From Cinema to the Digital Revolution

By Mauro Carbone
Translated by Marta Nijhuis

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Aesthetics, Philosophy, Metaphysics, Film Studies
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438474656, 166 pages, July 2019
Paperback : 9781438474649, 166 pages, January 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Preface: In The Light of Our Screens

Part I. What Is a “Philosophy-Cinema?”

1. Sartre and Deleuze via Bergson

2. The Philosopher and the Moviemaker: Merleau-Ponty and the Meaning of Cinema

3. The Torn Curtain: Lyotard, the Screen, and a Cinema Named Desire

Part II. The Animated Life of Screens

4. Delimiting to Exceed: The Theme of the “Arche-Screen”Founding Itself with Its Variants

5. Come Live with Me: The Seduction of the Screens Today

6. Making Philosophy among and through the Screens


Draws from twentieth-century French thought on film and aesthetics to address the philosophical significance of the pervasiveness of screens in contemporary technological life as well as the mutation of philosophy that such a pervasiveness seems to require.


In The Flesh of Images, Mauro Carbone analyzed Merleau-Ponty's interest in film and modern painting as it relates to his aesthetic theory and as it illuminates our contemporary relationship to images. Philosophy-Screens broadens the work undertaken in this earlier book, looking at the ideas of other twentieth-century thinkers concerning the relationship between philosophy and film, and extending that analysis to address our experience of electronic and digital screens in the twenty-first century. In the first part of the book, Carbone examines the ways that Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Lyotard, and Deleuze grappled with the philosophical significance of cinema as a novel aesthetic medium unfolding in the twentieth century. He then considers the significance of this philosophical framework for understanding the digital revolution, in particular the extent to which we are increasingly and comprehensively connected with screens. Smartphones, tablets, and computers have become a primary referential optical apparatus for everyday life in ways that influence the experience not only of seeing but also of thinking and desiring. Carbone's Philosophy-Screens follows Deleuze's call for "a philosophy-cinema" that can account for these fundamental changes in perception and aesthetic production, and adapts it to twenty-first-century concerns.

Mauro Carbone is Full Professor of Philosophy at the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3 and honorary member of the Institut Universitaire de France. His books include The Flesh of Images: Merleau-Ponty between Painting and Cinema (translated by Marta Nijhuis) and An Unprecedented Deformation: Marcel Proust and the Sensible Ideas (translated by Niall Keane), both also published by SUNY Press. Marta Nijhuis is Lecturer in Philosophy and Theory of Images at the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3 and at EAC Lyon.


"Carbone's book, while quite dense and challenging, offers a number of profound insights into the advent and contemporary life of screens. One picking up this text should not expect an easy read, but it is a book that rewards careful study … the book deserves to be considered as a vital primary source for philosophy's reckoning with the significance of screens. " — Philosophy in Review

"Carbone's most recent work, now available in English, marks a critical moment in the author's philosophical development: the passage from an original reader and interpreter of Proust and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to a completely original contribution to the history of philosophy … Philosophy-Screens … opens the way for a philosophy that will perhaps be the new standard for thinkers yet to come. " — Phenomenological Reviews

"Bringing continental philosophy and phenomenological studies to bear on contemporary media studies and film theory, Philosophy-Screens should prompt further contributions on the screens and desires that fill our perceptual universe. " — Critical Inquiry

"In the end, this book remains a study more invested in psychology, history, culture, materialism, and corporeality—enough, certainly, for one such slender text. And, for now, we shall have to be satisfied with this impressive study of our screens…" — Screen Bodies

"Mauro Carbone is one of the very best interpreters of French philosophy in general and aesthetics in particular. This book furthers recent research he has undertaken on cinema and more specifically its significance both in twentieth-century debates in philosophy and its role in our cultural experience. This is an insightful and informative book and will be of interest to a broad spectrum of readers. " — Stephen Watson, University of Notre Dame