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Noël Carroll in 2005

Noël Carroll (born 1947) is an American philosopher considered to be one of the leading figures in contemporary philosophy of art. Although Carroll is best known for his work in the philosophy of film (he is a proponent of cognitive film theory), he has also published journalism, works on philosophy of art generally, theory of media, and also philosophy of history. As of 2012, he is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center.



Carroll holds PhDs in both cinema studies and philosophy. From 1972-1988, he worked as a journalist covering film, theater, performance, and fine art for publications such as the Chicago Reader, Artforum, In These Times, Dance Magazine, SoHo Weekly News and The Village Voice. Many of these early articles have been collected in his 2011 book Living in an Artworld.[1] He has also written five documentaries.[2]

Perhaps his most popular and influential book is The Philosophy of Horror, or, Paradoxes of the Heart (1990), an examination of the aesthetics of horror fiction (in novels, stories, radio and film). As noted in the book's introduction, Carroll wrote Paradoxes of the Heart in part to convince his parents that his lifelong fascination with horror fiction was not a waste of time. Another important book by Carroll is Mystifying Movies (1988), a critique of the ideas of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser and the semiotics of Roland Barthes, which has been credited with inspiring a shift away from what Carroll describes as the "Psycho-Semiotic Marxism" that had dominated film studies and film theory in American universities since the 1970s.[3]

Carroll was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002[4] for his research in philosophy of dance.[5]

He was named sixth-most influential philosopher of art since 1945 by the Philosophical Gourmet Report.[6]


Carroll is the author of more than one hundred articles and other works:



  • Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1988.
  • Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary Film Theory, New York, Columbia University Press, 1988.
  • The Philosophy of Horror, or Paradoxes of the Heart, New York, Routledge, 1990.
  • Theorizing The Moving Image, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • A Philosophy of Mass Art, New York, Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Interpreting The Moving Image, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction, New York, Routledge, 1999.
  • Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Engaging The Moving Image, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2003.
  • Comedy Incarnate: Buster Keaton, Physical Humor and Bodily Coping, Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
  • The Philosophy of Motion Pictures, Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
  • On Criticism, London, Routledge, 2009.
  • Art in Three Dimensions, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Narrative, Emotion, and Insight, with John Gibson, Penn State University Press, 2011.
  • Living in an Artworld: Reviews and Essays on Dance, Performance, Theater, and the Fine Arts in the 1970s and 1980s, Louisville, KY: Chicago Spectrum Press, 2012.
  • Humour: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature, with John Gibson, Routledge, 2016.
  • Arthur Danto’s Philosophy of Art: Essays, New York, Columbia University Press, accepted and under revision.
  • Classics in the Philosophy of Art, Oxford, Oxford University Press, in preparation.
  • Palgrave Companion to Philosophy of Film and Motion Picture, with Laura Theresa di Summa and Shaun Loht, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming.
  • Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Fine Art, with Johnathan Gilmore, Routledge, forthcoming.
  • Current Controversies in Philosophy of Art, with Frank Boardman, Routledge, forthcoming.

Edited volumesEdit

  • Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies (edited with David Bordwell), Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1996.
  • Theories of Art Today, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.
  • Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures, (edited with Jinhee Choi), Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2006.
  • Philosophy in the Twilight Zone, (edited with Lester Hunt), Oxford, Blackwell, 2009.
  • The Poetics, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Narrative, (edited with an introduction by Noël Carroll), Oxford, Blackwell, 2009.
  • Narrative, Insight and Emotion, (edited with John Gibson), University Park, Penn State University Press, forthcoming.

