In this essay I contemplate cinema studies’ undertaking of a disciplinary turn from ideological to ethical analysis. In reaction to empiricist opposition towards ideological critique, David Rodowick has proposed that film theory move beyond the limits of ideological analysis by reviving theory’s ancient philosophical connection to ethics. In this new disciplinary paradigm, film theory (as philosophy) would balance knowledge (empiricism) and ethics (reflective self-examination). While several scholars have heeded this call by summoning the ethical “dimension” of cinema, how this conception of ethics extends and exceeds ideology remains unclear. If the theoretical humanities desire a post-ideological ethics, I propose, they will need to assess two features of their earlier turn toward ideology. The first, evoked through a reading of Louis Althusser, is that ideology subordinated rather than overlooked ethics, rendering it unintelligible for theory. The second is that ideology could draw its critique of ethics from philosophy only because, like theory, “ethics” is also a discursive formation; it too has a history with its own “turns” and moments of crisis. Yet the turn within ethics to which that ideological critique is indebted produced a fundamental revisioning of value as constitutive for differentiated knowledge, contradicting the premise of ethics as a “dimension” separate from our basic epistemic grasping of the world. Although Rodowick cites the work of Gilles Deleuze and Stanley Cavell as examples of the inseparability of epistemology and ethics, leading away from ideological theory, I show how both maintain the subordination of the ethical to the epistemological. Adopting Roland Barthes’s notion of ideology as an “image-repertoire of history,” I argue that such inseparability is better accomplished by thinking ethics as itself historically cinematic rather than as a dimension of thought applied to cinematic or other texts.