•  26
    Two Dogmas of Aesthetic Empiricism
    Metaphilosophy 52 (5): 583-592. 2021.
    Aesthetic hedonism is the default theory of aesthetic value. Some of its critics share with it a pair of unquestioned assumptions, namely, that any theory of aesthetic value should make special appeal to its being the case that the canonical form of aesthetic evaluation is a state of pleasure and to its being the case that the canonical purpose of aesthetic acts is to access pleasure. This paper argues that there is reason to doubt both assumptions. Doubting both assumptions suggests a wider ran…Read more
  •  2
    Aesthetic Life and Why It Matters
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    You have a complex and detailed aesthetic life. You make aesthetic decisions every day. You wake up, shower, and dress. When you decide what to wear, you think about how it feels and fits. You have aesthetic feelings and reactions every day. The sunset swings into view as you turn a corner and you think, “That’s beautiful.” A wave of calm and pleasure wash over you. You take a bite of cake and you think, “Wow, that’s sweet.” Maybe too sweet. Almost everything you do has an aesthetic dimension—fr…Read more
  • Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (edited book)
    with Berys Gaut
    Routledge. 2013.
  •  267
    Précis of Being for Beauty: Aesthetic Agency and Value
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1): 209-213. 2021.
    One question that leads us into aesthetics is: why does beauty matter? Or, what do aesthetic goods bring to my life, to make it a life that goes well? Or, how does beauty deserve the place we have evidently made for it in our lives? A theory of aesthetic value states what beauty is so as to equip us to answer this question. According to aesthetic hedonism, aesthetic values are properties of items that stand in constitutive relation to pleasure. Contemporary versions of aesthetic hedonism don’t e…Read more
  •  44
    Normativity, Agency, and Value: A View from Aesthetics
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1): 232-242. 2021.
    Being for Beauty has two ambitions. It makes a case that the network theory of aesthetic value has enough going for it to be taken seriously in philosophical aesthetics, and in work on practical values and reasons more generally. In addition, by illustrating how much room we have to maneuver outside the bounds of aesthetic hedonism, the book invites work on alternative approaches. James Shelley, Julia Driver, and Samantha Matherne take up the invitation with such aplomb that one might declare su…Read more
  •  53
    Introduction
    with Diarmuid Costello
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (1): 1-8. 2012.
  •  1
    John M. Kennedy, Drawing and The Blind: Pictures To Touch
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 53 (3): 339-342. 1995.
  •  55
    Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning
    Philosophical Review 115 (4): 543-545. 2006.
  •  28
    Desolation Sound: Social Practices of Natural Beauty
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (4). 2020.
    Instances of natural beauty are widely regarded as counterexamples to practice-based theories of aesthetic value. They are not. To see that they are not, we require the correct account of natural beauty and the correct account of social practices.
  •  227
    Aesthetic hedonism is the view that to be aesthetically good is to please. For most aesthetic hedonists, aesthetic normativity is hedonic normativity. This paper argues that Kant's third critique contains resources for a non-hedonic account of aesthetic normativity as sourced in autonomy as self-legislation. A case is made that the account is also Kant's because it ties his aesthetics into a key theme of his larger philosophy.
  •  93
    Sherlock Is Law Abiding
    Journal of Applied Logics 7 (2): 171-176. 2020.
    An approach to the semantics of fiction that uses the tools of truth relativism provides an alternative to Meinongian and pretence-based approaches. The approach is consistent with the deep motivations of John Wood's Truth in Fiction.
  • Les Arts et les Images se veut une introduction aux principaux terrains d’investigation de Dominic McIver Lopes, philosophe canadien contemporain, figure incontournable de l’esthétique et de la philosophie de l’art en langue anglaise au cours des vingt dernières années. Il ouvre une réflexion sur les méthodes employées en esthétique et philosophie de l’art aujourd’hui, qu’on soit un philosophe dit « analytique » ou bien « continental », Lopes cherchant à penser le lien entre les deux traditions.…Read more
  •  22
    Neo-Picturesque
    with Susan Herrington
    In Jeanette Bicknell, Carolyn Korsmeyer & Jennifer Judkins (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Ruins, Monuments, and Memorials. pp. 133-146. 2019.
