•  705
    Hume's double standard of taste
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 52 (4): 437-445. 1994.
    I attempt to make sense of Hume's enigmatic characterization of the standard of taste as "a rule, by which the various sentiments of men may be reconciled; at least, a decision, afforded, confirming one sentiment, and condemning another." In particular, I take up the questions (a) how the standard could be both a rule and a decision, (b) why it is at least a decision if not a rule, and (c) why, if a rule, it may reconcile various sentiments rather than merely confirm one and condemn another.
  •  323
    The Default Theory of Aesthetic Value
    British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (1): 1-12. 2019.
    The default theory of aesthetic value combines hedonism about aesthetic value with strict perceptual formalism about aesthetic value, holding the aesthetic value of an object to be the value it has in virtue of the pleasure it gives strictly in virtue of its perceptual properties. A standard theory of aesthetic value is any theory of aesthetic value that takes the default theory as its theoretical point of departure. This paper argues that standard theories fail because they theorize from the de…Read more
  •  198
    The concept of the aesthetic
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2017.
    Introduced into the philosophical lexicon during the Eighteenth Century, the term ‘aesthetic’ has come to be used to designate, among other things, a kind of object, a kind of judgment, a kind of attitude, a kind of experience, and a kind of value. For the most part, aesthetic theories have divided over questions particular to one or another of these designations: whether artworks are necessarily aesthetic objects; how to square the allegedly perceptual basis of aesthetic judgments with the fact…Read more
  •  191
    The problem of non-perceptual art
    British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (4): 363-378. 2003.
    Consider the following three propositions: (R) Artworks necessarily have aesthetic properties that are relevant to their appreciation as artworks. (S) Aesthetic properties necessarily depend, at least in part, on properties perceived by means of the five senses. (X) There exist artworks that need not be perceived by means of the five senses to be appreciated as artworks. The independent plausibility and apparent joint inconsistency of these three propositions give rise to what I refer to as ‘the…Read more
  •  149
    Response-dependence about aesthetic value
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3): 338-352. 2012.
    The dominant view about the nature of aesthetic value holds it to be response-dependent. We believe that the dominance of this view owes largely to some combination of the following prevalent beliefs: 1 The belief that challenges brought against response-dependent accounts in other areas of philosophy are less challenging when applied to response-dependent accounts of aesthetic value. 2 The belief that aesthetic value is instrumental and that response-dependence about aesthetic value alone accom…Read more
  •  145
    Hume and the Value of the Beautiful
    British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (2): 213-222. 2011.
    Hume is plausibly interpreted as asserting that an artwork is beautiful if and only if it pleases ideal critics. Jerrold Levinson maintains that Hume's commitment to this biconditional gives rise to a problem that occurs neither to Hume nor to his any of his interpreters—the problem of explaining why you should care what pleases ideal critics if you are not one yourself. I argue that this problem arises only if you hold an empiricist theory of aesthetic value—that is, a theory that reduces the a…Read more
  •  142
    Against Value Empiricism in Aesthetics
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4): 707-720. 2010.
    Value empiricists in aesthetics claim that we can explain the value of artworks by appeal to the value of the experiences they afford. I raise the question of the value of those experiences. I argue that while there are many values that such experiences might have, none is adequate to explaining the value of the works that afford the experiences. I then turn to defending the alternative to value empiricism, which I dub the object theory . I argue that if there is some problem attending the objec…Read more
  •  127
    Hume and the Joint Verdict of True Judges
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (2): 145-153. 2013.
    Malcolm Budd speaks for many when he locates the "principal weakness" of Hume's account of the standard of taste in Hume's "blithe optimism about the uniformity of response of his true judges of artistic value". I argue that Hume's optimism is not blithe. I argue, in particular, that it follows from Hume's definition of a true judge that true judges will never disagree, and that it follows from his appeal to the test of time that true judges will agree often enough to support the kind of standar…Read more
  •  114
    Imagining the Truth: An Account of Tragic Pleasure
    In Matthew Kieran & Dominic McIver Lopes (eds.), Imagination, Philosophy, and the Arts, . pp. 177-185. 2003.
