• 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.
  •  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
  •  270
    In support of content theories of art
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1). 2007.
    A content theory of art would identify an artwork with the meaningful or representational content of some concrete artistic vehicle, such as the intentional, expressive, stylistic, and subject matter-related content embodied in, or resulting from, acts of intentional artistic expression by artists. Perhaps surprisingly, the resultant view that an artwork is nothing but content seems to have been without theoretical defenders until very recently, leaving a significant theoretical gap in the liter…Read more
  •  493
    Artworks versus designs
    British Journal of Aesthetics 41 (2): 162-177. 2001.
    I propose a distinction between design intentions, activities and products, as opposed to artistic intentions, activities and artworks. Examples of design products would include a specific type of car (or any other invention or device) as well as closer relatives of art such as decorative wall designs. In order to distinguish artistic from design intentions, I present an example in which two sculptors independently work on a single object to produce two sculptures, which are distinct just be…Read more
  •  296
    The propositional challenge to aesthetics
    British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2): 115-144. 2008.
    It is generally accepted that Picasso might have used a different canvas as the vehicle for his painting Guernica, and also that the artwork Guernica itself necessarily represents a certain historical episode—rather than, say, a bowl of fruit. I argue that such a conjunctive acceptance entails a broadly propositional view of the nature of representational artworks. In addition, I argue—via a comprehensive examination of possible alternatives—that, perhaps surprisingly, there simply is no other a…Read more
  • Are Films Types?
    Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 21
  •  303
    Semantic Naturalization via Interactive Perceptual Causality
    Minds and Machines 18 (4): 527-546. 2008.
    A novel semantic naturalization program is proposed. Its three main differences from informational semantics approaches are as follows. First, it makes use of a perceptually based, four-factor interactive causal relation in place of a simple nomic covariance relation. Second, it does not attempt to globally naturalize all semantic concepts, but instead it appeals to a broadly realist interpretation of natural science, in which the concept of propositional truth is off-limits to naturalization at…Read more
  •  356
    Representationalism and indeterminate perceptual content
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (3): 369-387. 2007.
    Representationalists who hold that phenomenal character can be explained in terms of representational content currently cannot explain counter-examples that involve indeterminate perceptual content, such as in the case of objects seen blurrily by someone with poor eyesight, or objects seen vaguely in misty conditions. But this problem can be resolved via provision of a more sophisticated double content (DC) view, according to which the representational content of perception is structured in two …Read more
  •  436
    More on the Interactive Indexing Semantic Theory
    Minds and Machines 20 (3): 455-474. 2010.
    This article further explains and develops a recent, comprehensive semantic naturalization theory, namely the interactive indexing (II) theory as described in my 2008 Minds and Machines article Semantic Naturalization via Interactive Perceptual Causality (Vol. 18, pp. 527–546). Folk views postulate a concrete intentional relation between cognitive states and the worldly states they are about. The II theory eliminates any such concrete intentionality, replacing it with purely causal relations bas…Read more
  •  267
    Free action as two level voluntary control
    Philosophical Frontiers 3 (1): 29-45. 2008.
    The naturalistic voluntary control (VC) theory explains free will and consciousness in terms of each other. It is central to free voluntary control of action that one can control both what one is conscious of, and also what one is not conscious of. Furthermore, the specific cognitive ability or skill involved in voluntarily controlling whether information is processed consciously or unconsciously can itself be used to explain consciousness. In functional terms, it is whatever kind of cognitive p…Read more
  •  229
    The twofold orientational structure of perception
    Philosophical Psychology 18 (2): 187-203. 2005.
    I argue that perceptual content involves representations both of aspects of objects, and of objects themselves, whether at the level of conscious perception, or of low-level perceptual processing - a double content structure. I present an 'orientational' theory of the relations of the two kinds of perceptual content, which can accommodate both the general semantic possibility of perceptual misrepresentation, and also species of it involving characteristic perceptual confusions of aspectual and i…Read more
  •  289
    A naturalistic, reflexive dispositional approach to perception
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (4): 583-601. 2005.
    This paper will investigate the basic question of the nature of perception, as theoretically approached from a purely naturalistic standpoint. An adequate theory must not only have clear application to a world full of pre-existing biological examples of perception of all kinds, from unicellular perception to conscious human perception, but it must also satisfy a series of theoretical or philosophical constraints, as enumerated and discussed in Section 1 below. A perceptual theory invoking _refle…Read more
  •  243
    Three depictive views defended
    British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (3): 259-278. 2002.
    thesis as to the inseparability of the perception of a picture and the perception of its subject matter, making use of a recently developed ‘interpretive’ theory of pictorial representation, according to which a picture is represented by its physical vehicle, so that a picture is itself part of the representational content of the vehicle—which picture in turn interpretively represents its subject matter. I also show how Richard Wollheim's own twofoldness thesis, along with related views of his, …Read more
  •  459
    A double content theory of artistic representation
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3). 2005.
