•  14
    In this chapter I invite the reader to consider the philosophical assumptions which underpin the early career aims and objectives of Barrie Kosky. A focus will be his “language” of opera, and the processes by which the audience is prompted to interpret it. The result will be to see how Kosky creates mystery and meaning while avoiding fantasy and escapism; and can express psychological truth while stimulating subjective interpretations. The point will be to show that Kosky’s oeuvre demonstrates a…Read more
  •  168
    Beauty
    Oxford Encyclopedia of Literature. 2020.
    Literary beauty was once understood as intertwining sensations and ideas, and thus as providing subjective and objective reasons for literary appreciation. However, as theory and philosophy developed, the inevitable claims and counterclaims led to the view that subjective experience was not a reliable guide to literary merit. Literary theory then replaced aesthetics as did philosophy’s focus on literary truth. Along with the demise of the relevance of sensations, literary form also took a back s…Read more
  •  400
    At a time when professional art criticism is on the wane, the ancient quarrel between art and philosophy demands fresh answers. Professional art criticism provided a basis upon which to distinguish apt experiences of art from the idiosyncratic. However, currently the kind of narratives from which critics once drew are underplayed or discarded in contemporary exhibition design where the visual arts are concerned. This leaves open the possibility that art operates either as mere stimulant to priva…Read more
  •  177
    The arguments of each chapter demonstrate that there is no neutral perspective from which to analyse aesthetic qualities. Such qualities cannot be described as their very perception involves evaluation. In short, the chapters focus on those aspects of a first person perspective that can be considered inter-personal in the sense that they are susceptible of intentional calibration and enculturation. That said, not all chapters approach the theme from the same perspective nor with the same targets…Read more
  •  226
    This edited collection sets forth a new understanding of aesthetic-moral judgment organised around three key concepts: pleasure, reflection, and accountability. The overarching theme is that art is not merely a representation or expression like any other, but that it promotes shared moral understanding and helps us engage in meaning-making. This volume offers an alternative to brain-centric and realist approaches to aesthetics. It features original essays from a number of leading philosophers of…Read more
  •  335
    The standard cognitive theory of art claims that art can be insightful while maintaining that imagining is motivationally inert [Walton 1990] even when some epistemic advantage is claimed for it [Currie 1995]. However, if we assume art as art can be insightful, we also assume that the imagining it occasions has a lasting impact on belief. In this chapter, I argue that imagining of the kind occasioned by art can be held non-occurrently [Schellenberg 2013] without delusion and can motivate behavio…Read more
  •  466
    On Jane Forsey’s Critique of the Sublime
    In Lars Aagaard-Mogensen (ed.), The Possibility of the Sublime: Aesthetic Exchanges, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 81-91. 2017.
    The sublime is an aspect of experience that has attracted a great deal of scholarship, not only for scholarly reasons but because it connotes aspects of experience not exhausted by what Descartes once called clear distinct perception. That is, the sublime is an experience of the world which involves us in orientating ourselves within it, and this orientation, our human orientation, elevates us in comparison to the non-human world according to traditional accounts of the sublime. The sublime tell…Read more
  •  215
    The Space of Reception: Framing Autonomy and Collaboration
    with Carol A. Gilchrist
    In Brad Buckley & John Conomos (eds.), Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics, Libri Publishing. pp. 201-212. 2017.
    In this paper we analyse the ideas implicit in the style of exhibition favoured by contemporary galleries and museums, and argue that unless the audience is empowered to ascribe meaning and significance to artwork through critical dialogue, the power not only of the audience is undermined but also of art. We argue that galleries and museums preside over an experience economy devoid of art, unless (i) indeterminacy is understood, (ii) the critical rather than coercive nature of art is facilitat…Read more
  •  760
    Between Philosophy and Art
    with Elizabeth B. Coleman, David Macarthur, James Phillips, and Daniel von Sturmer
    Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 5 (2/3): 135-150. 2016.
    Similarity and difference, patterns of variation, consistency and coherence: these are the reference points of the philosopher. Understanding experience, exploring ideas through particular instantiations, novel and innovative thinking: these are the reference points of the artist. However, at certain points in the proceedings of our Symposium titled, Next to Nothing: Art as Performance, this characterisation of philosopher and artist respectively might have been construed the other way around. …Read more
  •  167
    From Kantianism to aesthetic hedonism: aesthetic pleasure revised
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (1): 1-5. 2017.
    No matter how unintuitive it might seem that aesthetic pleasure should be the point where art and morality meet, this is a noteworthy possibility that has been overshadowed by aestheticians’ more visible concerns. Here I briefly survey relevant strands in the literature over the past century, before introducing themes covered in this inaugural issue of Australasian Philosophical Review.
  •  90
    Review of David E. Cooper Aesthetics: The Classic Readings (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (1): 119-120. 1999.
