, in art, we experience our own experience in a highly theoretical or predominantly reflexive manner, but rather that we ac­tually live our experience rather than distractedly rush from moment to moment, oblivious of qualitative immediacies, emergent connections, and much else. Att returns experience to itself in a more memorable and intelligible form than the inchoate shape so characteristic of the bulk of our lived expdience:�0 It proVides us with the transfiguration of the materials of our own experience and; ihdeed,

also with the impetus to live through, more intensively but also' mort rdlectivdy, not so much what others have lived through as what we ourselves have or might4 1 have.

Heaney credits poetry and we might credit art more generally "both for be­ing itself and for being a help" (1995, 10), a help above all to humanity in its

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struggles against tyranny' in all of its forms. As we have seen, it is to poetry's credit that this art provides us With the resources and inspiration to carve out a space "where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew." Like' the .other arts, it is essentially educative, though not in a direct or didactic way (Cf. Dewey 1934, 328). Artists shape sensuous materials (stone and words, tones. and gestu:res, etc.) in order to shape perception and experience - and thereby to re-shape habits of perception and experience, interpretation and cri­tique.4�

'the ·help.' provided by art in 'general invit!!S recollecting a question posed by Friedrich Schiller,43 one near (perhaps at) the center of the positions articulated by Graham and Heaney. After noting that the gaze of everyone, including the phil6sopher, "is fastened expectantly upon the· political arena" (for it is here that the destiny of humankind appears to be most manifestly at stake) he asks: "Does one not betray a reprehensible indifference to the welfare of society by failing to share in the generaf debate?" (quoted in Jameson 1971, 86; Schiller 1965, 26). And py devoting oneself to debates about art and beauty, rather than those about power and freedom, does not one display such indifference?44 Schiller's answer is a bold one: The subject matter of aesthetic reflection "is not so much alien to the needs, as rather merely to the taste, of our moment in history." Of even greater pertinence, he states tha� "it is precisely through the aesthetic question that we are obliged to take 'in any Ultimate solution of the political question, for it is throUgh beauty that we arrive· at freeqom." The ugliness of so much of our po­litic:i.i Jives shoJJld not blind us to the politics of beauty and, moreover, to the toleiofartas a means ofemanci)ntion (tf. Dewey).

;Munster berg appeai'stb· have grasped the connection between the aesthetic and the political. But he also tends to argue for a characteristically modernist ap­proach to the problem of beauty, an approach in which the connection between the aesthetic and the· political is so attenuated as to result, in effect, in a separa­tion of the two. This flaw in .his general aesthetics has important consequences for the adequacy of his film theory. Though of contemporary relevance, Munster­

berg's early contribution to film theory is very much limited by several factors, the shortcomings of his aesthetic theory and the undeveloped stage of film itself bein'g the most prominent of these factors. Even so, the editors of Film Theory and Criticism ( 1999) were wise to include a selection from The Photoplay in their Introductory Readings; for this very early theorist, reflecting on little more than an embryonic art, was nonetheless able clearly to see film as an art and also shar!Jly to d�Hneate some of the most crucial features of cinematic narration. Durlng the last,;eais of his life; the author of Eternal Values did not dismiss pho­toplay 'liS an ephemeral phenomenon of little or no importance: here rather is an art With which psyd1ologist:S, philosophers and citizens must seriously reckon.4s Wit� an important exception (to 'wit, television), Munsterberg's observation in 1916 regardi.ng cinema still holds .today: "No art reaches a larger audience; no esthetic influence finds spectators in a more receptive frame of mind" (228-

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229).46 But no education is more demanding than that concerning the truly in­telligent perception, interpretation, and critique of aesthetic forms; and .nowhere is the catering to "the mere liking of the pupils" more quiddy and lastingly 'de­structive than here. Is there any serious question regarding an intimate, comp�ex relationship between our current crises in education47 and 'the.'massive impa¢'t of movies and television? (see, e.g., Bourdieu 1999). Is it possible 'squardy i:o ton­front these crises without carefully considering the predominant "educational" agencies in contemporary American culture?48

Conclusion In the number of The Moving Picture World for January 6th, 1917, a publica­

tion described by Lindsay as "the thunderer of the screen journals" (1917, 76), one can read in large print that: "In the death of Hugo of Miinsterberg, the mo­tion pictures lose a firm friend and advocate. He was a close student of the possi­bilities of the pictures along educational and test lines, and had he .livcci it is very probable that pictures would have been liberally used in the universities within a short time" (quoted in Lindsay). This actually slights Miihsterberg's interest in photoplay, for he was as much interested in film as a cultural phenom�non and aesthetic site as an educational device. The visual music of monon pictures rrtust be appreciated for what it is or soon promises to become: a unique mode ofattis­tic narration in which the subtle textures of lived temporality are bodle,d forth. in

an arresting play of fleeing images. This was, at least, Miinsterbc�g's principal contention regarding this emerging art, the timeliness of which Is acknowledged by the editors of Film Theory and Criticism.

In 1915, the year before the publication of The Photoplay, COsmopolitan pub­lished a piece by Mi.insterberg entitled "Why We Go to the Movies�"49 So, it seems appropriate for us, especially in this setting, to ask:so Why don't we go to the movies? Most of us do in fact do go to the tnovies, some of us quite fre­quently and even passionately. So why, then, does the phenomenon of film, so prominent in our personal lives and contemporary culture, receive so little of our philosophical attention? Why is such a vital part of our experience accorded ' such miniscule attention in our philosophy?51 Encrusted habits and _acaderiuc conven­tions go a long way toward answering these questions. Here be\\'cy'� words, if not his example in this specific case, point toward the need "to. break through the imprisoning crust of outworn traditions and customs .. . " (LW15, 17).

So let's just go to the movies with a copy of Hugo Munsterberg's book in hand or, at any rate, with a lively sense of the immediate relevance of American philosophy, more generally, to the absorbing play of cine�atic images, auditory and visual. How can one who was only familiar with silent films have been so eloquent and we who have had such a richer experience of cinematic presentat.,ion be so silent?52 My hope then is to have recalled Miinsterberg's book as a wa:y of renewing, within such circles of investigation as are represented in t#s Society, philosophical attention to this truly contemporary art (with Vachel Lindsay, we

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might say with different emphasis: this truly contemporary art). Such a renewal wowd,. be l�gely: .�n inauguration, for we know so little of the work of Hugo Mii�sterberg, Vachel Lindsay, and other voices yet to be identified. To recover their work is to -rejoin their efforuY to take up anew what never should have beep, p�i: do\Yn -'- or,to:tak� up at long last what should have been taken up long agq.54··J:ogp back, to tbem-is to:feeJ the need to go forward toward the articula­tion·,qfthepries of cinema incorp()rating the insights and wisdom of those phi­losophicai traditions with whjch-we in this Society identify ourselves.33 This flas}lback thus carries more than retrospective significance; it might define a fu­tur� direction of philosophical inquiry among those who identify themselves with American thought .