    The representational content or subject matter of a picture is normally distinguished from various non-representational components of meaning involved in artworks, such as expressive, stylistic or intentional factors. However, I show how such non subject matter components may themselves be analyzed in content terms, if two different categories of representation are recognized--aspect indication for stylistic etc. factors, and normal representation for subject matter content. On the account given…Read more
  •  386
    Resemblance, Restriction, and Content‐Bearing Features
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (1). 2005.
    In "A Restriction for Pictures and Some Consequences for a Theory of Depiction", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 61, 4 (2003): 381-394, Michael Newall defended a resemblance view of depiction. He concentrated on pictures X involving a perpendicular view of the physical surface of another picture Y, and argued that the actual restrictions on what picture X can depict of Y's physical surface are best explained by a strict resemblance or similarity view. But I show that there are many probl…Read more
  •  442
    Perception, introspection, and functional consonance
    Theoria 72 (4): 299-318. 2006.
    What is the relation between a perceptual experience of an object X as being red, and one's belief, if any, as to the nature of that experience? A traditional Cartesian view would be that, if indeed object X does seem to be red to oneself, then one's resulting introspective belief about it could only be a _conforming _belief, i.e., a belief that X perceptually seems to be _red _to oneself--rather than, for instance, a belief that X perceptually seems to be green to oneself instead. On such a Car…Read more
  •  253
    The highly enjoyable experiences associated with drinking good wines have been widely misunderstood. It is common to regard wine appreciation as an analytical or quasi-scientific kind of activity, in which wine experts carefully distinguish the precise sensory qualities of each wine, and then pass on their accumulated factual knowledge to less experienced wine enthusiasts. However, this model of wine appreciation is seriously defective. One good way to show its defects is to provide a better and…Read more
  •  262
    Conscious perceptual experience as representational self-prompting
    Journal of Mind and Behavior 28 (2): 135-156. 2007.
    Journal of Mind and Behavior 28 no. 2 , pp. 135-156. The self-prompting theory of consciousness holds that conscious perceptual experience occurs when non-routine perceptual data prompt the activation of a plan in an executive control system that monitors perceptual input. On the other hand, routine, non-conscious perception merely provides data about the world, which indicatively describes the world correctly or incorrectly. Perceptual experience instead involves data that are about the perceiv…Read more
  •  373
    The perception of representational content
    British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (4): 388-411. 2005.
    How can it be true that one sees a lake when looking at a picture of a lake, since one's gaze is directed upon a flat dry surface covered in paint? An adequate contemporary explanation cannot avoid taking a theoretical stand on some fundamental cognitive science issues concerning the nature of perception, of pictorial content, and of perceptual reference to items that, strictly speaking, have no physical existence. A solution is proposed that invokes a broadly functionalist, naturalistic theory …Read more
  •  160
    Ariadne revisited
    Contemporary Aesthetics 1. 2003.
    ABSTRACT My article, "Ariadne at the Movies," provided a detailed, double film counter-example to the claim that films are types. Here I defend my views against various criticisms provided by Aaron Smuts. The defense includes some necessary clarification of the Ariadne article's broader theoretical structure and background, as well as some additional anti-type arguments to further withstand his criticisms.
  •  325
    The Abstractness of Artworks and Its Implications for Aesthetics
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (4): 341-353. 2008.
    Artworks have at least some necessary content properties, as do abstract entities such as propositions. But no concrete item, whether an object, event, process etc., could have any necessary content property. So no artwork could be identical with a concrete item. Hence artworks must be abstract. I also argue that artworks are only contingently connected with concrete items, just as propositions are only contingently linked to their linguistic tokens.
  •  82
    Dual Recognition of Depth and Dependent Seeing
    Interdisciplines Art and Cognition Workshop. 2005.
    An explanation of the seeing of depth both in reality and in pictures requires a dual content theory of visual recognition. In addition, there are two necessary conditions on genuine seeing of depth-related content. First, the right kinds of dependence relations must hold between a physical picture, its content and its perceiver, and second, the perceiver must be in an appropriate, functionally defined perceptual state.
  •  202
    Representation and Resemblance
    Philosophical Forum 12 (2): 139. 1980.
    The concept of representation is a problematic one. So is that of resemblance or similarity. But both concepts can be clarified via a modification of Wittgenstein's notion of a "family-resemblance." I shall introduce an extended version of that notion, specifically relevant to representational objects, after presenting some arguments which show the need for it.