Philosophers of film and film scholars are increasingly investigating and pursuing non-, anti-, and a-theoretical methods and methodologies in their work.

In 2018, Craig Fox & Britt Harrison coined the phrase “philosophy of film without theory” to help champion – and focus attention on – such scholarly work and philosophical activity.

In 2019, Craig and Britt hosted an inaugural international conference of the same name, at the University of York, England.  In 2020, they co-edited a special issue of the journal Aesthetic Investigations on philosophy of film without theory at the invitation of journal editor-in-chief Rob van Gerwen and in 2022 Craig and Britt’s 19-chapter co-edited book, Philosophy of Film Without Theory, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan.

In 2023 – at the invitation of Katheryn Doran – Hamilton College, New York State will host the 2nd Philosophy of Film Without Theory conference.


Approaches in the Philosophy of Film Without Theory echo those of Philosophy (in general) Without Theory.  These include, but are by no means limited to: fine-grained description and discernment; disentangling confusions; reactive and/or reflective critical inquiry, the exploration of conceptual connections; logical geography; conceptual synthesis; the provision of perspicuous presentations and surveyable overviews;  non-systematic engagement with individual or particular works, subjects, objects, ideas, events and/or situations…  and more.

Philosophy Without Theory about film may include any of the above as part of a commitment to pay close attention to the form, content, and thematic aspect individual films.