•  193
    Deflating metaphors and emerging contexts: Messing with your mind in a material world
    In Natasha Bullock & Alexie Glass-Kantor (eds.), Adelaide Biennial 2012 Catalogue, Parallel Collisions, Art Gallery of South Australia. pp. 194-98. 2013.
    A discussion of the way the visual artists represented in Adelaide’s 2012 Biennale draw attention to new conceptions of place, time and self which highlight the contingent nature of the narratives that underlie our day to day existence. Disenchantment or re-enchantment are increasingly redundant conceptions. Such narratives are always fluid. Among the ebbs and flows, new conceptions emerge, providing in effect new ways of being in the world, and in turn prompting a reshuffling of what we thou…Read more
  •  187
    The arguments of each chapter demonstrate that there is no neutral perspective from which to analyse aesthetic qualities. Such qualities cannot be described as their very perception involves evaluation. In short, the chapters focus on those aspects of a first person perspective that can be considered inter-personal in the sense that they are susceptible of intentional calibration and enculturation. That said, not all chapters approach the theme from the same perspective nor with the same targets…Read more
  •  174
    From Kantianism to aesthetic hedonism: aesthetic pleasure revised
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (1): 1-5. 2017.
    No matter how unintuitive it might seem that aesthetic pleasure should be the point where art and morality meet, this is a noteworthy possibility that has been overshadowed by aestheticians’ more visible concerns. Here I briefly survey relevant strands in the literature over the past century, before introducing themes covered in this inaugural issue of Australasian Philosophical Review.
  •  168
    The aesthetic appeal of minimal structures: Judging the attractiveness of solutions to traveling salesperson problems
    with D. Vickers, M. Lee, M. Dry, and P. Hughes
    Perception and Psychophysics 68 (1): 32-42. 2007.
    Ormerod and Chronicle reported that optimal solutions to traveling salesperson problems were judged to be aesthetically more pleasing than poorer solutions and that solutions with more convex hull nodes were rated as better figures. To test these conclusions, solution regularity and the number of potential intersections were held constant, whereas solution optimality, the number of internal nodes, and the number of nearest neighbors in each solution were varied factorially. The results did not s…Read more
  •  150
    Commentary on Zeki Inner Vision (review)
    Leonardo Reviews On-Line. 2000.
    The late vision theorist David Marr identified three levels of explanation that he argued needed to be addressed in order to understand vision : (i) the psychological, functional or computational level of processes; (ii) the physical or neurological which is the level of explanation employed by Zeki; and (iii) the algorithmic – the level of implementation. For Zeki’s purpose of drawing upon vision-theory in order to better understand art and aesthetics, there is no need to focus on the third le…Read more
  •  136
    Review of Kirwan Beauty (review)
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59 (3): 334-336. 2001.
    Kirwan identifies three kinds of beauty theory within the Western tradition. These are: ‘in the eye of the beholder’ theories; neoplatonic theories; and what he refers to as synaesthetic theories; which he discusses in chapters 2, 3 and 4 respectively. He places himself within the synaesthetic tradition whose emphasis is apparently on the interaction between the beautiful object and the perceiver. Kirwan, however, does not analyse this interaction. Nor does he concern himself with what makes…Read more
  •  132
    Backing Kant, with interest
    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art 9 (1/2): 90-99. 2008.
    The idea of a ‘global’ concept of art might suggest a transcending of the categories which would locate an artwork relative to one place and one time. Is this possible? If we answer in the negative, this suggests that a global concept of art is not possible, but on the positive side, the significance of the particular is kept intact. If we answer in the affirmative, then a global concept of art is possible, but we lose the very aspect that defines art: its particularity. I will argue that we …Read more
  •  125
    Symposium on pictorial realism : Introduction
    Contemporary Aesthetics 4. 2007.
    The participants in this Symposium gathered for a two-day conference on Pictorial Realism at the University of Adelaide. Our aim was to analyse the notion of pictorial realism with a view to its relevance for the way in which art history is conceived and appreciated. Specifically, we examined the extent to which the representational content of artworks can be ascertained independently of preconceived theoretical knowledge about the representational system within which the artwork is made. Pape…Read more
  •  125
    In this clearly written and well argued book, Mark Johnson presents a theory of embodied cognition and discusses the implications it has for theories of meaning, language and aesthetics. His pragmatist foundations are on show when he writes that ‘The so-called norms of logical inference are just the patterns of thinking that we have discovered as having served us well in our prior inquiries, relative to certain values, purposes, and types of situations’ (p.109). Johnson’s particular contribution…Read more
  •  121
    The sense of community in Cavell's conception of aesthetic and moral judgment
    Conversations: The Journal of Cavellian Studies 2 35-53. 2014.
    Cavell’s interest in aesthetic objects can be understood to be motivated by an interest in the nature of meaning and value. The idea is that perceptual objects considered as cultural artefacts under-determine the meaning and value attributed to them. The process involved in determining their meaning and value is essentially a creative one. Through his study of film, literature and music, Cavell could be said to indirectly address the axiomatic, or what is sometimes referred to as the bedrock, of…Read more
  •  119
    The perceptual constraints on pictorial realism
    Contemporary Aesthetics 4. 2007.
    I argue in this paper that our concept of pictorial realism should include a reference to perceptual proficiency relative to a cultural context. I argue this by demonstrating the greater explanatory power of such a concept for understanding pictorial realism. The central idea is that gestalt-like mechanisms that are normally involved in object recognition can be deployed at a second order level in picture perception. Styles of picturing that exploit this second order gestalt-like mechanism ar…Read more
  •  117
    Aesthetic autonomy: tracing the Kantian legacy to Olafur Eliasson
    Proceedings of the European Society of Aesthetics, 2011. 2012.
