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Noël Carroll

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Noël Carroll
Carroll in 2005
Born1947 (age 76–77)
EducationHofstra University (BA)
University of Pittsburgh (MA)
New York University (MA, PhD)
University of Illinois Chicago (MA, PhD)
  • Philosopher
  • journalist
  • author

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, Boston, Brill, 2021.
  • Classics in the Philosophy of Art, Oxford, Oxford University Press, in preparation.

Edited volumes[edit]

  • 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.

Selected articles[edit]

  • Hume's Standard of Taste, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Winter, 1984), pp.181-194

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Strange Case of Noël Carroll: A Conversation with the Controversial Film Philosopher • Senses of Cinema". sensesofcinema.com. 13 March 2002. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  2. ^ "Noël Carroll". www.gc.cuny.edu. Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. 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, pp. 15–37.
  4. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Noël Carroll". www.gf.org. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  5. ^ "Five receive Guggenheims". news.wisc.edu. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  6. ^ "Best Anglophone philosophers of art post-1945: the results". Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog. Retrieved 2018-06-17.


  • Mario Slugan, Noël Carroll and Film: A Philosophy of Art and Popular Culture. Bloomsbury, 2019.

External links[edit]