•  591
    The Aesthetics and Ethics of Sexiness
    In David Goldblatt, Stephanie Partridge & Lee Brown (eds.), Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy (4th ed.). 2017.
    All too often women are considered sexy in accordance with an externally dictated and unduly narrow conception of sexiness – one that excludes large portions of the female population from being considered sexy. In response to this, some feminists have suggested that we should give up on sexiness altogether. Since the agency, subjectivity, and autonomy of a woman being judged sexy is generally ignored, they argue, we have, in effect, an equation of sexiness with objecthood. In a recent essay enti…Read more
  •  437
    Art or Porn: Clear division or false dilemma?
    Philosophy and Literature 35 (1): 51-64. 2011.
    Jerrold Levinson conveniently summarizes the main argument of his essay "Erotic Art and Pornographic Pictures" in the following way:Erotic art consists of images centrally aimed at a certain sort of reception R1.Pornography consists of images centrally aimed at a certain sort of reception R2.R1 essentially involves attention to form/vehicle/medium/manner, and so entails treating images as in part opaque.R2 essentially excludes attention to form/vehicle/medium/manner, and so entails treating imag…Read more
  •  298
    Different Kinds and Aspects of Bullshit
    with Katrien8 Schaubroeck
    In Hardcastle Reisch (ed.), Bullshit and Philosophy, Open Court. 2006.
    In this paper, we aim to show that there is a particular kind of bullshit that is not dealt with in Harry Frankfurt’s and G.A. Cohen’s critiques of bullshit. We also point out the evaluative complexity of bullshit. Frankfurt and Cohen both stress its negative and possibly destructive aspects, but one might wonder whether bullshit need always and necessarily be reprehensible. We will argue that there are positive or at least neutral aspects to some kinds of bullshit.
  •  288
    Art and pornography
    Journal of Aesthetic Education 43 (3). 2009.
    This paper provides an in-depth review of Jerrold Levinson’s most recent work in aesthetics, focusing especially on his account of the incompatibility of art and pornography. The author argues that this account does not fit well with Levinson’s own intentional-historical definition of art and his Wollheimian account of depiction.
  •  277
    Caffeine makes you sexy! This absurd slogan can be seen in the shop windows of a popular Brussels coffee chain – its bold pink lettering indicating how they are mainly targeting female customers. It is one of the silliest examples of something that is both very common and very worrisome nowadays, namely, the constant call on women to look ‘hot’ and conform to the standards of sexiness as they are projected in the media, entertainment industry, and advertising. But what exactly is wrong with this…Read more
  •  235
    Intention, Interpretation and Contemporary Visual Art
    British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (2): 121-138. 2010.
    The role of the artist's intention in the interpretation of art has been the topic of a lively and ongoing discussion in analytic aesthetics. First, I sketch the current state of this debate, focusing especially on two competing views: actual and hypothetical intentionalism. Secondly, I discuss the search for a suitable test case, that is, a work of art that is interpreted differently by actual and hypothetical intentionalists, with only one of these interpretations being plausible. Many example…Read more
  •  185
    Challenging Partial Intentionalism
    Journal of Visual Arts Practice 7 (1): 85-94. 2008.
    Paisley Livingston claims that an artist’s intentions are successfully realized and hence determinate of the meaning of a work if and only if they are compatible and “mesh” with the linguistic and conventional meanings of the text or artefact taken in its target or intended context. I argue that this specific standard of success is not without its difficulties. First, I show how an artist’s intention can sometimes be constitutive of a work’s meaning even if there is no significant meshing betwee…Read more
  •  183
    Art and Pornography: Philosophical Essays (edited book)
    with Jerrold Levinson
    Oxford University Press UK. 2012.
    Art and Pornography presents a series of essays which investigate the artistic status and aesthetic dimension of pornographic pictures, films, and literature, and explores the distinction, if there is any, between pornography and erotic art. Is there any overlap between art and pornography, or are the two mutually exclusive? If they are, why is that? If they are not, how might we characterize pornographic art or artistic pornography, and how might pornographic art be distinguished, if at all, fr…Read more
  •  168
    Drawing the Line: Art versus Pornography
    Philosophy Compass 6 (6): 385-397. 2011.
    Art and pornography are often thought to be mutually exclusive. The present article argues that this popular view is without adequate support. Section 1 looks at some of the classic ways of drawing the distinction between these two domains of representation. In Section 2, it is argued that the classic dichotomies may help to illuminate the differences between certain prototypical instances of pornography and art, but will not serve to justify the claim that pornography and art are fundamentally …Read more
  •  165
    Modesty, asymmetry, and hypocrisy
    Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (4): 485-497. 2004.