' But, from the perspective of a truly robust pragmatism, articulating theories abqut film might be insufficient;36 It might be (as Paul Feyerabend argues) neces­sary to make movies, to experiment in media other than language, especially as it is u�ed in_ the conventional forms of academic discourse.57 Philosophers have for the most part only interpreted films, whereas the point is to make them! How else. tq change the world in which we live?58 How else to reconstruct most effec­tively.....,.,. at least, most immediately the dispositions and attitudes of ourselves and oth�rs- (cf. p�wey ·t,.w 11: 42 )? As a discipline, philosophy has seemed especially relu�tant to investigate the novel, apparently out of fear that it will dissipate itself on !he ephemeral. But how often is 'this reluctance symptomatic of "its inability to ¢op,e with the emergr:mce of new,modes of life - of' experiences that demand new modes of expression" (Dewey LW 10 [1934], 307)?

, So; lees, all go to the movies, perhaps into the studios to make them as well as the into theatres simply to watch - and let's not forget to take Hugo with us! It would be fun to dig out of an archive "Ncptune>s Daughter», the silent film with Annette Kellerman that opened Mtinsterberg's "eyes to the distinctive char­acter and possibilities of the photoplay" (Margaret Mtinsterberg 1922, 281 ) .

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· ·

Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remamage. Cam­bridge: Harvard University Press. Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cohen, Mon·is Raphael 1919 "Baseball as a National Religion." The Dial, volume 67 (JUly 26,

1919): 57. Reprinted in The Faith of a Liberal: Selected Essays (NY: Henry Holt & Co ., 1946): 334-336. All references in this paper are to the reprint of this essay in The Faith of a Liberal.

Colapietro, Vincent 1995 "The Vinues of Vagueness and the Vagaries of Precision: .Re­

Interpreting James and Re-Orienting Philosophy/' Metaphilosophy, volume 26, number 3 (July): 300-312.

Cook, David A. 1981 A History ofNBrrative Film. NY: W. W. Norton & Co.

de Lauretis, Teresa 1984 Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema. Bloomington, IN: Indiana

University Press. Dewey, John




"The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy." Creative Inteltigence:p.ssays in the Pragmatic Attitude (NY: Henry Holt): 3-69. Reprinted irt Richard ]. Bernstein (ed.), On Experience, Nature, and Freedom (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960): 19-69; also in The Middle Workr of fohn Dewey (Carbondale & Edwardsville, IL: SIU Press), vol­ume 10: 4·48. "Context and Thought." lAter Works of John Dli1vey, volliiTie 6: 3�21. Cited as LW 6. Art as Experience. All references in this paper ate to voiliiTic lO,ofThe Later Works of John Dewey (Carbondale and 'Edwardsville, IL: SIU

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:Press, 1987). Cited as LW iO. 1935 "Liberaliim and Social Action. All references are to the critically edited

version of this text fuund in The lAter Writings of John Dewey, volume ll (Carbondale & Edwardsville, IL: SIU Press, 1987). Cited as LW 11.

1942 "William, James as Empiricist" in In Commemot'Rtiun of William James, 1842-1942 (NY: Columbia University Press, 1942): 48-57. All refer­

,ences are to the reprint of this paper in The lAter Works of John Dewey, volume 15 (Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL: SIU Press, 1989): 9-17

Em�rsori, Ralph Waldo ' 1841" "Art" in Essays: Firrt Series.

i844 "The Poet" !n Essays: Second Series. Fey�rabend, Paw '


GaVin, William .1992

Graham, ·Gordon . 199i'

Graham, Jorie

"let's Make More Movies." The Owl of Minerva: Philosophers on Phi­losophy; edited by Charles J. Bontempo and S. Jack Odell (NY: McGraw-Hill): 20i-210� Ri:printed in Knorr>ledge, Science, and Rela· tivism: Philorophical' Papers, volume 3 (Cambridge, UK: Ca,bridge

University Press, 1999): 192-199.

William ]11mer and the Reinrtatement of the Vague. Philadelphia: Tem­ple University Press.

Philosophy of the Arts: An Introduction to Aerthetics. NY: Roudcdge.

1997 Interview oh "Ail Thin:gs Considered" (National Public Radio) con­ducted by Jacki Lyden. Transcript provided by NPR: 3·5.

HarPard Alumni Bulletin 1950 "Miinsterberg Was Painted Out." Harrard Alumni Bulletin

(February 18, 1950): 384-385. !leaney, Seam!JS . 1995

James� William . 1890



l9li JatnesiJn,' Frederic


Cre.ditingPoetry: The NobelLecture. NY: Farrar Strauss Giroux.

1be Principles of Psychology. NY:. Henry Holt & Co. All references are to the critical edi'tion of The Principles of Psychology (Cambridge, MA,

&London; England: Harvard University Press, 1981). "On a C�itiin Blindness in Human Beings." Talks to Teachers on Psy­chology; and to Students on &nne of Lift's Ideals. NY: Henry Holt. Re­printed in On Some of Life's Ideals (NY: Henry Holt, 1912) "The Social Value of the ·College Bred ." McClure1I Magazine, 30: 419-422. Address at.Radctiffe College (November 7, 1907) to the ASsociation of American Alumnae. Reprinted in Memories and Studies (NY & London: Longmans, Green & Co.). Reprinted in The Moral £quivalent of War and Other Essays, edited by John K. Roth (NY: Harper&Row, 1971): 17-24. Esrays i11 Radical Empiricism. NY: Longmans, Green.

Marxism and Form: Twentieth-Century Dialectical Theories: of Litera­. ture. Prince tor( NJ: Princeton University Press.

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Kuklick, Bruce 1977 The Rise of American Philosophy: Cambridge, Massac/nl.settr, 1860-1930.

New Have and London: Yale University Press. Langer, Susanne K

1953 Feeling and Fonn: A Theory of Art. NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1967-82 Mind: An Essay on Ht�man Feeling, volume 1 (1967), 2 (1912), k3

(1982). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Lindsay, Vachel

1916 1917

Metz, Christian 1971



Tbe Art of the Moving Picture. NY: Liveright. "Photoplay Progress" (Review of Hugo Milnsterberg's Tbe Photoplay: A Prychological Study). Tbe New Republic (February 17): 76-77.