    Neo-picturesque landscapes are former industrial sites redeveloped as parks in a way that preserves, maintains, and shapes memory of the materials, mechanics, and scale of the industrial age. This paper presents case studies of Duisburg Nord, the High Line, and Evergreen Brick Works. It distinguishes neo-picturesque ruins from archaeological ruins on the one hand and mere redevelopment projects on the other hand; traces a continuity between the eighteenth-century picturesque and the neo-pictures…Read more
  •  25
    An Argument for the New Theory of Photography: Reply to Costello
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (3): 311-313. 2019.
  •  57
    Feeling for Freedom: K. C. Bhattacharyya on Rasa
    British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (4): 465-477. 2019.
    Aesthetic hedonists agree that an aesthetic value is a property of an item that stands in some constitutive relation to pleasure. Surprisingly, however, aesthetic hedonists need not reduce aesthetic normativity to hedonic normativity. They might demarcate aesthetic value as a species of hedonic value, but deny that the reason we have to appreciate an item is simply that it pleases. Such is the approach taken by an important strand of South Asian rasa theory that is represented with great clarity…Read more
  • Picture This: Image-Based Demonstratives
    In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Depiction, Oxford University Press. pp. 52-80. 2010.
    Settling down after the big meal at the family reunion brings on a little nostalgia. Out come the photo albums. As the pages turn, you see familiar faces as they looked long ago. One photo shows a surprisingly sexy young woman, and you exclaim, "That's Aunt Jane!" What you say is true. The explanation is this: what you say is true in part because the picture puts you in the same kind of position with respect to Aunt Jane as the position you are in when you see her face to face. In general, (DR) …Read more
  •  81
    Pictorial Colour: Aesthetics and Cognitive Science
    Philosophical Psychology 12 (4): 415-428. 1999.
    The representation of color by pictures raises worthwhile questions for philosophers and psychologists. Moreover, philosophers and psychologists interested in answering these questions will benefit by paying attention to each other's work. Failure to recognize the potential for interdisciplinary cooperation can be attributed to tacit acceptance of the resemblance theory of pictorial color. I argue that this theory is inadequate, so philosophers of art have work to do devising an alternative. At …Read more
  •  1
    Aesthetic appreciation involves background belief. While some appreciations are adequate when these beliefs are false, there is an important class of beliefs -- beliefs about the nature art work kinds -- whose truth is required for adequate appreciation. Photography is an interesting case, since many of our beliefs about it are false.
  • Feckless Reason
    In Greg Currie, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin & John Robinson (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind. pp. 21-36. 2014.
    Empirical research on aesthetic response poses two challenges to philosophy. The more familiar challenge is that scientific explanations of aesthetic responses debunk what we take to be our reasons for those responses. One reaction to this challenge is an accommodation strategy that seeks to reconcile the scientific findings with an improved understanding of our normative reasons. This paper presents a more fundamental challenge: a well-established body of research in social psychology indicates…Read more
  • Perception and Art
    In Mohan Matthen (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception. pp. 871-884. 2015.
    Pictures are valuable partly because they engage perception in distinctive ways. This chapter surveys recent accounts of depiction, of the distinctive content and phenomenology of our experiences of images, and of the artistic or aesthetic value that these experiences afford. Particular attention is paid to recent research on the relationship between seeing a flat image surface and having an experience as of the scene it represents.
  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
    In John Hawthorne, Herman Cappelen & Tamar Szabó Gendler (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. pp. 657-670. 2016.
