Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2000
Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Popular Fiction
    In John Gibson & Noel Carroll (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature, Routledge. 2016.
  • Aesthetic Adjectives: Experimental Semantics and Context-Sensitivity
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2). 2017.
    One aim of this essay is to contribute to understanding aesthetic communication—the process by which agents aim to convey thoughts and transmit knowledge about aesthetic matters to others. Our focus will be on the use of aesthetic adjectives in aesthetic communication. Although theorists working on the semantics of adjectives have developed sophisticated theories about gradable adjectives, they have tended to avoid studying aesthetic adjectives—the class of adjectives that play a central role in…Read more
  • Morality and Aesthetics of Food
    In Anne Barnhill, Mark Budolfson & Tyler Doggett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook on Food Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 658-679. 2018.
    This chapter explores the interaction between the moral value and aesthetic value of food, in part by connecting it to existing discussions of the interaction between moral and aesthetic values of art. Along the way, this chapter considers food as art, the aesthetic value of food, and the role of expertise in uncovering aesthetic value. Ultimately this chapter argues against both food autonomism (the view that food's moral value is unconnected to its aesthetic value) and Carolyn Korsmeyer's food…Read more
  • Aesthetic Adjectives Lack Uniform Behavior
    with Shen-yi Liao and Louise McNally
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6): 618-631. 2016.
    The goal of this short paper is to show that esthetic adjectives—exemplified by “beautiful” and “elegant”—do not pattern stably on a range of linguistic diagnostics that have been used to taxonomize the gradability properties of adjectives. We argue that a plausible explanation for this puzzling data involves distinguishing two properties of gradable adjectives that have been frequently conflated: whether an adjective’s applicability is sensitive to a comparison class, and whether an adjective’s…Read more
  • It is intuitively plausible that art and imagination are intimately connected. This chapter explores attempts to explain that connection. We focus on three areas in which art and imagination might be linked: production, ontology, and appreciation. We examine views which treat imagination as a fundamental human faculty, and aim for comprehensive accounts of art and artistic practice: for example, those of Kant and Collingwood. We also discuss philosophers who argue that a specific kind of imagin…Read more
  • Mere Exposure to Bad Art
    with Mark Phelan, Margaret Moore, and Matthew Kieran
    British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (2): 139-164. 2013.
  • Defining Comics
    In Aaron Meskin, Frank Bramlett & Roy Cook (eds.), Routledge Companion to Comics, Routledge. pp. 221-229. 2016.
  • Videogames and the First Person
    with Jon Robson
    In G. Currie, P. Kotako & M. Pokorny (eds.), Mimesis: Metaphysics, Cognition, Pragmatics, College Publishing. 2012.
  • On the epistemic value of photographs
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2). 2004.
    Many have held that photographs give us a firmer epistemic connection to the world than do other depictive representations. To take just one example, Bazin famously claimed that “The objective nature of photography confers on it a quality of credibility absent from all other picture-making” ([Bazin, 1967], 14). Unfortunately, while the intuition in question is widely shared, it has remained poorly understood. In this paper we propose to explain the special epistemic status of photographs. We take…Read more
  • Aesthetic testimony: What can we learn from others about beauty and art?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1). 2004.
    The thesis that aesthetic testimony cannot provide aesthetic justification or knowledge is widely accepted--even by realists about aesthetic properties and values. This Kantian position is mistaken. Some testimony about beauty and artistic value can provide a degree of aesthetic justification and, perhaps, even knowledge. That is, there are cases in which one can be justified in making an aesthetic judgment purely on the basis of someone else's testimony. But widespread aesthetic unreliability c…Read more
  • Taste and Acquaintance
    with Jon Robson
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (2): 127-139. 2015.
    The analogy between gustatory taste and critical or aesthetic taste plays a recurring role in the history of aesthetics. Our interest in this article is in a particular way in which gustatory judgments are frequently thought to be analogous to critical judgments. It appears obvious to many that to know how a particular object tastes we must have tasted it for ourselves; the proof of the pudding, we are all told, is in the eating. And it has seemed just as obvious to many philosophers that aesthe…Read more
  • The art of food
    The Philosophers' Magazine 61 (61): 81-86. 2013.
  • Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics as Public Philosophy
    In Sébastien Réhault & Florian Cova (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics, Bloomsbury. forthcoming.
    Experimental philosophy offers an alternative mode of engagement for public philosophy, in which the public can play a participatory role. We organized two public events on the aesthetics of coffee that explored this alternative mode of engagement. The first event focuses on issues surrounding the communication of taste. The second event focuses on issues concerning ethical influences on taste. In this paper, we report back on these two events which explored the possibility of doing experimental…Read more
  • Emotions, fiction, and cognitive architecture
    with Jonathan M. Weinberg
    British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (1): 18-34. 2003.
    Recent theorists suggest that our capacity to respond affectively to fictions depends on our ability to engage in simulation: either simulating a character in the fiction, or simulating someone reading or watching the fiction as though it were fact. We argue that such accounts are quite successful at accounting for many of the basic explananda of our affective engagements in fiction. Nonetheless, we argue further that simulationist accounts ultimately fail, for simulation involves an ineliminabl…Read more
  • An objective counterfactual theory of information
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (3). 2006.