-.� .

Essais sur Ia signification au cinima. Editions Klincksieck. AU refer­ences in this paper are to Film Language: A Se.miotics of the Cinema (NY: Oxford University Press, 1974), the translation of Essais into English by Michael Taylor. Language and Cinema, translated by Donna Jean Umiker-Sebco*k. The Hague: Mouton.


Le Significant imaginaire. Union Generate D':Editions. AU references in this paper arc to The Imaginary Signifier: Prychoanalysis and the Cin-ema (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Pre5s, 1982), the transla­tion of Le Significant imaginaire into English by Celia Britton, .Ann· wyl WLlliarns, Ben Brewster, and Alfred Guzzctti.

' ' .

Miller. John William 1981 The Philosophy of History. NY: W. W. Norton & Co.

Milnsterberg, Hugo 1898 "Psychology and Art" in Atlantic Monthly (November): 22-32. 1904 The Principles of Art: A Philosophical, Aesthetical and Pr,ihotOgical Dis­

1909 cussion of Art Education. NY: The Prang Educational Co. "The Problem of Beauty" in Philosophical Rwiew (March), XVIII: 121-146.

1915 "Why We Go to the Movies" in Cosmopolitan (December 15): 22-32. 1916 The Photoplay: A Prychological Study. NY: D. Appleton. The Film: A

Prychological Study is an unaltered and unabridged republication of the 1916 work.

Milnsterberg, Margaret 1922 Hugo Munsterberg,: His Life and Work. NY: D. Appleton ..

Peirce, C. S. 1982 Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition, edited by �ax

H. Fisch, eta!. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Cited as WI.

Perry, Ralph Barton 1935 The Thought and Character of William Jamer, two volumes. Boton:

Litde, Brown, & Company. ·

Peay, Jr., EdwardS.

1992 "The Origin and Development of Peirce's Concept of Self-Control." Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, volume XXVII, number 4 (Fall): 667-690.

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Royce, Josiah ' 1901

. i9r3 Said, Edward


The World tmd the IndiJJidua� Second Series. NY: The Macmillan Company . The Problem of Christianity, two volwnes. NY: Macmillan.

"The Politic.� ofKn·owledge." !Ut.ritn.n 11:1 (Swnmer). Reprinted in Falling into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, edited by David H.Richer (Boston: Bedford Books, 1994): 193-203. All refer­ences are to this reprinted version.

Schiller, Friedrich .1795 [1965] On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters, trans­

lated by,Reginald Snell. NY: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. Silvehn;in, K.tja

. 1983 Updike,John

1996 Wollen, Peter·



The Subject of Semiotics. NY: Oxford University Press.

In the Beauty of the Lilies. NY: Fawcett Colwnbine .

Signs and Meaning in the Cinema. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univer­sity Press .

l. Though Braudy and Cohen, the editors of Film Theory and Criticism, cite Miinsterberg'swork as The Film: APsychological Study, the title of the 1916 edition was 'fhe Pht>toplay: A Psychological Study. In The Rise of American Philosophy, Bruce Kuk­lick �ote in 1977 th.at Milnsterberg's book had a shorter lifespan than most of his other works btu:' thete'was, "happily, a new edition which I have used: The Film: A Psychological Study (New Dover Publications; 1970)" (213). Shortly after The Photoplay was reissued under this tli:le, Oonald Fredenckson was awarded a Ph.D. from the University oflowa for his dissertation on "The Aesthetic of Isolation in Film Theory: Hugo Miinster­berg" (1973).

The briefselection included by Braudy and Cohen in their Introduc­tory Readingr can be found on pp. 401-407; it is chapter 9 of The Photoplay. The tii:le ( .. The 'Means of the Photoplay") used by these editors is, in fact, the title used by the au­thor himself. It is remarkable just how suggestive, intelligible, and in many respects con­temporary is this selection from· Tbt Photoplay.

2. See the photographs of Santayana, Miinsterberg, Royce, and James placed on the same page to introduce Part 3 of Bruce Kuklick's The Rise of American Phi­losophy, "The Golden Age at Harvard (II)" (1977, 231). However odd it might sound to us today, what this collage of photographs indicates is that, in previous decades, it was not unusual to speak of these four figi.lres in the same breath.

3. This certainly befits Miinsterberg's orientation. As ]. Dudley Andrew notes', after his·�Introduction" to Photoplay, "Miinsterberg never again mentions any kind of cinema excep.t narrative cinema: For him, cinema is indeed mere gadgetry without nar­rativity. Only when the gadgeoy worked on the narrative capacity of the mind did the photoplay come into· being and, through it, the artistic wonders of film we all recog-nizt=" '(1976;16).


4. "At first, stage plays and musical routines were filmed as if through the

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eyes of a rigid front-row theatre-goer, but from year to year the· camera had grown in cun­ning and flexibility, finding its vocabulary of cut, dissolve, dose up� tracking and dolly shot. Eyes had never before seen in this manner; impossibilities of connection and dis­junction formed a magic, glittering sequence that left real time and its three rigid dimen­sions behind" (Updike 1996, 106).

5. Given Mlinsterberg's own critique of mimesis, found in Chapter VII ("The Purpose of Art") of The Photoplay as well as in his other writings on aesthetics, it seems more appropriate to refer to artistic presentation than representation. ,

6. This is one of the aspects of Miinsterberg's book that Vachel Lindsay highlights in his review of that work. The poet-critic suggests here that Milnsterbcrg in effect wrote (posthumously!) "the guide-book to the newest photoplay experiment" -Griffith's "Intolerance." "People have spoken of Griffith's 'sheer sensationalism' in his plot in which he shows four periods of rime conversing with one another. But jumping back and forth over barriers of time is the most accepted thing in the photoplay. hurdle­race" (1917, 76).

7. The connection berween Miinsterberg aud.]affies, on the one hand, and Royce, on the other, is not in the lease forced, for he (like his two more fumous col­leagues) insisted that philosophical reflection is rooted in immediate experience and, moreover, such reflection must continually return to the disclosures of such experience. He affirmed that philosophy "starts ... not from any scientific results, as one of its func­tions is to find out what right and value belong to science. It starts from the immediate experience of life, and from here it must settle, or at least understand, the meaning and value of every possible function of life" (1904, 5).

· .