    The problem of tragedy is the problem of explaining why tragedy gives us the pleasure that it does, given that it has the content that it has. I propose a series of constraints that any adequate solution to the problem must satisfy. Then I develop a solution to the problem that satisfies those constraints. But I do not claim that the solution I develop uniquely satisfies the constraints I propose. I aim merely to narrow the field of contending solutions, and then to draw attention to an overlook…Read more
  •  92
    Hume's principles of taste: A reply to Dickie
    British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (1): 84-89. 2004.
    George Dickie argues that Hume's principles of taste have value-laden properties as their subjects, including those properties we now refer to as ‘aesthetic’. I counter that Hume's principles have value-neutral properties as their subjects, and so exclude those properties we now refer to as ‘aesthetic’. Dickie also argues that Hume's essay on taste provides ‘the conceptual means for recognizing the problem of the interaction of aesthetic properties with other properties of artworks’. I counter t…Read more
  •  69
    The character and role of principles in the evaluation of art
    British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (1): 37-51. 2002.
    , George Dickie offers an account of artistic principles comprising both a description of their character and a description of the role they play in the evaluation of artworks. According to the former, artistic principles state that certain individual properties of artworks, in isolation from other properties, are always artistic merits; according to the latter, artistic principles serve as premises from which we infer that artworks have artistic merit. I argue not merely that Dickie 's account …Read more
  •  62
    Critical Compatibilism
    In Matthew Kieran & Dominic McIver Lopes (eds.), Knowing Art: Essays in Epistemology and Aesthetics. pp. 125-136. 2004.
    Isenbergian particularism is the view that we make no appeal to general principles in criticism. Sibleyan generalism is the view that we do make appeal to general reasons in criticism. I argue that Isenbergian particularism and Sibleyan generalism are compatible one with another. I refer to their conjunction as "critical compatibilism" and argue that we ought to accept it over its rivals: strong particularism (the view that we make appeal neither to general principles nor to general reasons in c…Read more
  •  58
    Aesthetics and the World at Large
    British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (2): 169-183. 2007.
    l Carroll, that there is no reason to think that an aesthetic theory of art cannot do justice to art in its relation to the extra-artistic world. My argument depends on a reinterpretation of the aesthetic theory of Francis Hutcheson, according to which Hutcheson does not hold aesthetic perception to be non-epistemic, as Peter Kivy has maintained.
  •  47
    When True Judges Differ: Reply to Durà‐Vilà
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (3): 345-348. 2015.
    I defend my reading of Hume's "Of the Standard of Taste" against objections raised by Victor Durà‐Vilà. Two points are central to my defense. One is that Hume takes the joint verdict of true judges to indicate, rather than constitute, the standard of beauty. Two is that Hume requires a joint verdict because individual verdicts need not be expressive of human nature.
  •  43
  •  39
    Eighteenth Century British Aesthetics
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2018.
    18th-century British aesthetics addressed itself to a variety of questions: What is taste? What is beauty? Is there is a standard of taste and of beauty? What is the relation between the beauty of nature and that of artistic representation? What is the relation between one fine art and another? How ought the fine arts be ranked one against another? What is the nature of the sublime and ought it be ranked with the beautiful? What is the nature of genius and what is its relation to taste? Although…Read more
  •  38
    Rule and verdict
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 53 (3): 319-320. 1995.
    I defend my reading of Hume's "Of the Standard of Taste" from objections raised by Jeffrey Wieand. I argue that Wieand doesn't take seriously enough Hume's claim that beauty is not a quality of objects, and that taking this claim seriously requires regarding Hume's true judges as ideal.
  •  37
    Punting on the aesthetic question
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1): 214-219. 2021.
  •  18
    De Gustibus: Arguing about Art and Why We Do It (review)
    British Journal of Aesthetics 57 (2): 237-239. 2017.
    © British Society of Aesthetics 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society of Aesthetics. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: [email protected] you are philosophically uncurious or have no aesthetic life, Peter Kivy’s new book may not be for you. Otherwise you owe it to yourself to read it. Kivy’s question—why we argue about art—has received scant philosophical attention, yet the slightest philosophy is all you need to motivate it. Th…Read more
  •  1
    Peter Kivy, Philosophies of Arts: An Essay in Differences (review)
    Philosophy in Review 18 188-189. 1998.
  • The Nature of Art (review)
    American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter 23. 2003.