• Depictive Seeing and Double Content
    In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Depiction, Oxford University Press. 2010.
  •  12
    David Davies, Art as Performance
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (1): 75-80. 2005.
  •  66
    Portraits of Wittgenstein and Hume are used as test cases in some preliminary investigations of a new kind of philosophical picture. Such pictures are produced via a variety of visual transformations of the original portraits, with a final selection for display and discussion being based on the few results that seem to have some interesting relevance to the character or philosophical views of the philosopher in question.
  •  102
    I argue that there is an ambiguity in the concept of indiscernibility as applied to objects, because there are two different categories of properties, associated with two different ways in which all of the pre-theoretical 'properties' of an object may be identified. In one structural way, identifications of properties are independent of any particular spatial orientation of the object in question, but in another 'field' way, identifications are instead dependent on an object's particular spatia…Read more
  •  493
    A Refutation of Goodman's Type‐Token Theory of Notation
    Dialectica 57 (3): 330-336. 2003.
    In Languages of Art, Nelson Goodman presents a general theory of symbolic notation. However, I show that his theory could not adequately explain possible cases of natural language notational uses, and argue that this outcome undermines, not only Goodman's own theory, but any broadly type versus token based account of notational structure.Given this failure, an alternative representational theory is proposed, in which different visual or perceptual aspects of a given physical inscription each rep…Read more
  •  54
    Ethics as the Pursuit of Optimal Compatibility of Interests
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 18. 1994.
    I propose a new kind of meta-ethical theory, grounded in a theory of interests and of the modifications required in order to render interests compatible with each other. The theory hence is called "Interest Compatibilism" (IC). A basic account of the nature of interests, and of possible relations between them, is also included. Ethical values turn out to be those involved in optimally desirable forms of harmonization and control of interests and their associated values. The theory is present…Read more
  •  91
    Epistemic Problems of Utilitarian Practical Reasoning
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 19. 1998-9.
    Utilitarian (U.) theories must be capable of being applied in practical reasoning, or they would have no value as a guide to rational conduct. However, I show that epistemic extensions to U. theories produce logical confusion. Basic questions about what one needs to know in order to apply a U. analysis embroil one in an infinite regress. And attempts to incrementally apply U. either are no help at all (leaving one entirely 'in the dark'), or in general constitute arbitrary gambles which no pr…Read more
  • Collingwood: A Philosophy of Art
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (3): 390-392. 1999.
  • Does Aesthetics Rest Upon a Mistake?
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 20
  •  295
    The reflexive theory of perception
    Behavior and Philosophy 33 (1): 17-40. 2005.
    ABSTRACT: The Reflexive Theory of Perception (RTP) claims that perception of an object or property X by an organism Z consists in Z being caused by X to acquire some disposition D toward X itself. This broadly behavioral perceptual theory explains perceptual intentionality and correct versus incorrect, plus successful versus unsuccessful, perception in a plausible evolutionary framework. The theory also undermines cognitive and perceptual modularity assumptions, including informational or purely…Read more
  •  179
    A representational approach to metaphor
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (4): 467-473. 1979.
    In this paper I shall argue that the relations between metaphorical and literal kinds of language may be illuminated and clarified by comparison with corresponding differences and similarities between representing and represented objects. A kind of "picture theory" of metaphorical language will be proposed (though one which draws more on Wittgenstein's Investigations than on the Tractatus), in which successful metaphorical phrases are taken as being about things which are capable (in context) o…Read more
  •  325
    The double content of perception
    Synthese 146 (3): 225-243. 2005.
    Clearly we can perceive both objects, and various aspects or appearances of those objects. But how should that complexity of perceptual content be explained or analyzed? I argue that perceptual representations normally have a double or two level nested structure of content, so as to adequately incorporate information both about contextual aspects Y(X) of an object X, and about the object X itself. On this double content (DC) view, perceptual processing starts with aspectual data Y?(X?) as a high…Read more
  •  122
    Ariadne at the movies
    Contemporary Aesthetics 1. 2003.