8. Though a shon paper written specifically for the 2000 annual meeting of SMP, I want to embed my discussion of Miinsterberg's views on cirtetna in a. densely scdirnented history (at once, personal, textual, and institutional, though the emphasis will full on the textual and to a slightly less extent the personal). As a way of accomplishing this goal, I will annotate my discussion with extensive and, in some ins�Af!ccs, lengthy footnotes. In the labyrinthine network of (as it were) subterranean annotation, it' is im­possible for me to resist citing in a footnote a footnote on footnoting! Thus, see Frederic Jameson's 1971,9, n. 2; cf. 52. While such a citation might seem to exceed the point of diminishing returns (returns of information and insight on the investment of time and energy), my hope is that the thick history in which I embed·my recovery mission will deepen the reader's appreciation and understanding of Hugo MiinsterbC:rg's groundbreak­ing work in film theory; Also, since his writings arc both largely uriknown and often diffi­cult to obtain, I have quoted extensively in the footnotes to substantiate and illustrate rny interpretations and critiques.

For insights into and details of Miinsterberg's relationship to James, see Perry 1935, II, chapter LX ("James and Miinsterberg") and :also Margaret. Mlinster­berg 1922. James brought Miinsterberg to Harvard to teach psych�logy, to relieve him­self of this responsibility! Despite James's misgivings (upon learning ofMiinsterberg's in­tention, James wrote that if the book to be dedicated to him is in line Witll Miinsterberg's other work in psychology, then he would be at odds with many of its key claims: "And how will that comport with the dedication1 Can I then criticize it openly, if the devil tempts me to do so? And if I do, won't you feel as if you had thrown a good dedication away1" [Perry 1935, II, 148])- despite James's misgivings and quite strenuous prote�ts­Miinsterberg did in fact dedicate Grundzuge der Prychologie (1900) to William James.

9. In his discussion of the techniques of cinema (e.g., the close-up, the

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cut-back in the setvice ofmemory, and the cut-offin the setvice of suggestion), Munster­berg offers insights into not only experiential transitions but also the Jamesian notion of those e:Xperientially-layered moments wherein much at once is going on. So-too does film itsdfoffer -a telling example of the Jamesian notion of pure experience, wherein experien­tial data; in their Presentational immediacy, are neither subjective nor objective but acquire thei� srilrus· as either or both depending on how they are taken up in the subsequent stream of immediate experience.

10, These alleged inadequacies can however only be identified if an ines-capable ambiguity is noted and thereby neutralized. For this purpose, one cannot do bet­ter than make explicit the distinctions implied in Dewey's observations in "Context and Thought" (1931), ones made in reference to "the controversy about the relation of thought-to language": "lf language is identified with speech [i.e., with linguistic signs, i.e., verbally articulated symbols arid. their graphic represemationsJ, there is undoubtedly thought .without speech . But if 'language' is used to signify all kinds of signs and symbols, theni assuredly there is no thought without language; while signs and symbols depend for their meaning upon the contexttial situation in which they appear and are used" (LW 6: 4; cf. Langer;Colapietro). .

. 11. The mention of ]ames in connection with a cultural phenomenon such as poptilar film invites recollection ofan anecdote told by Morris Raphael Cohen. Cohen opens "Baseball as a National Religion" by noting that: "In the world's history baseball is a new game: hence new to song and story and uncelebrated in the fine artS of painting, sculpture, and music" (1946 [1919]; 334). He goes on to note that: "When my revered friena and teacher William James wtcite an.essayon ''A Moral Equivalent for War," I sug­gested to him that baseball a!ieady;embodied all the moral value of war, so far as war had any inoral. value. He listened Sympathetically, and was amused , but he did not take me seriously enough . All great men have their limitations [and indeed blindnesses] and WLI­liam James's were dueto the fact that he lived in Cambridge, a city which, in spite of the fact that it has a population ci£100,000 souls (including the professors), is not represented in ariy baseball league that can be detected without a microscope" (335-6)! Sec James's own "On a Cenain Blindness in Hwrian Beings." Are not the blindnesses of parents most ·visible to their children, those of teachers most visible to their students, especially ones who in time have themselves become famous?!

In a different connection, Dewey does not appear to be at all blind to the releilance of baseball or atleast athletics. "In order to understand the esthetic in its ultimate .and approved forms, one must begin with it in the raw; in the events and scenes that ho!Q. the attentive eye··and ear of man; arousing his interest and affording him enjoy­mentas he· looks and listens: the sighti that hold the crowd -'- the fire-engine rushing by; the rtiachine5 excavating enorinous·Jioles in the earth; the human-fly climbing the steeple­side; thi:: meri . perched high in air on girders, throwing and catching red-hot bolts. The souries of art in human txpe'rienae ''will be lea-rned by him who sees how the tense grace of the batl-'player infects the 'onlooking crowd; whO notes-the deli.ght of the housewife in tending her plants, etc.'' (LW 10: 10-11; emphasis added).


12. Miinsterberg appears to have been personally and (of course) philoso· phicallydoser to Royce than to James. See Margaret Miinsterberg 1922. Like Royce, he was President of both the American Psychological Association and the American Philoso­phical Association ; :llso like him, he was an indefatigable defender of the idealist perspec­tive.:

13. Milnsterbetg's treatment of cinema vis-a-vis theatre is an exemplifica-

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tion of what Royce exhibits in The Problem of Christianity as the logic of compariso11 (II, 169ff.; 194ff.; 264ff). Another compelling exhibition of this logic is found hi. Miinster­

berg's carefully delineating contrast between the scholarly and the artistic attitude (1916,

1461£.). 14. I take it to be significant that, in the last sentence of the first chapter of

The Photoplay ("The Outer Development of the Moving Pictures"), Milnsterberg stresses that this outer development, "this technical progress and this tremendous increase of the mechanical devices for production [of cinematic imagery], have their true meaning in the inner growth which led from nifle episodes to the height of tremendous action, from triv­ial routine to a new and most promising art» (1916, 20; emphasis added). In chapter two, he discusses this inner development. This chapter itself concludes by posing the psy­chological and aesthetic questions (respectively, "What are the psychologiq!.) factors ip­volved when we watch the happenings on the screen?" and "What characterizes the inde­pendence of an art, what constitutes the conditions under which the ,works �f a sp�dal art stand[?]" [1916, 39]) to which the book is principally devoted. ,

15. Part I of The Photoplay ("The Psychology of the Photoplay") is made up of four chapters, covering just these topics: Chapter 3, "Depth and Movement"; Chap­ter 4, "Attention"; Chapter 5, "'Memory and Imagination"; and Chapter 6, "'Emotions."

