•  432
    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
  •  384
    Nobody Needs a Theory of Art
    Journal of Philosophy 105 (3): 109-127. 2008.
    The question "what is art?" is often said to be venerable and vexing. In fact, the following answer to the question should be obvious: (R) item x is a work of art if and only if x is a work in practice P and P is one of the arts. Yet (R) has appeared so far from obvious that nobody has given it a moment's thought. The trouble is not that anyone might seriously deny the truth of (R), but rather that they will find it uninformative. After all, the vexing question is pressed upon us by radical chan…Read more
  •  365
    Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts (edited book)
    Routledge. 2003.
    _Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts_ is the first comprehensive collection of papers by philosophers examining the nature of imagination and its role in understanding and making art. Imagination is a central concept in aesthetics with close ties to issues in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language, yet it has not received the kind of sustained, critical attention it deserves. This collection of seventeen brand new essays critically examines just how and in what form the notion of…Read more
  •  337
    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
  •  299
    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.
  •  276
    The Aesthetics of Photographic Transparency
    Mind 112 (447): 434--48. 2003.
    When we look at photographs we literally see the objects that they are of. But seeing photographs as photographs engages aesthetic interests that are not engaged by seeing the objects that they are of. These claims appear incompatible. Sceptics about photography as an art form have endorsed the first claim in order to show that there is no photographic aesthetic. Proponents of photography as an art form have insisted that seeing things in photographs is quite unlike seeing things face-to-face. T…Read more
  •  248
    Art Media and the Sense Modalities: Tactile Pictures
    Philosophical Quarterly 47 (189): 425-440. 1997.
    It is widely assumed that the art media can be individuated with reference to the sense modalities. Different art media are perceived by means of different sense modalities, and this tells us what properties of each medium are aesthetically relevant. The case of pictures appears to fit this principle well, for pictures are deemed purely and paradigmatically visual representations. However, recent psychological studies show that congenitally and early blind people have the ability to interpret an…Read more
  •  214
    Aesthetic Acquaintance
    Modern Schoolman 86 (3/4): 267-281. 2009.
  •  213
    Directive Pictures
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2). 2004.
    Pictures are principally descriptive. Advertising images highlight features of potential purchases; cartoons open portals to scenes in fictional worlds; snapshots in the family photo album remind us of our past selves and landmark events in our personal histories; works of pictorial art express thoughts or feelings about depicted scenes. In addition, pictures serve a directive or action-guiding function that, though not taken into account by theorists, deserves no less attention than their descr…Read more
  •  192
    The Myth of (Non-aesthetic) Artistic Value
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244): 518-536. 2011.
    Art works realize many values. According to tradition, not all of these values are characteristic of art: art works characteristically bear aesthetic value. Breaking with tradition, some now say that art works bear artistic value, as distinct from aesthetic value. I argue that there is no characteristic artistic value distinct from aesthetic value. The argument for this thesis suggests a new way to think about aesthetic value as it is characteristically realized by works of art
  •  157
    What Is It Like to See with Your Ears?: The Representational Theory of Mind
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (2): 439-453. 2000.
    Representational theories of mind cannot individuate the sense modalities in a principled manner. According to representationalism, the phenomenal character of experiences is determined by their contents. The usual objection is that inverted qualia are possible, so the phenomenal character of experiences may vary independently of their contents. But the objection is inconclusive. It raises difficult questions about the metaphysics of secondary qualities and it is difficult to see whether or not …Read more
  •  156
    Hearing and Seeing Musical Expression
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1): 1-16. 2009.
    Everybody assumes (1) that musical performances are sonic events and (2) that their expressive properties are sonic properties. This paper discusses recent findings in the psychology of music perception that show that visual information combines with auditory information in the perception of musical expression. The findings show at the very least that arguments are needed for (1) and (2). If music expresses what we think it does, then its expressive properties may be visual as well as sonic; and…Read more
  •  138
    Virtues of Art: Good Taste
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 82 (1): 197-211. 2008.
    If good taste is a virtue, then an account of good taste might be modelled on existing accounts of moral or epistemic virtue. One good reason to develop such an account is that it helps solve otherwise intractable problems in aesthetics. This paper proposes an alternative to neo-Aristotelian models of good taste. It then contrasts the neo-Aristotelian models with the proposed model, assessing them for their potential to contend with otherwise intractable problems in aesthetics.
  •  136
    The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (edited book)
    with Berys Nigel Gaut
    Routledge. 2000.
    The third edition of the acclaimed _Routledge Companion to Aesthetics_ contains over sixty chapters written by leading international scholars covering all aspects of aesthetics. This companion opens with an historical overview of aesthetics including entries on Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin, Foucault, Goodman, and Wollheim. The second part covers the central concepts and theories of aesthetics, including the definitions of art, taste, the value of art, beauty, im…Read more
  •  124
    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.
  •  123
    Pictures, Styles and Purposes
    British Journal of Aesthetics 32 (4): 330-341. 1992.
