Paulo Alexandre e Castro

The Limits of Zombies Films are the Limits of Philosophy?

Eine Metrostation in goldenes Licht getaucht

The image of a Zombie, which is nothing less than a walking dead of afro-Caribbean folklore, is perhaps one of the most frightening image of all the terror iconography. The idea of something (a corpse) raised from the dead and animated by some magic ritual, that has strange powers and that eat human flesh (like cannibals) is very well explored by the cinema. Maybe this is one of the reasons why zombie has maintained a constant appearance in terror films over the years, and through all the countries (it seems, almost like a formula to a movie to become a success, at least in American films). If we look at history of cinema, we'll find several examples of this attraction to zombies, from the oldest like, »White Zombie« (1932, USA); »The Walking Dead« (1936, USA); »Voodoo Man« (1944, USA) to more recent like, »Stalled«, (2012, UK), »Rise of the Undead« (2013, USA); »Pretty Dead« (2013, USA), »In the Flesh« (2013, UK), among many others. But the figure of Zombie is also used in philosophy, namely in philosophy of mind to illustrate the hard problem of consciousness. One may ask why to use a non-real figure to question reality, if since phenomenology, the aim of such demand should be through the reality itself. So, creating a parallel between cinema and philosophy we may think if the hard problem of consciousness can be solved or at least be illustrated by films, and on the other hand, if there is any limitation to this exercise. So, the aim of this essay is to search for an answer to the question put in title.

Paulo Alexandre e Castro is a research member of CEHUM /University of Minho (Braga-Portugal) and of the Centre of Philosophy of University of Lisbon. PhD candidate in Philosophy of Mind (Minho University). He is Author and co-author of several books of essay and literature (novel, theatre, poetry, painting catalogs). Among others Paulo Alexandre is associated of the Portuguese Society of Philosophy, Portuguese Association of Ethics and Pratical Philosophy, European Association of Aesthetics. His main areas of interest are: neuro-philosophy, aesthetics, art and contemporary culture.