16. Photography is, according to Andre Bazin, "a feeble technique in the sense that its instantaneity compels it to capture time only piecemeal. The cinema [in con­

trast] makes a molding of the object as it exists in time and, furthermore, makes an im-print of the duration of the object" (1967, 96). .

17 Of course Stanley Cavell is a notable exception in this regard. At the 1997 annual meeting of SAAP he in fact presented a paper dealing with (among other topics) cinematic representation ("Has-Beens and Comebacks: Questions of Praise in Shakespeare and Astaire"; Albuquerque, NM; March 7, 1997). Bt,�.t m,any inSAAP:con­sider him an "outsider" because of training in the analytic tradition .of contemporary An­glo-American philosophy. He is, in their judgment, an Emersonian come lately! This is, in my judgment, largely unfair. An informed, balanced, and appropriate take on Cavell's relationship to American philosophy can be found in Douglas R. Anderson 1993. Ander­son is at once appreciative of Cavell's concern to recover Emerson a1 a phiw1opher and critical of Cavell's tendency to try to win respectability for Emerson by exclusively high­lighting the affinities between this American transcendentalist and such contemporary European philosophers as Wittgenstein and H�idegger. As important aS these affiriities are, the ones between Emerson on the one side and James and Dewey on the other are, at least, equally important. But even counting Cavell as someone who in some measure and manner truly represents American philosophy makes my point: he is the exception who proves the rule. He is an American philosopher (it would be unfair,, not simply ungra­cious, to deny him this status) who is concerned with the philosophy of film; his efforts in this regard make him somewhat exceptional.

18. This judgment does not imply the inapplicability of his theory of art. to these truly contemporary art forms. In fact, the inherent drive of Deweyan aesthetics would appear to be inclusive of these "popular" or "'low" arts.

This neglect turns out to be all the more remarkable since Dewey met Sergei Eisenstein when the latter was on a sojourn, first, to Europe and then to'thc; United States and Mexico (Bergan 1999). Also, by the time of Dewey's death in 1952, cinema· of course had evolved far beyond what Mtinsterberg witneSSes at the time of his death in 1916,

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19. Given her own attempt to connect cinema and dreams, it is ironic that Langer:; who was in so many respects such a careful scholar, missed a salient fearure of film theory .In its inaugural phase: "Innumerable essays of this period ( 1912-25) loudly differ­entiate cinema from theatre. Most suggest that because cinema in its infancy was eco­nomically obliged to record theatrical performances, it had never looked beyond the thea­tre fnr its own essence. The av:mt-garde of the twenties stn:ssed tho: qualities of music, poetry, and above all dream inherent in the film experience. Delluc tried to sum up his conception of the new art in one mystic word, photogenie, that special quality available to cinema alone which can tranSform the world and man in a single gesture. Cinema is pho­tograp,hy,. to be slire, but photography which has. been raised to a rhythmic unity and which>in turn,haHhe'power torais.e_and uplift our. dreams" (Ahdrew, 12).

20.-- That Andrew includes Miinstcrberg is of course itself significant, even if whRt hc. says is less than accura�e (e.g., his claim. that Miinsterberg fails to appreciate that film is a collaborative art),

:21. This remark carries the·authority of one who devoted two volumes to the very topics to which Mlinstcrberg devoted the two main parts of The Photoplay (Part I being concerned with "'The Psychology of the Photoplay" and Part II with "The Aesthet­ics of the Photoplay"); for Jean Mitty is the author of Esthetique et psychologic du cinema (Paris: Editions Universitaires, 1963 & 1965) as well as Dictionnaire du cinema (Paris: Larouse, 1963), Histoire du cinima (Paris: Editions Universitaires) in three volumes ( 1967; 19.69, & 1971 }, and other important works in this field.

22. An article in •the Harpard Alumni Bulletin ("Miinsterberg Was Painted. Out") -quotes at length from a letter by Mrs, Ira B. J oral em on, the daughter the artist. !The· thesis of this artide.is that-Miinsterbcrg could not have been painted out of this portrait pecause .be was never painted in!

�3, Of course .this is, in a different connection, the question to which this paper is devoted ..

24. There is obviously an ambiguity in the obsolete term photoplay, for it might .be :the-play or drama presented cinematically or it might mean the play of moving images: Of course, it might be used inclusively, thus comprehending both of these senses. this inclusive sense seeins closest to Miinsterberg's characteristic usage; also the notion of the play of images nicely suggests the play ofsignifiers, an association worthy of exploring and exploiting at another time.

25. My hope is to Write a monograph on the theories of film articulated by, at least, Miinsterbetg and Lindsay, with special attention paid to how their views square or conflict with the general positions of Dewey and Langer.

26. Mtinsterberg died in the same year as his book on cinema was pub-lished, so he had littie or no opportUnity to take into account the parallel reflections by this American poet. But his poet did take note of the philosopher and psychologist who also took With the utmost seriousness the newly emerging art of silent films. Lindsay's �Photoplay Progress" was a: review of Mlinsterberg's book published The New Republic (February.l7, 1917}, pp. 76-77

27. The 'Photoplay i:kdivided into three: units. After an Introduction made up of two. chapters ("The Outer Development of the Moving Pkrures" and "The Inner Development of the Moving Picrures"), Miinsterberg devotes Part I to "The Psychology of the Photoplay" and Part II .to "The Aesthetics of the Photoplay." His theory of aes­thetics is deeply indebted to Kant's position.

28. I do not mean to imply too sharp a contrast between Lindsay and

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Miinsterbcrg. For Undsay takes great pains to exhibit the distinctive fearures of film, just as Miinsterberg makes an explicit effort to accord film the status of art. The title page of the 1992 edition of Linday's book bears this announcement. immediately under the tile: "Intended, first of all, for the new art museums springing up all over the country. But the book is for our universities and institutions of learning. It contains an appeal to our whole critical and literary world, and to our creators of sculprure, architecture, painting,. and the American cities they are building. Being the 1922 reissue of the book first issued in 1915, and beginning with an ample discourse on the great new prospects of i92i." B11t Mtin­sterberg's book is a less embattled one: he is not - as Lindsay manifestly is- so much fighting against the rather deep prejudices of a cultural elite which tends to be dismissive of film, as he is trying to get at what is unique about this form of art.

