•  272
    In support of content theories of art
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1). 2007.
    A content theory of art would identify an artwork with the meaningful or representational content of some concrete artistic vehicle, such as the intentional, expressive, stylistic, and subject matter-related content embodied in, or resulting from, acts of intentional artistic expression by artists. Perhaps surprisingly, the resultant view that an artwork is nothing but content seems to have been without theoretical defenders until very recently, leaving a significant theoretical gap in the liter…Read more
  •  268
    Free action as two level voluntary control
    Philosophical Frontiers 3 (1): 29-45. 2008.
    The naturalistic voluntary control (VC) theory explains free will and consciousness in terms of each other. It is central to free voluntary control of action that one can control both what one is conscious of, and also what one is not conscious of. Furthermore, the specific cognitive ability or skill involved in voluntarily controlling whether information is processed consciously or unconsciously can itself be used to explain consciousness. In functional terms, it is whatever kind of cognitive p…Read more
  •  266
    Conscious perceptual experience as representational self-prompting
    Journal of Mind and Behavior 28 (2): 135-156. 2007.
    Journal of Mind and Behavior 28 no. 2 , pp. 135-156. The self-prompting theory of consciousness holds that conscious perceptual experience occurs when non-routine perceptual data prompt the activation of a plan in an executive control system that monitors perceptual input. On the other hand, routine, non-conscious perception merely provides data about the world, which indicatively describes the world correctly or incorrectly. Perceptual experience instead involves data that are about the perceiv…Read more
  •  256
    The highly enjoyable experiences associated with drinking good wines have been widely misunderstood. It is common to regard wine appreciation as an analytical or quasi-scientific kind of activity, in which wine experts carefully distinguish the precise sensory qualities of each wine, and then pass on their accumulated factual knowledge to less experienced wine enthusiasts. However, this model of wine appreciation is seriously defective. One good way to show its defects is to provide a better and…Read more
  •  251
    A representationalist approach to generality
    Philo 6 (1): 216-234. 2003.
    There are no unicorns, but there are representations of them, hence motivating an explanation of discourse about the property 'unicorn' in terms of discourse about representations of unicorns. I show how to extend this strategy to apply to any kind or property terms. References to property instances may be explained as references to comprehensive representations of them, which represent all of the (supposed) properties of such an instance--unlike 'ordinary' representations, which are distincti…Read more
  •  246
    Three depictive views defended
    British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (3): 259-278. 2002.
    thesis as to the inseparability of the perception of a picture and the perception of its subject matter, making use of a recently developed ‘interpretive’ theory of pictorial representation, according to which a picture is represented by its physical vehicle, so that a picture is itself part of the representational content of the vehicle—which picture in turn interpretively represents its subject matter. I also show how Richard Wollheim's own twofoldness thesis, along with related views of his, …Read more
  •  245
    Pictorial orientation matters
    British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (1): 39-56. 2003.
    Issues concerning the spatial orientation of pictures play an important, though previously neglected, role in an adequate understanding of the nature and identity of visual artworks and other pictures. Using a previous contrast ('Artworks Versus Designs', BJA Vol. 41, No. 4, October 2001), I show that differing orientations of a design naturally give rise to distinct pictures, which may be appropriated as distinct artworks by a discerning artist--which also shows that such artworks cannot be typ…Read more
  •  241
    The fictionality of plays
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (3). 2002.
    The category of works of fiction is a very broad and heterogeneous one. I do have a general thesis in mind about such works, namely, that they themselves are fictional, in much the same way as are the fictional events or entities that they are about. But a defense of such a broad thesis would provide an intractably complex topic for an introductory essay, so I shall here confine myself to a presentation of a similar thesis for narrative theatrical works or plays, performances of which are natura…Read more
  •  233
    The twofold orientational structure of perception
    Philosophical Psychology 18 (2): 187-203. 2005.
    I argue that perceptual content involves representations both of aspects of objects, and of objects themselves, whether at the level of conscious perception, or of low-level perceptual processing - a double content structure. I present an 'orientational' theory of the relations of the two kinds of perceptual content, which can accommodate both the general semantic possibility of perceptual misrepresentation, and also species of it involving characteristic perceptual confusions of aspectual and i…Read more
  •  225
    Representation and Resemblance
    Philosophical Forum 12 (2): 139. 1980.
    The concept of representation is a problematic one. So is that of resemblance or similarity. But both concepts can be clarified via a modification of Wittgenstein's notion of a "family-resemblance." I shall introduce an extended version of that notion, specifically relevant to representational objects, after presenting some arguments which show the need for it.
  •  204
    Reforming indicated type theories
    British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (1): 11-31. 2005.
    There is some intuitive plausibility to the idea that composers create musical works by indicating sonic types in a historical context. But the idea is technically indefensible as it stands, requiring a thorough representational reform that also eliminates the type-theoretic commitments of current versions. On the reformed account, musical 'indication' is an operation of high level representational interpretation of concrete sounds, that can both explain the creativity of composers, and the ofte…Read more
  •  186
    A counter-example to theatrical type theories
    Philosophia 31 (1-2): 165-170. 2003.
    Plays, symphonies and other works in the performing arts are generally regarded, ontologically speaking, as being types, with individual performances of those works being regarded as tokens of those types. But I show that there is a logical feature of type theory which makes it impossible for such a theory to satisfactorily explain a 'double performance' case that I present: one in which a single play performance is actually a performance of two different plays. Hence type theories fail, both fo…Read more
  •  183
    A representational approach to metaphor
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (4): 467-473. 1979.