Academic articlesEdit

  • "Art in an Expanded Field", British Journal of Aesthetics (forthcoming).
  • "Art Interpretation", British Journal of Aesthetics (forthcoming).
  • "Movies, the Moral Emotions, and Sympathy", in Midwest Studies in Philosophy (forthcoming).
  • "Art, Emotion and Ethics", for Philosophy and Literature (forthcoming).
  • "The Structure and Significance of Beardsley’s Aesthetics", for Journal of Aesthetic Education (forthcoming).
  • "Les cul de Sacs of Enlightenment Aesthetics", for Metaphilosophy (forthcoming).
  • "Art. Equality, and the Avant-Garde of the Sixties", in El 68:Memoria de los 40 anos del Movimeinto Estuddiantil del 68, ed. by Juncia Aviles (Mexico City: Direccion General Publicaciones UNAM, forthcoming).
  • "On the Necessity of Theater", for Philosophy and Literature (forthcoming).
  • "Music and Motion Pictures", (with Margaret Moore), for The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Music, ed. by Theodore Gracyk and Andrew Kania (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 456–467.
  • "Basic Theatrical Understanding: Considerations for James Hamilton", Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Fall, 2009), pp. 15–22.
  • "On Some Affective Relations between Audiences and Characters in Popular Fictions", in Empathy: Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience, ed. by Peter Goldie and Amy Coplan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
  • "Memento and the Phenomenology of Comprehending Motion Picture Narration", in Memento, edited by Andrew Kania (London: Routledge, 2009).
  • "Tales of Dread in The Twilight Zone: A Contribution to Narratology", in Philosophy and The Twilight Zone, ed. by Lester Hunt and Noël Carroll (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2009).
  • "Monsters and the Moving Image: Replies to Laetz and Yanal", Film and Philosophy (2009).
  • "Aesthetic Experience, Art, and Artists", Aesthetic Experience, edited by Richard Shusterman and Adele Tomlin (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 145–165.
  • "Motion Pictures", Cambridge Handbook of Aesthetics, ed. S. Davies et al. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009).
  • "Comedy", Cambridge Handbook of Aesthetics, ed. S. Davies et al. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009).
  • "Mass Art", Cambridge Handbook of Aesthetics, ed. S. Davies et al. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009).
  • "Style", Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Film, ed. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga (London: Routledge, 2008)
  • "Narration", Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Film, ed. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga (London: Routledge, 2008).
  • "Narrative Closure in Cinema", Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Film, Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga (London: Routledge, 2008).
  • "Music, Mind, and Morality: Arousing the Body Politic", (with Philip Alperson), Journal of Aesthetic Education, vol. 42, no. 1 (Spring, 2008), pp. 1–15.
  • "Talk to Them: An Introduction", in Talk to Her, edited by Anne Westcott Eaton (London: Routledge, 2008).
  • "Philosophy in the Moving Image: Response to Bruce Russell", in Film and Philosophy, Volume 12 (2008), pp. 17–26.
  • "Arthur Danto and the Problem of Beauty", Il Mondo dell’arte il tempo dell’arte: Prospettive sull’estetica di Arthur C. Danto, ed. by Michele Di Monte (Rome: Meltemi Editore, forthcoming).
  • "Critical Review of The Aesthetic Function of Art by Gary Iseminger", Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming).
  • "Arthur Danto, Filosofia dell’arte e attivita critica", in Arthur C. Danto e l’ontologia dell’arte, ed. by T. Andina and A. Lancieri, in Rivista di estetica, no. 35 (2/(2007), pp. 67–80.
  • "Critical Discussion of Art and Intention by Paisley Livingston", Philosophy and Literature, Vol. 31, No. 2 (October, 2007), 394-404.
  • "Not Reconciled: Comments for Peter Kivy", (with Margaret Moore), Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol 65, No. 3 (Summer, 2007), pp. 318–322..
  • "Consuming Passions: Sex and the City", for Ethics and Film, Revue International de Philosophie (forthcoming).
  • "The Problem with Movie Stars", for Photograph and Philosophy: Essays on the Pencil of Nature, ed. by Scott Walden (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), pp. 248–264.
  • "Globalization Then and Now", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 65, No. 1 (Winter, 2007), pp. 131–142.
  • "Art and Alienation", The Life and Death of Images: Ethics and Aesthetics, ed. by D. Costello and D. Willsdon (London: Tate Publications, 2008), 89-99..
  • "Comments for Adrian Piper", Aesthetics and Ethics, ed. by D. Costello and D. Willsdon (London: Tate Publications, 2008), pp. 135–138.
  • "Narrative Closure", Philosophical Studies 35 (2007), pp. 1–15.
  • "On the Ties that Bind", Philosophy and the Interpretation of Popular Culture, ed. William Irwin and Jorge Gracia (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), pp. 89–116..
  • "Narrative and the Ethical Life", Art and Ethics, ed. Garry Hagberg (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2009).
  • "Feeling Movement: Music and Dance", (with Margaret Moore), for the Revue Internationale de Philosophie (2008).
  • "Danto, the End of Art, and the Orientational Narrative", The Library of Living Philosophers: The Philosophy of Arthur Danto (Open Court, forthcoming).
  • "The Significance of Realism for the Philosophy of Art", Mimesis. Realismos Modernos 1918-1945, ed. Tomas Lorans (Madrid: Museo-Thyssen, 2007), pp. 43–65, 135-155..
  • "Balanchine, Cunningham and Postmodern Dance", (with Sally Banes), Dance Chronicle V. 29 no. 1 (2006). pp. 49–68.
  • "Vertigo and the Pathologies of Romantic Love", Hitchcock and Philosophy, edited by David Baggett and William A. Drumin (LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 2007), pp. 101–113.
  • "Philosophy and Drama: Performance, Interpretation and Intentionality", Staging Philosophy, edited by David Saltz and David Krasner (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 2006), pp. 104–121.
  • "Artistic Truth", Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, ed. Donald Borchert (New York: Thomson/Gale Publishers, 2006), Vol. I, pp. 333–337.
  • "The Definition of Art", Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, Donald Borchert, (New York: Thomson/Gale Publishers, 2006), Vol. I, pp. 296–302.
  • "Art and Interpretation", Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, ed. Donald Borchert (New York: Thomson/Gale Publishers, 2006), Vol. I, pp. 310–315.
  • "The Fear of Fear Itself: The Philosophy of Halloween", The Undead and Philosophy, ed. by Richard Greene (LaSalle, Illinois: Open Court, 2006), pp. 223–235.
  • "Literature, Realism and Knowledge", Senses of the World: Essays on Fiction, Narrative and Knowledge, edited by John Gibson, Wolfgang Huemer, and Luca Pocci (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 24–42.
  • "Philosophizing through the Moving Image: The Case of Serene Velocity," Journal of Aesthetics and Criticism, vol. 64, no. 1(Winter 2006), pp. 173–185..
  • "What Mr. Creosote Knows about Laughter", Philosophy and Monty Python, edited by Gary Hardcastle and George Reisch (LaSalle, Illinois: Open Court, 2006) pp. 25–35 .
  • "Engaging Critics", Film Studies Issue 8 (Summer, 2006), pp. 161–169.
  • "The Moving Image: Form and Fact -- Responses to Wartenberg and Light", Film and Philosophy, v. 10 (2006), pp. 173–182.
  • "Ethics and Aesthetics: Replies to Dickie, Stecker and Livingston", The British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 46 no. 1 (January 2006). pp. 82–95.
  • "Two Comic Plots", The Monist, vol. 88, no. 1 (January 2005), pp. 154–183.
  • "Art and Recollection", The Journal of Aesthetic Education, v. 39, no. 2 (Summer 2005), pp. 1–12.
  • "Sympathy for the Devil", in The Sopranos and Philosophy, ed. by Richard Greene and Peter Vernezze (LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 2004), pp. 121–136.
  • "Aesthetic Experience: A Question of Content", in Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics, ed. Matthew Kieran (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2004), pp. 69–97.
  • "Art and the Ethical Domain", Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics, edited by Peter Kivy (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2004), pp. 126–151.
  • "Mass Art as Art", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (Winter 2004). pp. 61–65.
  • "Art and Human Nature", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (Summer 2004). pp. 95–108.
  • "Moderate Moralism", 'British Journal of Aesthetics',Vol 36, No 3, 1996, pp 223–238.