    Numerous philosophers have tried to define modesty, but none of them succeeds in articulating the necessary and sufficient conditions for this virtue. Moreover, all existing accounts ignore the striking self-other asymmetry that is at the heart of modesty. Drawing on the analogy with the practice of giving presents, I clarify and further investigate this self-other asymmetry. In the process, I show why Bernard Williams is right in pointing out the notorious truth that a modest person does not ac…Read more
  •  129
    In a chapter that hones in on certain Renaissance portraits by Hans Holbein, Giorgione, and Jan van Scorel, Hans Maes examines how it is that we can be deeply moved by such portraits, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that we don’t know anything about their sitters. Standard explanations in terms of the revelation of an inner self or the recreation of a physical presence prove to be insuffi cient. Instead, Maes provides a more rounded account of what makes said portraits moving and…Read more
  •  106
    Melancholy is a central expressive property of the Before films and key to understanding and appreciating the trilogy as a whole. That, in a nutshell, is the thesis I develop in this paper. In the first section, I present a philosophical account of melancholy in general and aesthetic melancholy in particular. Melancholy is understood here as the profound and bittersweet emotional experience that occurs when we vividly grasp a harsh truth about human existence in such a way that we come to apprec…Read more
  •  101
    Pornographic Art and the Aesthetics of Pornography (edited book)
    Palgrave-Macmillan. 2013.
    Art or Porn? The popular media will often choose this heading when reviewing the latest sexually explicit novel, film, or art exhibition. The underlying assumption seems to be that the work under discussion has to be one or the other, and cannot be both. But is this not a false dilemma? Can one really draw a sharp line between the pornographic and the artistic? Isn't it time to make room for pornographic art and for an aesthetic investigation of pornography? In answering these questions this boo…Read more
  •  99
    This paper presents a close analysis of Steve Pyke’s famous series of portraits of philosophers. By comparing his photographs to other well-known series of portraits and to other portraits of philosophers we will seek a better understanding of the distinctiveness and fittingness of Pyke’s project. With brief nods to Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, G.W.F. Hegel, and Arthur Schopenhauer and an extensive critical investigation of Cynthia Freeland’s ideas on portraiture in general and her reading …Read more
  •  95
    Elephants, microscopes and free beauty: Reply to Davies
    Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235): 332-336. 2009.
    According to Stephen Davies, there is no such thing as free beauty. Using actual and imaginary examples, he tries to show that our aesthetic evaluations of objects inevitably pay heed to the kinds to which they belong or in which we judge them to belong. His examples are not as compelling as he thinks, however. Furthermore, nature looked at through a microscope (or a telescope) provides us with a particular class of counter-examples which have not been dealt with by Davies and which put consider…Read more
  •  90
    Wat is een afbeelding?
    Esthetica: Tijdschrift Voor Kunst En Filosofie 3. 2011.
    This paper addresses what is arguably ?? one of the most fundamental questions in the debate on depiction, What is a Picture? It offers a critical discussion of traditional theories of pictorial representation, such as the Resemblance Theory, Conventionalism, and the Illusion Theory; it introduces and analyses the crucial notions of ‘seeing as’ and ‘seeing in’, and concludes by presenting some of the most recent accounts of depiction defended by Kendall Walton, Dominic Lopes, Robert Hopkins, and…Read more
  •  86
    Pornography and Melancholy
    Apa Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Section 1 proposes a new philosophical account of melancholy. Section 2 examines the reasons why one might think that pornography and melancholy are incompatible. Section 3 discusses some successful examples of melancholic pornography and makes the case that feminist pornographers are particularly well-placed to produce such material.
  •  82
    The End Of Art: A Real Problem Or Not Really A Problem?
    Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 1 (2): 59-68. 2004.
    In 1984, Arthur Danto wrote an article with the telling title ‘The End of Art.’ Just a few years earlier, Richard Rorty had declared the end of philosophy and Michel Foucault, the end of politics. A few years later, Francis Fukuyama was to declare the end of history. So, on the face of it, Danto’s thesis fits in nicely with the ‘endism’ that was popular in the 1980s. In important ways, however, I believe it also stands out.