29. Miinsterberg came to cinema quite late in his life. In fact, his book on The Photoplay was published in the year of his death, while his article {"Why We Go to the Movies") was published in CosmopolittJn one year and one day before his death. His im­mersion in the pleasures of this medium can, apparently, be dated from his encounter with a mermaid (Margaret MUnsterberg 1922, 281)! He "had not been a 'movie' patron; in­deed, he had looked upon motion pictures, with the exceptiqn -of travel pictUres like Ramy's Hunt, as rather in a class with vaudeville, which he never approached. Ori a )our­ncy, however, he saw Annette Kellerman's mermaid pranksin 'Neptune's Da:ughter/ .and dlis not only <;lelighted him, but opened his eyes to the distinctive cha.r.tcter .and possibili­ties of the photoplay. During the summer of 1915, he spent J;Oany hours ·in motion­picture houses. In June of that year the Vita graph Company in New. York showeclltim, with ready hospitality, its studios, its methods, its actors and actresses. A snapshot. picture was taken of Miinsterberg listening attentively to Anita Stewart. He �as an eager pupil and the more he studied this fascinating field, the more he was convinced of the. unique­ness of its artistic mission n (Margaret Miinsterberg 1922, 281-2 ).

30. His first dissertation, critical o[Wuridt, was rejecte<:l by the psycholo-gist who would, after proposing another topic to Miinsterberg, eventually. become his Doktorvater (Kuklick, 187). As Kuklick. explains, this event was significant in Mfu;tster­berg's life.

31. Kuklick claims that Miinsterberg literally created the field of applied psychology (209). He also asserts that: "Miinsterberg was the one Harvard thinker whose applied speculation was extensive enough to warrant him the title of social philosopher, although of a'low grade: in hindsight his pontificating was ludicrous" (211.).

32. "Those who, like Edison, had a technical, sciennfic; and social interest but not a genuine esthetic point of view in the development of the moving pictures natu­rally asked themselves whether this optical imitation might not be improved by an acousti­cal imitation too. Then the idea would be to connect the kinematoseope with the phono­graph and to synchronize them so completely that with every visible movement ofthe lips the audible sound of the words would leave the diaphragm of the apparatus. !.J1 who de­voted themselves to this problem had considerable difficulties and when their ventures proved practical failures with their theatre audiences, they were inclined to blame their inabiliry to solve the technical problem perfectly. They were not aware that the real diffi­culry was an esthetic and internal one. Even if the voices were heard with ideal perfection and exactly in Lime with tl1c movement� on the screen, the effect on ah csthcticatly consci­entious audience would have been disappointing. A photoplay cannot gain but only lose if its visual purity is destroyed. If we sec and hear at the same time, we do indeed come

nearer to the real theatre, but this is desirable only if it is our goal to imitate the_ stage .

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As soort as we have clearly understood that the photoplay is an art in itself, the conserva­tion of' the spoken word is as disturbing as color would be on the clothing of a marble statue" (i916, 202·203; cf. 199-200).

. 33. "Our chief da:im ; .. was that we falsify the meaning of the photoplay if we s(rnply subordinate it to the esthetic conditions of the drama. It is different from mere pictlires and itj�different from the drama, too, however much relation it has to both. But we cbll'\e nearer to the unoerstandin�. of its true position in the esthetic world, if we think ai: the same tiriie "of thai: other art upon which we touched, the art of the musical tones. Theyhave overcome the outer wor'Jd and the social world entirely, they unfold our inner life, :out mental play; with its fe�lings·and emotions, in a material which seems exempt from' the iiws of the world of substance and material, tones which arc fluttering and fleet­ing like our own mental states. b{course, a photoplay is not a piece of music. Its mate­

rial is not sound but light. But the photoplay is not music in the same sense in which it is not drama and not pictures. It shares something with all of them. It stands somewhere among and apart from them and just for this reason it is an art of a particular type which must be understood through its.own conditions and for which its own esthetic rules must be tta�ed instead of drawing them simply from the rules of the theatre" (Miinsterberg 1916, 1'68-9; cf. !,.anger; also Lindsay).

' . 3.4. . 1'We do not want to paint the eheeks of the Venus of Milo: neither do we want to 5e�the coloring or Mary J.>ickford or Anita Stewart [cf. Margaret Miinsterberg 192i,'i82]. We becarrte �ware [in the course o£6ur investigation) that the unique task of the photoplay an ean be fulfiUed mi.ly by a far-reaching disregard of reality. The real hu­man persons' and the reallandscape5 must be left behind and ... must be transformed into pictoriai suggestions only. We must be strongly conscious of their pictorial unreality in ordef'tliat that wondetful play t;)f our inner hpeiiences may be realized on the screen. This -'tonstiousnesi; of U.ilreality milit senously stiffer from the addition of color. We arc once·more ·brought too near to the world which really surrounds us and the more we .l.pproach it the less we gain that inner freedom, that 11ictory of the mi11d oper nature, which rem�infthe ideal of the photoplay" (Militsterberg 1916, 209-210; emphasis added).

· . 35. This is perhaps nowhere more explicitly and emphatically expressed than in The Principles ofArt Education (1904): "The highest truth about the thing must be the knowledge of the thing itsclr" . .. the thing itself with all its richness and all its mean­ings to the hl.irrian mind. The thing itself is not its past or its future, it wants to be un­de�tood just as' it offers itself to our mind in the present experience, and there cannot be any rest for us i.mtil we accept what it offers this moment .... The highest truth thus lies not in. the inference to future trarisf�rmations, but in the appreciation of present offerings

thus, if you really want the tl:llng itself, there is only one way to get it: you must sepa­rate it from everything else, you must disconnect it from causes and effects, you must bringit 'before the rrund so tha:t nothing else' but tltis one presentation fills the mind . . . . If that can' e�er be re�clicd, the result' rr;ust be dear: for the object it means complete isola­tion; for the subject,. it means complete repose in the object, and thar " is complete satisfac' tion With the object; and that is, fiii:illy merely another name for the enjoyment of beauty. To isolate the objea for the mind, means to make it beautiful" (19-20). While the work of science i,s connection, "the work of art is isolation" (21). "Wherever nature [herself] gives'Us such an experience which is closed in itself and does not point to anything else, and brings to silence every practical demand and makes us forget all things besides the one which,offcrs itselfto.our mind, there nature herselfis the artist" (22). The world or total· ity itself presents parts of itself as self-enclosed totalities or worlds . Human art does this in

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a more deliberate, intense and arresting way than the natural world, 36. To make this point, one might appeal to Friedrkh Schiller or Edward

Said or coundess other theorists of art. "Live with your century, but ,do not,bdts crea­

ture [do not be merely its crearure?]; render to your contempor:Hies ·whilt thefneed; not what they praise. Etc." (Schiller 54).

37. Cf. these lines from T. S. Eliot's "The Dry Salvages" (Il): We had the experience but missed the meaning; And approach to the experience restores the experience In a different form.

