Criticism of Post-Theory by David Bordwell and Noël Carroll
A criticism of David Bordwell and Noël Carrolls book Post-Theory in which they argue that an all encompassing theory of film-theory is counter-productive, and would necessitate an empirical analysis of such a broad scope that something would always fall outside the theory.
I’m paraphrasing of course, but it struck me when reading the book, that for two guys so vehemently rejecting historical film-theories and the dubious value of quoting as many film-theoreticians as possible when describing your own theory, they were awfully busy quoting old theorists themselves.
I won’t hold it against them though, because contrasting your viewpoints with the viewpoints of those who went before you is after all a basic premise of scholarly work in the human sciences, but I will point out – as I did in my paper – that although all encompassing theories have historically shown themselves to be of limited value, I do not believe the pursuit of such an all encompassing theory to be counterproductive in itself.
After all, to paraphrase Robert Townsend, it is better to shoot for the stars and hit the moon than to not shoot at all, and if we hadn’t aimed for the moon we wouldn’t have freeze dried food and shoe-insoles.