  •  78
    Soms is het ongepast om jezelf te beoordelen vanuit een extern gezichtspunt en soms is het zelfs onmogelijk om dat te doen. Het standpunt van anderen kan dus op twee manieren ontoegankelijk zijn, doch dit betekent niet dat het vanzelf ook als onbelangrijk wordt ervaren. Integendeel, het niet in te nemen standpunt van anderen bepaalt vaak in hoge mate de wijze waarop wij tegen onszelf aankijken. Onze zelfwaardering blijkt zodoende op een onophefbare manier afhankelijk van anderen. Deze algemene …Read more
  •  66
    What Is a Portrait?
    British Journal of Aesthetics 55 (3): 303-322. 2015.
    What I will aim for in answering the title question is extensional adequacy, that is, I will try to formulate an account that captures as much of the extension as possible of what we ordinarily think counts as a portrait. Two philosophers have recently and independently from one another embarked on the same project. Cynthia Freeland’s theory of portraiture, as it is developed in her book, Portraits and Persons, is discussed in Sections 1 and 2 of this paper. Sections 3 and 4 offer a critical exp…Read more
  •  50
    Richard Linklater’s celebrated Before trilogy chronicles the love of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) who first meet up in Before Sunrise, later reconnect in Before Sunset and finally experience a fall-out in Before Midnight. Not only do these films present storylines and dilemmas that invite philosophical discussion, but philosophical discussion itself is at the very heart of the trilogy. This book, containing specially commissioned chapters by a roster of international contributor…Read more
  •  50
    Conversations on Art and Aesthetics
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    What is art? What counts as an aesthetic experience? Does art have to beautiful? Can one reasonably dispute about taste? What is the relation between aesthetic and moral evaluations? How to interpret a work of art? Can we learn anything from literature, film or opera? What is sentimentality? What is irony? How to think philosophically about architecture, dance, or sculpture? What makes something a great portrait? Is music representational or abstract? Why do we feel terrified when we watch a hor…Read more
  •  37
    The End Of Art Revisited:
 A Response To Kalle Puolakka
    Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 2 (3). 2005.
    In ‘The End of Art: A Real Problem or Not Really a Problem?’ I raised some questions about Arthur Danto’s famous ‘end of art’ thesis. A largely polemical paper, it was intended as an invitation to further discussion, and Kalle Puolakka has now taken up this invitation in ‘Playing The Game After The End of Art’. I thank him for his many insightful remarks. Critical comments are typically more interesting and helpful than simple praise, and Puolakka’s comments are no exception. I would therefore l…Read more
  •  31
    Een treffende gelijkenis. Over grappen en kunst
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 99 (4): 281-296. 2007.
  •  29
    You Talking to Me?
    Debates in Aesthetics 14 (1). 2019.
    In May 2017, my book ‘Conversations on Art and Aesthetics’ appeared. It contains conversations with, and photographic portraits of, ten prominent philosophers of art. They are Noël Carroll, Gregory Currie, Arthur Danto, Cynthia Freeland, Paul Guyer, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Jerrold Levinson, Jenefer Robinson, Roger Scruton, and Kendall Walton. The book has two main aims. One is to provide a broad and accessible overview of what aesthetics as a subfield of philosophy has to offer. The other is to stimu…Read more
  •  24
    Falling in Love with a Film (Series)
    In Katrien Schaubroeck & Hans Maes (eds.), Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight: A Philosophical Exploration, Routledge. 2021.
    Judging works of art is one thing. Loving a work of art is something else. When you visit a museum like the Louvre you make hundreds of judgements in the space of just a couple of hours. But you may grow to love only one or a handful of works over the course of your entire life. Depending on the art form you are most aligned with, this can be a painting, a novel, a poem, a song, a work of architecture, or some other art object or performance. As it happens, however, we have fallen in love with a…Read more
  •  23
    Portraits and Philosophy (edited book)
    Routledge. 2020.
    Portraits are everywhere. One finds them not just in museums and galleries, but also in newspapers and magazines, in the homes of people and in the boardrooms of companies, on stamps and coins, on millions of cell phones and computers. Despite its huge popularity, however, portraiture hasn’t received much philosophical attention. While there are countless art historical studies of portraiture, contemporary philosophy has largely remained silent on the subject. This book aims to address that lacu…Read more
  •  22
    Art and Pornography: Philosophical Essays (edited book)
    Oxford University Press UK. 2012.
    Art and Pornography presents a series of essays which investigate the artistic status and aesthetic dimension of pornographic pictures, films, and literature, and explores the distinction, if there is any, between pornography and erotic art. Is there any overlap between art and pornography, or are the two mutually exclusive? If they are, why is that? If they are not, how might we characterize pornographic art or artistic pornography, and how might pornographic art be distinguished, if at all, fr…Read more