    ABSTRACT Films are usually assumed to be types, with their templates or performances being tokens of those types. However, I give a counter-example in which two different films are simultaneously made by different directors, with the outcome of this process being a single template length of film which, I claim, embodies both of those films. But no two types could thus have a token in common, and hence type views of films must be incorrect. I further explain and defend the legitimacy of the examp…Read more
  •  118
    An overview, with links, of original approaches to six significant areas of philosophical concern, including the nature of perception and perceptual content, naturalistic approaches to representation and semantics, a representational explanation of generality, and a dual component theory of propositions. (This file also provides a useful demonstration of how webpage-like features may be simulated in a Word document).
  •  316
    Naturalized perception without information
    Journal of Mind and Behavior 25 (4): 349-368. 2004.
    The outlines of a novel, fully naturalistic theory of perception are provided, that can explain perception of an object X by organism Z in terms of reflexive causality. On the reflexive view proposed, organism Z perceives object or property X just in case X causes Z to acquire causal dispositions reflexively directed back upon X itself. This broadly functionalist theory is potentially capable of explaining both perceptual representation and perceptual content in purely causal terms, making no us…Read more
  •  176
    Is Ridley charitable to Collingwood?
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (4): 393-396. 1998.
    Ridley’s overall strategy, in bare outline form, seems to be this. Collingwood's points about the close connections between artistic expression and physical involvement with a medium are so good that anything else he says must be reinterpreted so as to be consistent with these Expression insights. In particular his overall theory of art, usually interpreted as an "Ideal theory" (according to which a work of art is somehow "in the head", perhaps as the content of a mental imaginative act of expre…Read more
  •  448
    David Davies, art as performance
    with Reviews by Robert Stecker
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (1). 2005.
    In his absorbing book Art as Performance, David Davies argues that artworks should be identified, not with artistic products such as paintings or novels, but instead with the artistic actions or processes that produced such items. Such a view had an earlier incarnation in Currie’s widely criticized “action type hypothesis”, but Davies argues that it is instead action tokens rather than types with which artworks should be identified. This rich and complex work repays the closest study in spite of…Read more
  •  834
    A representational theory of artefacts and artworks
    British Journal of Aesthetics 41 (4): 353-370. 2001.
    The artefacts produced by artists during their creation of works of art are very various: paintings, writings, musical scores, and so on. I have a general thesis to offer about the relations of artefacts and artworks, but within the confines of this article I shall mainly discuss cases drawn from the art of painting, central specimens of which seem to be autographic in Nelson Goodman's sense, namely such that even the most exact duplication of them does not count as producing the same work of ar…Read more
  •  238
    The fictionality of plays
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (3). 2002.
    The category of works of fiction is a very broad and heterogeneous one. I do have a general thesis in mind about such works, namely, that they themselves are fictional, in much the same way as are the fictional events or entities that they are about. But a defense of such a broad thesis would provide an intractably complex topic for an introductory essay, so I shall here confine myself to a presentation of a similar thesis for narrative theatrical works or plays, performances of which are natura…Read more
  •  497
    Artistic expression as interpretation
    British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (1): 162-174. 2004.
    According to R. G. Collingwood in The Principles of Art, art is the expression of emotion--a much-criticized view. I attempt to provide some groundwork for a defensible modern version of such a theory via some novel further criticisms of Collingwood, including the exposure of multiple ambiguities in his main concept of expression of emotion, and a demonstration that, surprisingly enough, his view is unable to account for genuinely creative artistic activities. A key factor in the reconstruction …Read more
  •  161
    Semantics naturalized: Propositional indexing plus interactive perception
    Language and Communication 29 (1): 1-25. 2009.
    A concrete proposal is presented as to how semantics should be naturalized. Rather than attempting to naturalize propositions, they are treated as abstract entities that index concrete cognitive states. In turn the relevant concrete cognitive states are identified via perceptual classifications of worldly states, with the aid of an interactive theory of perception. The approach enables a broadly realist theory of propositions, truth and cognitive states to be preserved, with propositions functio…Read more
  •  373
    Representation as epistemic identification
    Philo 9 (1): 12-31. 2006.