    The authors included in this anthology of historical texts on aesthetics and philosophy of art, address the big questions. They attempt to place art within experience generally or within the life of a community; or they attempt to understand the nature of the aesthetic and its role within experience. Topics include mimesis, the relation between art and truth, the metaphysics of beauty, the function of art, and the ontology of art. All of the extracts included were written prior to the middle …Read more
  •  144
    Commentary on Zeki Inner Vision (review)
    Leonardo Reviews On-Line. 2000.
    The late vision theorist David Marr identified three levels of explanation that he argued needed to be addressed in order to understand vision : (i) the psychological, functional or computational level of processes; (ii) the physical or neurological which is the level of explanation employed by Zeki; and (iii) the algorithmic – the level of implementation. For Zeki’s purpose of drawing upon vision-theory in order to better understand art and aesthetics, there is no need to focus on the third le…Read more
  •  133
    Review of Kirwan Beauty (review)
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59 (3): 334-336. 2001.
    Kirwan identifies three kinds of beauty theory within the Western tradition. These are: ‘in the eye of the beholder’ theories; neoplatonic theories; and what he refers to as synaesthetic theories; which he discusses in chapters 2, 3 and 4 respectively. He places himself within the synaesthetic tradition whose emphasis is apparently on the interaction between the beautiful object and the perceiver. Kirwan, however, does not analyse this interaction. Nor does he concern himself with what makes…Read more
  •  83
    Review of Elkins Our Beautiful Dry and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (1): 142-143. 2001.
    In order to say what one means, and be understood, one needs to know to whom one wishes to communicate, the particular mindset one addresses. Expressing oneself clearly and naturally requires some art. Style, then, is an important component of the message received, or so it is in art history writing according to James Elkins. He attempts to demonstrate that what constitutes art history writing is consequently unanalysable; that art history under analysis becomes something else. ‘The glare of log…Read more
  •  358
    Review of Paul Crowther The Kantian Aesthetic (review)
    British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (2): 229-231. 2011.
    Paul Crowther provides interpretations of key concepts in Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, indicating (particularly in very informative footnotes) how his views compare with those of other Kant commentators such as Paul Guyer, Rachel Zuckert, Béatrice Longuenesse, Henry Allison, Donald Crawford, Robert Wicks and others. One might be inclined to ask whether yet another interpretation of Kant’s third critique was needed, yet compared to his other two critiques, Kant’s Critique of Judgment c…Read more
  •  103
    The Possibility of Objectivity in Aesthetic Evaluation in the Visual Arts
    Dissertation, The University of Melbourne. 1990.
    In order to establish a rational framework within which to discuss aesthetic matters, I attempt to find grounds to support the notion that objectivity in aesthetic evaluation is possible, within the visual arts. I begin by exploring the possibility that the foundations of our aesthetic response are innate, because, if this is the case, it would indicate that aesthetic considerations have a common basis within us all, rather than belonging to a purely personal and subjective realm. In Part One, i…Read more
  •  105
    Aesthetics, Cognition, and Creativity
    Dissertation, Australian National University. 1996.
    This thesis constructs an Interactive Theory of Beauty to change the way we think about beauty and aesthetic form, in order to resolve the conceptual discrepancies between the features that characterize the traditional concept of beauty and the features of the phenomenology of beauty. The assumptions that underlie these discrepancies are identified. I hypothesize an alternative assumption that would need to be the case to resolve the tensions between the traditional concept and the phenomenology…Read more
  •  190
    The key concept in Kant’s aesthetics is “aesthetic reflective judgment,” a critique of which is found in Part 1 of the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790). It is a critique inasmuch as Kant unravels previous assumptions regarding aesthetic perception. For Kant, the comparative edge of a “judgment” implicates communicability, which in turn gives it a public face; yet “reflection” points to autonomy, and the “aesthetic” shifts the emphasis away from objective properties to the subjective resp…Read more
  •  356
    Review of The metaphysics of beauty (review)
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (4): 358-60. 2002.
    This book is a compilation of papers that Zangwill has had published previously in a number of journals; this journal among them. The topics of these papers centre on the nature of aesthetic properties. Read as such, the papers are, for the most part, erudite and illuminating, presenting as they do a very clear synthesis of various well known positions on the relation of aesthetic properties to non-aesthetic properties; the relation of beauty to other aesthetic concepts; and the nature of the …Read more
  •  102
    Review of Revealing Art (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (224): 471-73. 2006.
    Matthew Kieran addresses a number of key topics in aesthetics including the nature of originality, beauty, artistic knowledge and truth, the moral content of art, and the standards of taste. His treatment of each topic is informed by the thesis that the value of art is to be found in the insights that it provides. The structure of each chapter is to canvas a few positions (usually including one that would represent a counter position to his thesis), before presenting an interpretation of the t…Read more
  •  418
    Critical Aesthetic Realism
    Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (2): 49-69. 2011.