    In this paper I shall argue that the relations between metaphorical and literal kinds of language may be illuminated and clarified by comparison with corresponding differences and similarities between representing and represented objects. A kind of "picture theory" of metaphorical language will be proposed (though one which draws more on Wittgenstein's Investigations than on the Tractatus), in which successful metaphorical phrases are taken as being about things which are capable (in context) o…Read more
  •  179
    Is Ridley charitable to Collingwood?
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (4): 393-396. 1998.
    Ridley’s overall strategy, in bare outline form, seems to be this. Collingwood's points about the close connections between artistic expression and physical involvement with a medium are so good that anything else he says must be reinterpreted so as to be consistent with these Expression insights. In particular his overall theory of art, usually interpreted as an "Ideal theory" (according to which a work of art is somehow "in the head", perhaps as the content of a mental imaginative act of expre…Read more
  •  170
    Depictive seeing and double content
    In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (ed.), Philosophical Perspectives on Picturing, Oxford University Press. 2010.
    A picture provides both configurational content concerning its design features, and recognitional content about its external subject. But how is this possible, since all that a viewer can actually see is the picture's own design? I argue that the most plausible explanation is that a picture's design has a dual function. It both encodes artistically relevant design content, and in turn that design content encodes the subject content of the picture--producing overall a double content structure. Al…Read more
  •  164
    Semantics naturalized: Propositional indexing plus interactive perception
    Language and Communication 29 (1): 1-25. 2009.
    A concrete proposal is presented as to how semantics should be naturalized. Rather than attempting to naturalize propositions, they are treated as abstract entities that index concrete cognitive states. In turn the relevant concrete cognitive states are identified via perceptual classifications of worldly states, with the aid of an interactive theory of perception. The approach enables a broadly realist theory of propositions, truth and cognitive states to be preserved, with propositions functio…Read more
  •  161
    Ariadne revisited
    Contemporary Aesthetics 1. 2003.
    ABSTRACT My article, "Ariadne at the Movies," provided a detailed, double film counter-example to the claim that films are types. Here I defend my views against various criticisms provided by Aaron Smuts. The defense includes some necessary clarification of the Ariadne article's broader theoretical structure and background, as well as some additional anti-type arguments to further withstand his criticisms.
  •  124
    Ariadne at the movies
    Contemporary Aesthetics 1. 2003.
    ABSTRACT Films are usually assumed to be types, with their templates or performances being tokens of those types. However, I give a counter-example in which two different films are simultaneously made by different directors, with the outcome of this process being a single template length of film which, I claim, embodies both of those films. But no two types could thus have a token in common, and hence type views of films must be incorrect. I further explain and defend the legitimacy of the examp…Read more
  •  118
    An overview, with links, of original approaches to six significant areas of philosophical concern, including the nature of perception and perceptual content, naturalistic approaches to representation and semantics, a representational explanation of generality, and a dual component theory of propositions. (This file also provides a useful demonstration of how webpage-like features may be simulated in a Word document).
  •  110
    I argue that there is an ambiguity in the concept of indiscernibility as applied to objects, because there are two different categories of properties, associated with two different ways in which all of the pre-theoretical 'properties' of an object may be identified. In one structural way, identifications of properties are independent of any particular spatial orientation of the object in question, but in another 'field' way, identifications are instead dependent on an object's particular spatia…Read more
  •  92
    Epistemic Problems of Utilitarian Practical Reasoning
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 19. 1998-9.
    Utilitarian (U.) theories must be capable of being applied in practical reasoning, or they would have no value as a guide to rational conduct. However, I show that epistemic extensions to U. theories produce logical confusion. Basic questions about what one needs to know in order to apply a U. analysis embroil one in an infinite regress. And attempts to incrementally apply U. either are no help at all (leaving one entirely 'in the dark'), or in general constitute arbitrary gambles which no pr…Read more
  •  89
    Dual Recognition of Depth and Dependent Seeing
    Interdisciplines Art and Cognition Workshop. 2005.
    An explanation of the seeing of depth both in reality and in pictures requires a dual content theory of visual recognition. In addition, there are two necessary conditions on genuine seeing of depth-related content. First, the right kinds of dependence relations must hold between a physical picture, its content and its perceiver, and second, the perceiver must be in an appropriate, functionally defined perceptual state.
  •  76
    Portraits of Wittgenstein and Hume are used as test cases in some preliminary investigations of a new kind of philosophical picture. Such pictures are produced via a variety of visual transformations of the original portraits, with a final selection for display and discussion being based on the few results that seem to have some interesting relevance to the character or philosophical views of the philosopher in question.
  •  54
    Ethics as the Pursuit of Optimal Compatibility of Interests
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 18. 1994.
    I propose a new kind of meta-ethical theory, grounded in a theory of interests and of the modifications required in order to render interests compatible with each other. The theory hence is called "Interest Compatibilism" (IC). A basic account of the nature of interests, and of possible relations between them, is also included. Ethical values turn out to be those involved in optimally desirable forms of harmonization and control of interests and their associated values. The theory is present…Read more
  •  12
    David Davies, Art as Performance
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (1): 75-80. 2005.
  • The Double Content of Art
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2): 289-291. 2006.
  • Depictive Seeing and Double Content
    In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Depiction, Oxford University Press. 2010.
  • Collingwood: A Philosophy of Art
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (3): 390-392. 1999.
  • Are Films Types?
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 21
  • Does Aesthetics Rest Upon a Mistake?
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 20