    This chapter begins with a historical overview of aesthetics and the philosophy of art before turning to a discussion of how the philosophy of art bears upon human culture. It then considers the methods used in attacking problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of art by highlighting the distinctions between pure and applied philosophy, between internal and external perspectives on aesthetic and artistic phenomena, and between first-order and second-order methods. It also examines how aesthetic…Read more
  •  19
    True to his plan to take photographs to find out what things look like photographed, Garry Winogrand liked to delay processing his exposed rolls in order to scrub the memory of what he had in mind when he tripped the shutter. In a rich and astute essay, Walter Benn Michaels puts Winogrand in company with G. E. M. Anscombe. One through photography, the other through philosophy, each explores, articulates, even plays up, the “difficulties” of making sense of what it is for an act to be structured …Read more
  •  1
    According to a core tenet of contemporary philosophy, aesthetic properties are primarily represented in experiences. Obviously, however, the tenet does not apply in any straightforward manner to many items that nevertheless seem to have aesthetic properties. Examples include literary works, mathematical objects, scientific ideas, and works of conceptual art. Aesthetic properties need not be represented in perceptual experiences, but what is an experience if not a perceptual state? This paper ada…Read more
  •  373
    Images are double agents. They receive information from the world, while also projecting visual imagination onto the world. As a result, mind and world tug our thinking about images, or particular kinds of images, in contrary directions. On one common division, world traces itself mechanically in photographs, whereas mind expresses itself through painting.1 Scholars of photography disavow such crude distinctions: much recent writing attends in detail to the materials and processes of photography…Read more
  •  79
    Cooperation among arts scholars is thought to be hampered by the division of research on the arts into two cultures, one scientific, one humanistic. This paper proposes an alternative model for research into the arts wherein multiple levels of explanation focussed on well-bounded phenomena integrate research across academic disciplines. Two case studies of research that fits the model are presented.
  •  2
    Disputing Taste
    In James O. Young (ed.), The Semantics of Aesthetic Judgement. pp. 61-81. 2017.
    Philosophers have championed contextualist and relativist semantics for aesthetic discourse that attempt to explain faultless disagreement. However, both types of semantics do a good job explaining faultless disagreement. As a rule, more explananda assist in theory choice. This chapter proposes that three more facts need explaining. Aesthetic disputes revolve around objects, even as they express attitudes. They also extend into lengthy exchanges wherein reasons are offered and withdrawn. Finally…Read more
  •  1
    Pictures: Their Power in Practice
    In Jérôme Pelletier & Alberto Voltolini (eds.), The Pleasure of Pictures: Pictorial Experience and Aesthetic Appreciation, Routledge. pp. 36-51. 2018.
    What are pictures good for? “Nothing” recurs as the apparently irrepress- ible reply of a motley collection iconophobes from Plato to the mediaeval iconoclasts, to parents concerned about comic books, to postmoderns in a lather over “scopic regimes”. In the aftermath of Nelson Goodman’s Languages of Art (1976), philosophers doubled down on theories of depiction and pictorial experience, but they have not rushed to work on the value of pictures. Those few who have written about pictorial value ha…Read more
  •  1
    French translation of Understanding Pictures (1996).
  •  48
    Go Social! Replies to Abell and Atencia-Linares
    with Catharine Abell, Paloma Atencia-Linares, and Diarmuid Costello
    Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 11 (2): 207-234. 2018.
    Dominic McIver Lopes’ Four Arts of Photography and Diarmuid Costello’s On Photography: A Philosophical Inquiry examine the state of the art in analytic philosophy of photography and present a new approach to the study of the medium. As opposed to the orthodox and prevalent view, which emphasizes its epistemic capacities, the new theory reconsiders the nature of photography, and redirects focus towards the aesthetic potential of the medium. This symposium comprises two papers that critically exam…Read more
  •  5
    Being for Beauty: Aesthetic Agency and Value
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    For centuries, philosophers have identified beauty with what brings pleasure. Dominic McIver Lopes challenges this interpretation by offering an entirely new theory of beauty - that beauty engages us in action, in concert with others, in the context of social networks - and sheds light on why aesthetic engagement is crucial for quality of life.