    Pictures belong to stylistic systems that vary historically and culturally. This variation suggests that styles are conventional. However, styles are not conventional. Styles have perceptual functions that make them apt for use in some contexts and not others.
  •  116
    Understanding Pictures
    Oxford University Press. 1996.
    There is not one but many ways to picture the world--Australian "x-ray" pictures, cubish collages, Amerindian split-style figures, and pictures in two-point perspective each draw attention to different features of what they represent. Understanding Pictures argues that this diversity is the central fact with which a theory of figurative pictures must reckon. Lopes advances the theory that identifying pictures' subjects is akin to recognizing objects whose appearances have changed over time. He d…Read more
  •  115
    The Aesthetic Function of Art (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2): 484-487. 2007.
  •  114
    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.
  •  103
    Art Without ‘Art’
    British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (1): 1-15. 2007.
    Some argue that there is no art in some non-Western cultures because members of those cultures have no concept of art. Others argue that members of some non-Western cultures have concepts of art because they have art. Both arguments assume that if there is art in a given culture, then some members of the culture have a concept of art. There are reasons to think that this assumption is false; and if it is false, there are lessons to learn for cross-cultural studies of art both in anthropology and…Read more
  •  100
    The Ontology of Interactive Art
    Journal of Aesthetic Education 35 (4): 65-81. 2001.
  •  93
    Pictures and the Representational Mind
    The Monist 86 (4): 632-652. 2003.
    Several recent books indicate that the philosophy of art has embarked upon a new alliance with cognitive science. One impetus for this is the move, beginning in the 70s and 80s, away from general aesthetics to a greater concern with the philosophies of the individual arts. Questions about the nature of art, expression, aesthetic experience and aesthetic properties as generic phenomena are still with us but many philosophers now approach them by means of specialized studies of music, literature, …Read more
  •  92
    Drawing in a Social Science: Lithic Illustration
    Perspectives on Science 17 (1). 2009.
    Scientific images represent types or particulars. According to a standard history and epistemology of scientific images, drawings are fit to represent types and machine-made images are fit to represent particulars. The fact that archaeologists use drawings of particulars challenges this standard history and epistemology. It also suggests an account of the epistemic quality of archaeological drawings. This account stresses how images integrate non-conceptual and interepretive content.
  •  90
    Beauty, The Social Network
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (4): 437-453. 2017.
    Aesthetic values give agents reasons to perform not only acts of contemplation, but also acts like editing, collecting, and conserving. Moreover, aesthetic agents rarely operate solo: they conduct their business as integral members of networks of other aesthetic agents. The consensus theory of aesthetic value, namely that an item’s aesthetic value is its power to evoke a finally valuable experience in a suitable spectator, can explain neither the range of acts performed by aesthetic agents nor t…Read more
  •  87
    Aesthetic Experts, Guides to Value
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (3): 235-246. 2015.
    A theory of aesthetic value should explain the performance of aesthetic experts, for aesthetic experts are agents who track aesthetic value. Aesthetic empiricism, the theory that an item's aesthetic value is its power to yield aesthetic pleasure, suggests that aesthetic experts are best at locating aesthetic pleasure, especially given aesthetic internalism, the view that aesthetic reasons always have motivating force. Problems with empiricism and internalism open the door to an alternative. Aest…Read more
  •  86
    Shikinen Sengu and the Ontology of Architecture in Japan
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 65 (1). 2007.
    Japan's Ise Jingu shrine has been taken down and rebuilt every twenty years for more than a millenium - a practice called "shikinen sengu." A standard ontology of architecture, according to which buildings are material particulars, implies that Ise Jingu is no more than twenty years old. However, a correct ontology of architecture is implicit in practices of architecture appreciation. The Japanese appreciation of Ise Jingu and other buildings in its architectural tradition implies both that it i…Read more
  •  86
    Images have power - for good or ill. They may challenge us to see things anew and, in widening our experience, profoundly change who we are. The change can be ugly, as with propaganda, or enriching, as with many works of art. Sight and Sensibility explores the impact of images on what we know, how we see, and the moral assessments we make. Dominic Lopes shows how these are part of, not separate from, the aesthetic appeal of images. His book will be essential reading for anyone working in aesthet…Read more
  •  83
    A Philosophy of Computer Art
    Routledge. 2009.
    What is computer art? Do the concepts we usually employ to talk about art, such as ‘meaning’, ‘form’ or ‘expression’ apply to computer art? _A Philosophy of Computer Art_ is the first book to explore these questions. Dominic Lopes argues that computer art challenges some of the basic tenets of traditional ways of thinking about and making art and that to understand computer art we need to place particular emphasis on terms such as ‘interactivity’ and ‘user’. Drawing on a wealth of examples he al…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
  •  70
    Imagination, Illusion and Experience in Film
    Philosophical Studies 89 (2-3): 343-353. 1998.