    We offer a novel theory of information that differs from traditional accounts in two respects: (i) it explains information in terms of counterfactuals rather than conditional probabilities, and (ii) it does not make essential reference to doxastic states of subjects, and consequently allows for the sort of objective, reductive explanations of various notions in epistemology and philosophy of mind that many have wanted from an account of information
  • Video Games as Self‐Involving Interactive Fictions
    with Jon Robson
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (2): 165-177. 2016.
    This article explores the nature and theoretical import of a hitherto neglected class of fictions which we term ‘self-involving interactive fictions’. SIIFs are interactive fictions, but they differ from standard examples of interactive fictions by being, in some important sense, about those who consume them. In order to better understand the nature of SIIFs, and the ways in which they differ from other fictions, we focus primarily on the most prominent example of the category: video-game fictio…Read more
  • Photographs furnish evidence. This is true in both formal and informal contexts. The use of photographs as legal evidence goes back to the very earliest days of photography, and they have been used in American trials since around the time of the Civil War. Photographs may also serve as historical evidence (for example, about the Civil War). And they serve in informal contexts as evidence about all sorts of things, such as what we and our loved ones looked like in the past.
  • Comics as literature?
    British Journal of Aesthetics 49 (3): 219-239. 2009.
    Not all comics are art. What about the comics that are art? What sort of art are they? In particular, are comics a form of literature? For a variety of reasons it is tempting to think that at least some comics are literature. Nevertheless, many theorists reject the ‘comics as literature’ view. And although some reasons for resisting that view are misguided, I shall argue that there are other good reasons for being hesitant about treating comics as a form of literature. This leaves us at an impas…Read more
  • Comics, Prints, and Multiplicity
    with Roy T. Cook
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (1): 57-67. 2015.
    Comics comprise a hybrid art form descended from printmaking and mostly made using print technologies. But comics are an art form in their own right and do not belong to the art form of printmaking. We explore some features art comics and fine art prints do and do not have in common. Although most fine art prints and comics are multiple artworks, it is not obvious whether the multiple instances of comics and prints are artworks in their own right. The comparison of comics and fine art prints pro…Read more
  • The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (edited book)
    with Roy T. Cook and Warren Ellis
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2011.
    _The Art of Comics_ is the first-ever collection of essays published in English devoted to the philosophical topics raised by comics and graphic novels. In an area of growing philosophical interest, this volume constitutes a great leap forward in the development of this fast expanding field, and makes a powerful contribution to the philosophy of art. The first-ever anthology to address the philosophical issues raised by the art of comics Provides an extensive and thorough introduction to the fie…Read more
  • Defining comics?
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 65 (4). 2007.
  • Aesthetic concepts: Essays after Sibley (review)
    British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (1): 90-93. 2004.
  • The Philosophy of Comics
    Philosophy Compass 6 (12): 854-864. 2011.
    Comics have been around since the 19th century, but it is only just recently that they have begun to receive philosophical attention as an art form in their own right. This essay begins by exploring the reasons for their comparative neglect by philosophers of art and then provides an overview of extant work on the philosophy of comics. The primary issues discussed are the definition of comics, the ontology of comics, the relationship between comics and other art forms, the relationship between t…Read more
  • Photography and Its Epistemic Values: Reply to Cavedon-Taylor
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (2): 235-237. 2009.
  • Still Self-Involved: A Reply to Patridge
    with Jon Robson
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2): 184-187. 2017.
  • Errors in ‘The History of an Error’
    with Simon Fokt
    British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (2): 179-185. 2016.
    In a recent article in this journal, Alex Neill and Aaron Ridley argue that relational theories of art are rooted in a misunderstanding of what it would take to falsify the family resemblance theories they are meant to supplant, and are incapable of meeting all the requirements a successful theory of art must meet. Hence, they are doomed to failure. We show that the arguments Neill and Ridley offer are rooted in misunderstandings about relational theories and the requirements for a successful th…Read more
  • Video Games as Self-Involving Interactive Fictions
    with Jon Robson
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (2): 165-177. 2016.
    This article explores the nature and theoretical import of a hitherto neglected class of fictions which we term ‘self-involving interactive fictions’. SIIFs are interactive fictions, but they differ from standard examples of interactive fictions by being, in some important sense, about those who consume them. In order to better understand the nature of SIIFs, and the ways in which they differ from other fictions, we focus primarily on the most prominent example of the category: video-game fictio…Read more
  • Scrutinizing the art of theater
    Journal of Aesthetic Education 43 (3). 2009.
  • Counterfactuals, probabilities, and information: Response to critics
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4). 2008.
    In earlier work we proposed an account of information grounded in counterfactual conditionals rather than probabilities, and argued that it might serve philosophical needs that more familiar probabilistic alternatives do not. Demir [2008] and Scarantino [2008] criticize the counterfactual approach by contending that its alleged advantages are illusory and that it fails to secure attractive desiderata. In this paper we defend the counterfactual account from these criticisms, and suggest that it r…Read more