    In a previous Philo article, it was shown how properties could be ontologically dispensed with via a representational analysis: to be an X is to comprehensively represent all the properties of an X. The current paper extends that representationalist (RT) theory by explaining representation itself in parallel epistemic rather than ontological terms. On this extended RT (ERT) theory, representations of X, as well as the real X, both may be identified as providing information about X, whether parti…Read more
  •  413
    Joseph Margolis, What, After All, Is a Work of Art? Reviewed by
    Philosophy in Review 20 (2): 129-131. 2000.
    This book is the outcome of a series of lectures on art-related topics which Margolis gave in various places, including Finland, Russia, Japan and the USA, from 1995 through 1997. Mainly these lectures vividly distill views which Margolis has developed more fully elsewhere. Also, as his readers know, Margolis has an unusually allencompassing and closely integrated series of views on almost all of the main issues concerning both art and philosophy generally. Thus the task of a reviewer of this b…Read more
  •  170
    Depictive seeing and double content
    In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (ed.), Philosophical Perspectives on Picturing, Oxford University Press. 2010.
    A picture provides both configurational content concerning its design features, and recognitional content about its external subject. But how is this possible, since all that a viewer can actually see is the picture's own design? I argue that the most plausible explanation is that a picture's design has a dual function. It both encodes artistically relevant design content, and in turn that design content encodes the subject content of the picture--producing overall a double content structure. Al…Read more
  •  328
    Theater, representation, types and interpretation
    American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (2): 197-209. 2002.
    In the performing arts, including music, theater, dance and so on, theoretical issues both about artworks and about performances of them must be dealt with, so that their theoretical analysis is inherently more complex and troublesome than that of nonperforming arts such as painting or film, in which primarily only artworks need to be discussed. Thus it is especially desirable in the case of the performing arts to look for defensible broad theoretical simplifications or generalizations that coul…Read more
  •  248
    A representationalist approach to generality
    Philo 6 (1): 216-234. 2003.
    There are no unicorns, but there are representations of them, hence motivating an explanation of discourse about the property 'unicorn' in terms of discourse about representations of unicorns. I show how to extend this strategy to apply to any kind or property terms. References to property instances may be explained as references to comprehensive representations of them, which represent all of the (supposed) properties of such an instance--unlike 'ordinary' representations, which are distincti…Read more
  • The Double Content of Art
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2): 289-291. 2006.
  •  186
    A counter-example to theatrical type theories
    Philosophia 31 (1-2): 165-170. 2003.
    Plays, symphonies and other works in the performing arts are generally regarded, ontologically speaking, as being types, with individual performances of those works being regarded as tokens of those types. But I show that there is a logical feature of type theory which makes it impossible for such a theory to satisfactorily explain a 'double performance' case that I present: one in which a single play performance is actually a performance of two different plays. Hence type theories fail, both fo…Read more
  •  200
    Reforming indicated type theories
    British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (1): 11-31. 2005.
    There is some intuitive plausibility to the idea that composers create musical works by indicating sonic types in a historical context. But the idea is technically indefensible as it stands, requiring a thorough representational reform that also eliminates the type-theoretic commitments of current versions. On the reformed account, musical 'indication' is an operation of high level representational interpretation of concrete sounds, that can both explain the creativity of composers, and the ofte…Read more
  •  344
    Perceptual causality problems reflexively resolved
    Acta Analytica 20 (3): 11-31. 2005.
    Causal theories of perception typically have problems in explaining deviant causal chains. They also have difficulty with other unusual putative cases of perception involving prosthetic aids, defective perception, scientifically extended cases of perception, and so on. But I show how a more adequate reflexive causal theory, in which objects or properties X cause a perceiver to acquire X-related dispositions toward that very same item X, can provide a plausible and principled perceptual explanati…Read more