America on film: philosophy’s American inflection

The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood

Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to relax and watch a few classic hollywood movies. Let The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood help you (re)discover some of the great achievements of American cinematic art, like Adam’s Rib and The Philadelphia Story.

Usually, both films fall into the “screwball” category of comedy, though Stanley Cavell has argued convincingly for their classification as definitive of a genre, which he calls, “remarriage comedy”.

In this passage from The Soul of a Nation, I riff on Cavell, offering what I hope sounds something like what philosophy sounds like in what I follow Cavell in calling its American inflection:

Cavell notes a peculiarity in the film, namely that, unlike the other definitive members of the remarriage genre, the heroic couple in The Philadelphia Story rediscover their happiness in the larger world in which they grew up together…

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