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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Morality and the phenomenology of television.
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Morality and the phenomenology of television.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Publication date2010
Number of pages0
Original languageEnglish


ConferenceVisuality and Materiality
Period10/07/09 → …


Television offers its viewers access to a ‘continuous present’ that they can make sense of with the same cultural resources that they use in everyday life to engage with what phenomenologists call ‘paramount reality’. The mimetic register of moving images with context relevant sound, provides the viewer with a superabundance of information that makes it realistic. While segments and programmes are structured within a narrative register, viewers do not need to ‘decode’ or learn a special symbolic language in order to make sense of what they see in the ‘mimetic register’. Viewers draw on their moral sentiments to make sense of and respond to the human actions that they interact with through the screen. By the same process, the variable content of television programmes contributes to the changing moral order of modern societies through the observations made by the viewers’ internal ‘impartial spectator’. It judges actions and behaviours and is modified by experience of action, consequences and the values of others, both in everyday life and in the sub-universes interacted with through the screen.