Magazine articlesEdit

  • "Air Dancing", The Drama Review (TDR), vol.19, n°1, 1975.
  • "Mind, Medium and Metaphor in Harry Smith's Heaven and Earth Magic", Film Quarterly, vol.31, n°2, 1977-1978.
  • "Organic Analysis", TDR, vol.22, n°3, September 1979, pp. 34–44.

Newspaper articlesEdit

  • "For God and Country", Artforum, January 1973.
  • "Joan Jones: Making the Image Visible", Artforum, avril 1974.
  • "Douglas Dunn, 308 Broadway", Artforum, septembre 1974.
  • "Entr'acte, Paris and Dada", Millennium Film Journal, n°1, 1977.
  • "The Cabinet of Dr. Kracauer", Millennium Film Journal, n°2, Spring/Summer 1978, pp. 77–85.
  • "Choreographic Canvases", SoHo Weekly News, December 1978.
  • "Lang, Pabst and Sound", Cine-tracts, n°5, 1978, pp. 15–23.
  • "Welles and Kafka", Film Reader, n°3, 1978, pp. 180–188.


  • "Film as Collage," Film and Video Review, WNET, aired 1982, Robin Leventhal, producer.
  • "Dancing with the Camera," (with Sally Banes), Film and Video Review, WNET, aired 1982, Linda Romano, producer.
  • "Sexual Poetics: New Films by Women," Film and Video Review, WNET, aired 1983, Robin Leventhal, producer.
  • "Film as Play," Film and Video Review, WNET, aired 1983, Robin Leventhal, producer.
  • "The Last Conversation: Eisenstein's Carmen Ballet," 1998, produced by Sally Banes, shown at: Dancing for the Camera: International Festival of Film and Video Dance at the American Dance Festival, Durham, North Carolina, 1998; Cinematheque Ontario; Oxford University; Center for Performance Research (Aberystwyth, Wales), and at the Society for Dance History Scholars Annual Meeting (Eugene, Oregon). Distributed by Artworks Video.


  • B.A., Philosophy, Hofstra University, 1969
  • M.A., Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, 1970
  • M.A., Cinema Studies, New York University, 1974
  • M.A., Philosophy, University of Illinois, Chicago Circle, 1976
  • Ph.D., Cinema Studies, New York University, 1976 (thesis title: "An In-Depth Analysis of Buster Keaton's The General")
  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Illinois, Chicago Circle, 1983


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Strange Case of Noël Carroll: A Conversation with the Controversial Film Philosopher • Senses of Cinema". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  2. ^ "Noël Carroll". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  3. ^ Plantinga, Carl (2002). "Cognitive Film Theory: An Insider’s Appraisal" Cinémas: Journal of Film Studies, vol. 12, n° 2, 2002, p. 15-37.
  4. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Noël Carroll". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  5. ^ "Five receive Guggenheims". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  6. ^ "Best Anglophone philosophers of art post-1945: the results". Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog. Retrieved 2018-06-17.

External linksEdit