    A clear-cut concept of the aesthetic is elusive. Kant’s Critique of Judgment presents one of the more comprehensive aesthetic theories from which we can extract a set of features, some of which pertain to aesthetic experience and others to the logical structure of aesthetic judgment. When considered together, however, these features present a number of tensions and apparent contradictions. Kant’s own attempt to dissolve these apparent contradictions or dichotomies was not entirely satisfactory a…Read more
  •  869
    The aim of this paper is to draw the attention of those conducting research on imagery to the different kinds of visual information deployed by expert drawers compared to non-expert drawers. To demonstrate this difference I draw upon the cognitive science literature on vision and imagery to distinguish between three different ways that visual phenomena can be represented in memory: structural descriptions, denotative descriptions, and configural descriptions. Research suggests that perception an…Read more
  •  110
    The aim of this book is to promote understanding and enjoyment of the arts. With this aim in mind, Lyas introduces the key issues of philosophical aesthetics through examples drawn from high and popular culture, and from a variety of art forms, from music and painting to literature and poetry. The book is pitched as a springboard into undergraduate courses in aesthetics and as an introduction to philosophical aesthetics for the general reader. It is refreshing to read a book on aesthetics writ…Read more
  •  222
    The significance of Plato's notions of beauty and pleasure in the philosophy of Kant
    Greek Research in Australia: Proceedings of the Biennial Conference of Greek Studies 2005 6 27-34. 2007.
    Plato conceived of the Form of Beauty as quite distinct from the Form of the Good. Beauty was a means to the Good. The ascent theory of the Symposium has suggested to some commentators that Plato envisaged two kinds of beauty, the sensuous and the intellectual, and that to reach the Good we must transcend our sensuous desires and cultivate an appreciation of intellectual beauty. However, in the Laws Plato presents us with a third notion of beauty, which is neither sensuous nor intellectual. To e…Read more
  •  816
    Towards a Unified Theory of Beauty
    Literature & Aesthetics 9 7-27. 1999.
    The Pythagorean tradition dominates the understanding of beauty up until the end of the 18th Century. According to this tradition, the experience of beauty is stimulated by certain relations perceived to be between an object/construct's elements. As such, the object of the experience of beauty is indeterminate: it has neither a determinate perceptual analogue (one cannot simply identify beauty as you can a straight line or a particular shape) nor a determinate concept (there are no necessary and…Read more
  •  228
    Review of The Significance of Beauty: Kant on Feeling and the System of the Mind (review)
    Philosophy in Review 19 (2): 122-124. 1999.
    Matthews discusses the role of our ability to make a judgment of taste (judgment of beauty) within Kant's notion of the structure of the mind. In doing this she does not simply rely upon what we can learn from the first part of the third critique, the 'Critique of Aesthetic Judgment', but draws upon Kant's philosophy as a whole, including the first two critiques and the second part of The Critique of Judgment, the 'Critique of Teleological Judgment'. She looks at how the ability to judge beaut…Read more
  •  297
    Beauty
    In Berys Gaut & Dominic Lopes (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, Routledge. pp. 307-319. 2007.
    Beauty is evil, a surreptitious diversion of earthly delights planted by the devil, according to the third century theologian-philosopher Tertullian. Beauty is a manifestation of the divine on earth, according to another third century philosopher, Plotinus. Could these two really be talking about the same thing? That beauty evokes an experience of pleasure is probably the only point on which all participants in the continuing debate on beauty agree. But what kinds of pleasure one considers …Read more
  •  412
    In _Aesthetics and Material Beauty_, Jennifer A. McMahon develops a new aesthetic theory she terms Critical Aesthetic Realism - taking Kantian aesthetics as a starting point and drawing upon contemporary theories of mind from philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science. The creative process does not proceed by a set of rules. Yet the fact that its objects can be understood or appreciated by others suggests that the creative process is constrained by principles to which others have access. Acco…Read more
  •  116
    The perceptual constraints on pictorial realism
    Contemporary Aesthetics 4. 2007.
    I argue in this paper that our concept of pictorial realism should include a reference to perceptual proficiency relative to a cultural context. I argue this by demonstrating the greater explanatory power of such a concept for understanding pictorial realism. The central idea is that gestalt-like mechanisms that are normally involved in object recognition can be deployed at a second order level in picture perception. Styles of picturing that exploit this second order gestalt-like mechanism ar…Read more
  •  123
    Symposium on pictorial realism : Introduction
    Contemporary Aesthetics 4. 2007.
    The participants in this Symposium gathered for a two-day conference on Pictorial Realism at the University of Adelaide. Our aim was to analyse the notion of pictorial realism with a view to its relevance for the way in which art history is conceived and appreciated. Specifically, we examined the extent to which the representational content of artworks can be ascertained independently of preconceived theoretical knowledge about the representational system within which the artwork is made. Pape…Read more