38. "The different arts are different ways of absttacting from· reality ... " (Miinstcrberg 1916, 231).

39. Speaking of himself and his siblings as young children, Heaney states that: "We took in everything that was going on .... Ahistorical, pre-sexual, in suspension between the archaic and the modern, we were as susceptible and impressionable as the drinking water that stood in a bucket in our scullery: every time a passing train made the earth shake, the surface of the water used to ripple delicately, concentrically, and in utter silence" (1995, 4-5; cf. 10; 52).

40. As Dewey notes, "the orgaitism hungers naturally for satisfaction in the material of experience. The hunger of the organism for satisfaction through the ·eye is hardly less than its urgent impulsion for food" (LW lO [1934), 345). But the taW stUff of human experience needs to be cultivated and cooked in order to be pleasing nourishing. The arts thus feed our hunger� for satisfaction in the materials of experience.

41: The modality of possibility (to what merely might be) is one.in:timately associated with art. In one of Peirce's most famous essays, "The Neglected ArgUment for the Reality of God" ( 1908), he comes close to identifYing this modality with the creations of the artists as well as those of the mathematicians: "Of the three UniverSes ofExperience familiar to us all, the first comprises all mere Ideas [or abstractable Forms], those airy nothings to which the mind of poet, pure mathematician, or another might give local habitation and a name within that mind. Their very airy-nothingneSs, the fad that their Being consists in mere capability of getting thought, not in anybcidy's Actually thil,iking them, saves their Reality"' (Collected Papers, 6.455). But, however prominent is this mo­dality in a work of art it would be a mistake to suppose that art is limited to the realm of possibility. Intractable conflicts (i.e., instances of secondness, of the modality df actuility) and intelligible connections (e.g., instances of thirdness, of the modality ofa form of being destined or at least disposed in a certain direction) are obviousl{a.Jso integral to ait;_Even so, art uniquely investigates and projects possibilities . Herein the :tradition3.llink between art and imagination finds one ofits justifications.

42. Much of contemporary art is designed not so much to facilitate as to frust.rate what Royce called the will td tneaning; for this will'has historic;illy become so tighdy interwoven with the will to assimilate and to dominate others. So itean be the case that a work of art calls for an act of interpretation (i.e., the enactinent of the will to mean­ing) while blocking ·thc very possibility of interpretation. The work ofart enacts this con­tradiction so as to resist being assimilated in the dominant form of aesthetic appreciation in a bourgeois culture - a form at one with the ethos of that culture: consumption. In effect, the work is designed to resist consumption and, ifcoi:isumed, to prove indigestible.

43. Schiller was the first philosophical author to whom C. s, Peirce de-voted serious attention. See Petry 1992; also, e.g.,,one of Peirce's own earliest writings ("The Sense of Beauty never funhered the Performance of a single Act of Duty"), a de-

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fense of Schiller aganst Ruskin (W l: 10-12; 26 March 1857). This was written while he w;J stlU a stud<:nt at Harva,nt: graduating from there rwo years later (a year marked also by the'bi� of Dewey and the pilblieai:ion of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species) .

. . >:44,, )nresponse to Jorie Graharo's claim that art allows us to go back thr9ugh a given experience :md .glean from it "whatever you might have missed in the .hurrr �( li�g�� •. the interviewer asked: "The way a painter or a filmmaker might try to capturt light, for examplel" To this the pOet herself responded: "The way a painter or a filmmaker might undergo repe�ted takes of any event until they get what they call the righf tliJce. The difference· between politics and poetics is precisely that politics compels one to form a rigid opinion, but the paradox that poetics allows permits you to hold si­multaneous truths at once. What Yeats would call reality and justice in one thought" (4). It is_ili,e re/4riomhipberween politics and poetics (or art) that obviously concerns us in the concluding paragraphs of this critical section, for Miinsterberg's aesthetic theory is, in my judgment, especially weak at this precise point.

45. The concluding chapter ofThe Photoplay is entitled "The Function of the :Photbplay." Miinsterberg is acutely conscious of witnessing the birth of a new art and thu� ;being in no position to forecast its future� Even so, the functions of cinema can, even at this stage, be delirieated in some manner and measure.

46. . _In "The Social Value of the College Bred" James argued that the best claim war a colkge edu�;atio.n can. possibly make is to help us form qualitative judgments regarding human agents, actions and artifacts (1908, 17; 20): At the conclusion of this essay, �owever, he noted that: "In our essential function of indicating the better men, we now Have fonrudable competitors outside [the colleges and universities]. McClure's Magazine [the very publication in which this essay originally appeared], the American Magazine; CoUie"r's Weekly, and, in its fashion, the World� Week, constitute together a real popUlar university along this very .line. It would be a pity if any future historian were to write words like these: 'By the middle of the twentieth century the higher institutions of learning had lost all influence over public opinion in the United States. But the mission of raisirlg the tone of democracy, which they had proved themselves so lamentably unfitted to exert, wa.S assumed with rare enthusiasm and prosecuted with extraordinary skill and success by a new educational power; and for the clarification of their human sympathies �d:_elevation oftheir human preferences, the people at large acquired the habit of resort· ing 'exclusively to· the guidance of certain private literary adventures, designated in the rnar�et by the a.ffectionate name ofter·cent magazines"' (23·24 [1908]). In his discus­sion :of "'The Inner Development of the Moving Pictures" Miinsterbcrg himself suggests that one of the niost significant achieVements "in ·this universe of photoknowledge is 'the magazine on the screen.' It is a 'bbld step which yet seemed necessary in our day of rapid kine.ffi�tos'copic progress. The popular printed magazines in America had their heyday in the mdckraking period about ten years ago [i.e., the time when James's essay appear in McClure's Magazine]. Their hold on the imagination of the public which wants to be inforincd and entertained at the .same time has steadily decreased, while the power of the moving picture houses has increased. The picture house ought therefore to take up the t:ask1ofthe magazines which it has partly displaced. The magazines give only a small place to articles in which scholars and meri .ofpublic life discuss significant problems. Much American history in -the last two decades was deeply influenced by the columns of the illus­trattd magazines, Those men who reached the millions by such articles cannot overlook the fac.t - they may approve or condemn it - that the masses of today prefer to be taught by pictures rather than by words. The audiences are assembled anyhow. Instead of

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feeding them with mere entertainment, why not give them food. for serious thought? The editors will have to take care that the discussions do not degenerate into onecsjded propaganda, but so must the editors of a printed magazine"(l916, 26-28). Mtinsterbcrg knew, however, that the iMer development of this emerging an pointed principally in an aesthetic direction, albeit one closely linked to popular entertainment: !<Yet that- power of the moving picrures to supplement the school room and the newspaper and the library by spreading information and knowledge Is, after all, secondary to their general .task, to bring entenainment and amusem*nt to the masses. This is the chief road on which the forward march of the last twenty years has been most rapid. The theatre and the vaudeville and the novel had to yield room and ample room to the play of the flitting picrures. What was the real principle of the iMcr development of this artistic side?" (1916, 28). l':lote how easily he links, in this text, art with entertainment and amusem*nt.

