James Shelley – What’s the difference between still pictures and motion pictures?

Thursday 20th February 2020, 5pm-7pm in Keynes Seminar Room 17 (KS17), University of Kent

According to the standard view, still pictures differ from motion pictures in two respects: (a) whereas motion pictures can move (or can at least seem to), still pictures can’t, and (b) whereas motion pictures can show things moving, still pictures can’t. I argue that the standard view fails on both accounts, since (a) motion pictures don’t even seem to move, and (b) still pictures can show things moving. Then I argue for an alternative view, according to which the difference between still and motion pictures has nothing to do with stasis or motion. If the alternative view is true, most every theory of what a motion picture is (including those of Danto, Carroll, Currie, and Gaut) is false, and most every term we use to refer to motion pictures (including movie, moving image, and cinema) is misleading.