Film, Art, and the Third Culture
In the mid-1950s C.P. Snow began his campaign against the 'two cultures' - the debilitating divide, as he saw it, between traditional 'literary intellectual' culture, and the culture of the sciences, urging in its place a 'third culture' which would draw upon and integrate the resources of disciplines spanning the natural and social sciences, the arts and the humanities. Murray Smith argues that, with the ever-increasing influence of evolutionary theory and
neuroscience, and the pervasive presence of digital technologies, Snow's challenge is more relevant than ever.
Working out how the 'scientific' and everyday images of the world 'hang' together is no simple matter. In Film, Art, and the Third Culture, Smith explores this question in relation to the art, technology, and science of film in particular, and to the world of the arts and aesthetic activity more generally. In the first part of his book, Smith explores the general strategies and principles necessary to build a 'third cultural' or naturalized approach to film and art - one that roots
itself in an appreciation of scientific knowledge and method. Smith then goes on to focus on the role of emotion in film and the other arts, as an extended experiment in the 'third cultural' integration of ideas on emotion spanning the arts, humanities and sciences. While acknowledging that not all of the
questions we ask are scientific in nature, Smith contends that we cannot disregard the insights wrought by taking a naturalized approach to the aesthetics of film and the other arts.