47. In "The Crisis in Education" Hannah Arendt notes that: "There is. of course a connection between the loss of authority in public and .political life and in .the private pre-political realms of the family and the school. The morec .radiCal the. disuust of authority becomes in the public sphere, the greater the probability naturally becomes. that the private sphere will not remain inviolate" (1968 [1954], 190). ()f course, the role of movies and television of actually engendering this trust in all spheres has ·been enormous. The fact that teenagers have or take themselves. to have more discretionary income than their parents makes them a target audience for various segments of the "c�rure industry." The relationship between what movies are judged by producers apd others to .b� market­able, on the one hand, and what adolescents and young adults arc disposed to watch can­not be gainsaid:

48. The work of liberalism, as Dewey notes in Liberalism and Social Ac-

tion, '1s first of all education, in the broadest sense of that term. Schooling is a. part of the work of education, but education in its full meaning includes all the influences that go to form the attitudes and dispositions (of desire as well as of belief), which constitute domi­nant habits of mind and character" (LW 11: 42). "The greatest educational power, the greatest force in shaping the dispositions and attitudes of individuals, is the social medium in which they live. The medium that now lies dosestto us is that.ofunified·actionfor the inclusive end of a socialized economy" (LW 11: 63 ).

49. The Editor's Note introducing this article opens by claiming that: "Professor Miinsterberg is a wizard at telling us why we do things. He is the first psy­chologist to take up the study of the strong appeal of the photoplay,·and his important conclusions and discoveries here given are quite interesting and fuscinating as those which have proved so helpful to commerce, industry, education, medicine, law, and .other spheres of practical life" ( 1915, 22; cf. Kuklick). On the opening page of this piece we see a photograph of this wizard in his Psychological Laboratory at Harvard and one of him in conversation with the actress Anita Stewart at the Vitagraph Company-in New York City (cf. Margaret Miinsterberg 1922, 281-2).

50. This paper was written for the 2000 annual meeting ofSAAP, held in Indianapolis.

Sl. What Dewey alleged about classical British empiricism. can, in some measure, be alleged against our unimaginative appropriations of classical American prag­matism: "Historic empiricism has been empirical in a techniCal and controversial [or po­lemical] sense.: It has said, Lord, Lord, Experience; Experjence: but: in· practice' it -has served ideas forced into experience, not gathered from it" (1_917} Bernstein-.'(ed:;J;': �960, 28 ). But this point might be extended to fields of inquiry carVed out in advance of our

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actual; experienc�, rather than ones opened, due; to the trajectories inherent in a dynamic pr�seQ.t, GiPen. our actual experience, film theory would be one such trajectory.

·. 52. I might also ask in this connection: How could such an uncompromis-ing::champion of eternal values prove to be so attentive to new developments within the everyday life of his contemporary culture while so many of us who pride muselves on be­ing:more historicist continueto neglect the significance of film for culture and, indeed, for philosophy?

53. The American philosopher who makes this point perhaps more insis-tently: and eloquently than a,ny otl:ter is John William Miller (1895·1978). In The Philoso­phyofHistory,he contends that: "'History is the place one goes when one gives up passing judgments and a,ccep� identifications. It is the alternative to seeing all things sub specie ti,et¢mitatis. They are to be seen sub specie temporis. This is the heresy of history. But it is als<?,the condition of all humanistic concerns" (85). "History is not 'about' the past; it is the '9-isclosute and vehicle of !tie past. Except as a career and a.continuum there is no past to wri�e 'about.� And if a career, then the present has joined and embraced itJ past" (179; emp�tasis added). If one speaks of everi those predecessors of ours who would deny his­tory, temporality, or change, and "if one speaks of them in the historical temper, it is not to pverthrow or to excommW'licate [those who presume the possibility of transcc:nding tim(; 3Ild mutability], but to bring them into the continuum of our living heritage" ( 186).

, · 54, In 1976 J. Dudley Andrew stated that: "Perhaps Munsterberg's [sic] fult)mpact is still to come. The reprinting of his study [by Dover in 1970, six years before Du4Jey's The Major Film Theories: An Introduction] has provoked considerable interest in his,theory and Jean Mitty, for one [to quote. her claim once again] has said, "'How could we have not known him all these years? In .1916 this man understood cinema about as we�::as anyone ever will" (26). But then he opens the very next chapter by observing that: "H\lgo Mi.insterberg's ideas, no matter how advanced or cogent, had little effect on subsc­quc;nt film theory, Rudolf Arnheim [the second figure whom Andrew considers as a key figu.r:e.in ''The Formative Tradition",) many of whose notions are substantially the same as Mt.insterberg's [sic] in The Photoplay: A Pzyr-holJJgical Study, has on the contrary had a vast etfect'1 (27).

55, The accent should fall on the plural. We do not so much need a the-ory· as simply theories from diverse perspectives (often ones even animated by rival mo­tives). Moreover, the we here is by. no means monolithic: it is a large family with long· staniling, deep-cutting rivalries. At least rwenty-five years ago, Cluistian Metz made this central point in a telling'way: "·What is referred to globally as 'cinema' is, in reality, a vast and complex socio-culrural phenomenon which, if taken as a whole, does not lend itself to any rigorous or unified study, but only to a heterocl*te collection of observations involving multiple and diverse points of view (plurality of relevance of criteria)" ( 197 4, 9 ).

56. At the 1999 annual meeting of the Semiotic Society of America (SSA)

there was at least one panel devoted to C. S. Peirce and film (Duquense University; Pitts­burgh, PA, October 1999). Joseph Brent, the biographer of Peirce, presented a paper on filming I'eirce's own life. Other participants explored the relevance of Peirce's semeiotic (i.e;,his theory of signs and symbols) to the investigation of film.

57. Hugh Joswick, a friend ofmine, wrote a dissenation at Yale (under the direc;clo11'of]ohri .E. Smith) .on Peirce's theory of signs bur has spent most of his career in film.'.


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