    Aesthetic autonomy is sometimes equated with an art for art’s sake approach to art. On the contrary, the philosophers whose work is often cited as backup to this concept of aesthetic autonomy held a very different conception of it. I will trace an alternative notion of aesthetic autonomy in the work of Adorno and Habermas, the origins of which can be found in Immanuel Kant’s aesthetic theory, the popular notion of his formalism, notwithstanding. I draw upon the art practice of the contemporary I…Read more
  •  113
    Plato’s distinction between appearance and reality which he attempts to demonstrate in his allegory of the cave established the conceptual framework for theories of knowledge for many centuries. The quest for certainty set us on the path to believing that reality is there to be discovered. We only have to open our eyes and minds. Yet a recurring question about the interface between culturally acquired concepts and objective sense perception remains a point of contention. Mischa Kuball’s Plat…Read more
  •  111
    Aesthetics, Cognition, and Creativity
    Dissertation, Australian National University. 1996.
    This thesis constructs an Interactive Theory of Beauty to change the way we think about beauty and aesthetic form, in order to resolve the conceptual discrepancies between the features that characterize the traditional concept of beauty and the features of the phenomenology of beauty. The assumptions that underlie these discrepancies are identified. I hypothesize an alternative assumption that would need to be the case to resolve the tensions between the traditional concept and the phenomenology…Read more
  •  110
    The aim of this book is to promote understanding and enjoyment of the arts. With this aim in mind, Lyas introduces the key issues of philosophical aesthetics through examples drawn from high and popular culture, and from a variety of art forms, from music and painting to literature and poetry. The book is pitched as a springboard into undergraduate courses in aesthetics and as an introduction to philosophical aesthetics for the general reader. It is refreshing to read a book on aesthetics writ…Read more
  •  110
    The Possibility of Objectivity in Aesthetic Evaluation in the Visual Arts
    Dissertation, The University of Melbourne. 1990.
    In order to establish a rational framework within which to discuss aesthetic matters, I attempt to find grounds to support the notion that objectivity in aesthetic evaluation is possible, within the visual arts. I begin by exploring the possibility that the foundations of our aesthetic response are innate, because, if this is the case, it would indicate that aesthetic considerations have a common basis within us all, rather than belonging to a purely personal and subjective realm. In Part One, i…Read more
  •  106
    Review of Revealing Art (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (224): 471-73. 2006.
    Matthew Kieran addresses a number of key topics in aesthetics including the nature of originality, beauty, artistic knowledge and truth, the moral content of art, and the standards of taste. His treatment of each topic is informed by the thesis that the value of art is to be found in the insights that it provides. The structure of each chapter is to canvas a few positions (usually including one that would represent a counter position to his thesis), before presenting an interpretation of the t…Read more
  •  106
    The romantic spirit
    ArtLink 28 (2): 13-15. 2009.
    A central idea of Romanticism in the arts is the idea that art or the aesthetic experience of nature reveals truth or insight about the human condition and relation to nature. What kind of truth could this be and how could perceptual objects reveal it?
  •  94
    The aesthetics of perception: form as a sign of intention
    Essays in Philosophy 13 (2): 2. 2012.
    Aesthetic judgment has often been characterized as a sensuous cognitively unmediated engagement in sensory items whether visual, auditory, haptic, olfactory or gustatory. However, new art forms challenge this assumption. At the very least, new art forms provide evidence of intention which triggers a search for meaning in the perceiver. Perceived order excites the ascription of intention. The ascription of intention employs background knowledge and experience, or in other words, implicates the pe…Read more
  •  91
    Review of David E. Cooper Aesthetics: The Classic Readings (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (1): 119-120. 1999.
    The authors included in this anthology of historical texts on aesthetics and philosophy of art, address the big questions. They attempt to place art within experience generally or within the life of a community; or they attempt to understand the nature of the aesthetic and its role within experience. Topics include mimesis, the relation between art and truth, the metaphysics of beauty, the function of art, and the ontology of art. All of the extracts included were written prior to the middle …Read more
  •  84
    Review of Elkins Our Beautiful Dry and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (1): 142-143. 2001.
    In order to say what one means, and be understood, one needs to know to whom one wishes to communicate, the particular mindset one addresses. Expressing oneself clearly and naturally requires some art. Style, then, is an important component of the message received, or so it is in art history writing according to James Elkins. He attempts to demonstrate that what constitutes art history writing is consequently unanalysable; that art history under analysis becomes something else. ‘The glare of log…Read more
  •  42
    In this chapter I invite the reader to consider the philosophical assumptions which underpin the early career aims and objectives of Barrie Kosky. A focus will be his “language” of opera, and the processes by which the audience is prompted to interpret it. The result will be to see how Kosky creates mystery and meaning while avoiding fantasy and escapism; and can express psychological truth while stimulating subjective interpretations. The point will be to show that Kosky’s oeuvre demonstrates a…Read more
  •  40
    Perceptual Principles, Aesthetic Form and Notions of Unity
    Consciousness and Cognition 29 (1). 2000.
    There are a number of problems associated with the classic notion of beauty understood as an experience of perceptual form. These problems are that there is an apparent incompatibility between beauty’s objectivity and subjectivity; and an incompatibility between the two self-evident theses that (i) there are no principles of beauty and (ii) there are genuine judgements of beauty. There is also the problem of explaining the possibility of a disinterested pleasure. To solve these problems I draw u…Read more
  •  32
    This symposium is inspired by the round tables organised by James Elkins in Cork, Ireland and Chicago which aimed to create a dialogue between art historians and philosophers on concepts which are central to the way both disciplines conduct their respective endeavours. For our symposium, art historians and philosophers will discuss topics and concepts which are likely to be given different interpretations by the respective disciplines. We will attempt to bridge the gap between the respective int…Read more