Hitchcock as Philosopher

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About the Book

The films of Alfred Hitchcock deal heavily with psychological and philosophical themes, and one needn’t look very far into the canon to find them. In Psycho, for example, the personality metamorphosis in Marion Crane that leads her into grand larceny is a pale double of the murderous oedipal divide in Norman Bates. In The Birds, overbearing natural mutations turn what might have been a “creature feature” into a film about fear of the unknowable.
This book looks at 12 Hitchcock films and the positions they put forth on three problem areas of epistemology: deception, knowledge of mind, and problematic knowledge of the external world. These philosophical concepts are explained and woven into the author’s thorough and thought-provoking discussion of each film. Descartes and Wittengenstein star; Plato, Locke, Hume, Kant and Kierkegaard also make appearances in this new “philosopher’s cut” of the master’s works.

About the Author(s)

Robert J. Yanal is emeritus professor of philosophy at Wayne State University, Detroit. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Robert J. Yanal
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2281-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8230-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1

1 Hitchcock as Philosopher      3

I. DECEPTION
2. The Problem of Deception      13
3. Rebecca’s Deceivers      16
4. The End of Suspicion      31
5. Vertigo      47
6. North by Northwest      67

II. MIND
7. On Knowing a Mind      81
8. Shadow of a Doubt      84
9. Strangers on a Train      100
10. Psycho      115
11. Marnie, Spellbound      126

III. KNOWLEDGE
12. Problematic Knowledge      145
13. Rear Window      148
14. The Man Who Know Too Much      163
15. The Birds      175

Chapter Notes      191
Bibliography      199
Index      203

Book Reviews & Awards

“well written”—Philosophy Now; “a refreshingly straightforward, engaging volume”—Hitchcock Annual.