•  134
    Plants Sense. But Only Animals Perceive.
    In Gabriele Ferretti, Peter Schulte & Markus Wild (eds.), Philosophy of Plant Cognition: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Routledge. forthcoming.
    All living things have sensory capacities. Plants, in particular, have sensory receptors, transduce the activations of these receptors, and process these outputs in order to manage actions that demand sensory integration. However, there is a kind of sensory function that plants cannot perform. They cannot sense something as other than themselves. Animals, by contrast, perceive. They experience two kinds of "othering impressions"—impressions of entities as located outside and available for intera…Read more
  •  651
    The Geography of Taste
    with Dominic Lopes, Samantha Matherne, and Bence Nanay
    Oxford University Press. 2024.
    Aesthetic preferences and practices vary widely between individuals and between cultures. How should aesthetics proceed if we take this fact of aesthetic diversity, rather than the presumption of aesthetic universality, as our starting point? How should we theorize the cultural origins and cultural basis of aesthetic diversity? How should we think about the value and normativity of aesthetic diversity? In an effort to model what the turn toward diversity might look like in aesthetic inquiry, eac…Read more
  •  79
    The emergence of tastes
    In Dominic Lopes, Samantha Matherne, Mohan Matthen & Bence Nanay (eds.), The Geography of Taste, Oxford University Press. 2024.
  •  318
    Hunger, Homeostasis, and Desire
    Mind and Language 40. 2023.
    Hunger is a psychological state that serves physiological energy homeostasis. I argue that it is a pure underived desire to eat and examine its role in homeostasis. After scene-setting explanations of homeostasis and desire, I argue that hunger is a close phenomenological match with underived desire. Then, I show why desire is an apt instrument for energy homeostasis. Finally, I argue that energy homeostasis is a multi-factorial future-regarding behavioural strategy. Hunger is a special purpose …Read more
  • How things look (and what things look that way)
    In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the world, Oxford University Press. 2010.
  •  2
    Teleology in Living Things
    In Georgios Anagnostopoulos (ed.), A Companion to Aristotle, Wiley‐blackwell. 2009.
    This chapter contains sections titled: Artifacts and the Four Causes Goals vs. Functions The Argument from Non‐Coincidence Craft, Form, and Spontaneity Non‐bodily Causes Global Teleology Note Bibliography.
  •  40
    What colors? Whose colors?
    Consciousness and Cognition 10 (1): 117-124. 2001.
  •  170
    John Campbell argues that visual attention to objects is the means by which we can refer to objects, and that this is so because conscious visual attention enables us to retrieve information about a location. It is argued here that while Campbell is right to think that we visually attend to objects, he does not give us sufficient ground for thinking that consciousness is involved, and is wrong to assign an intermediary role to location. Campbell’s view on sortals is also queried, as is his espou…Read more
  •  65
  •  7
    How to Be Sure
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1): 38-69. 2014.
  •  6
    Our Knowledge of Colour
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 27 (sup1): 215-246. 2001.
    Scientists are often bemused by the efforts of philosophers essaying a theory of colour: colour science sports a huge array of facts and theories, and it is unclear to its practitioners what philosophy can or is trying to contribute. Equally, philosophers tend to be puzzled about how they can fit colour science into their investigations without compromising their own disciplinary identity: philosophy is supposed to be an a priori investigation; philosophers do not work in psychophysics labs – no…Read more
  •  3
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 20 1-20. 1994.
  •  287
    Aesthetic Value: Why Pleasure Counts
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1): 89-90. 2023.
    An object has aesthetic value (henceforth: a-value) because a certain sort of cognitive engagement with it is beneficial. This grounding in mental activity expl.
  •  343
    Material Objects as the Singular Subjects of Multimodal Perception
    In Aleksandra Mroczko-Wrasowicz & Rick Grush (eds.), Sensory Individuals: Unimodal and Multimodal Perspectives, Oxford University Press. 2023.
    Higher animals need to identify and track material objects because they depend on interactions with them for nutrition, reproduction, and social interaction. This paper investigates the perception of material objects. It argues, first, that material objects are tagged, in all five external senses, as bearers of the features detected by them. This happens through a perceptual process, here entitled Generalized Completion, which creates the appearance of objects that have properties that transcend…Read more
  •  334
    Multisensory Perception in Philosophy
    with Amber Ross
    Multisensory Research 34 (3): 219-231. 2021.
    This is the editors' Introduction to a special issue of the journal, Multisensory Research. European philosophers of the modern period found multisensory perception to be impossible because they thought that perceptual ideas are defined by how they are experienced. Under this conception, the individual modalities are determinables of ideas—just as colour is a determinable that embraces red and blue, so also the visual is a determinable that embraces colour and (visually experienced) shape. Since…Read more
  •  429
    Food has savour: a collection of properties (including appearance, aroma, mouth-feel) connected with the pleasure (or displeasure) of eating. After explaining this concept, and outlining a theory of aesthetic pleasure, I argue that, like paradigm examples of art, savour can be assessed relative to a culturally determined set of norms. Also like paradigm examples of art, the assessment of savour has no objective basis in the absence of such cultural norms. My argument in this paper is part of a l…Read more
  •  477
    Molyneux asked whether a newly sighted person could distinguish a sphere from a cube by sight alone, given that she was antecedently able to do so by touch. This, we contend, is a question about general ideas. To answer it, we must ask (a) whether spatial locations identified by touch can be identified also by sight, and (b) whether the integration of spatial locations into an idea of shape persists through changes of modality. Posed this way, Molyneux’s Question goes substantially beyond questi…Read more
  •  577
    Art Forms Emerging: An Approach to Evaluative Diversity in Art
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (3): 303-318. 2020.
    An artwork in one culture and form, say European classical music, cannot be evaluated in the context of another, say Hindustani music. While a person educated in the traditions of European music can rationally evaluate and discuss her response to a string quartet by Beethoven, her response to music in a foreign culture is merely subjective. She might "like" the latter, but her response is merely subjective. In this paper, I discuss the role of artforms: why response can be "objectively" discusse…Read more
  •  414
    The sense of touch provides us knowledge of two kinds of events. Tactile sensation (T) makes us aware of events on or just below the skin; haptic perception (H) gives us knowledge of things outside the body with which we are in contact. This paper argues that T and H are distinct experiences, and not (as some have argued) different aspects of the same touch-experience. In other words, T ≠ H. Moreover, H does not supervene on T. Secondly: In T, we are aware of immanent, phenomenal qualities; in …Read more
  •  227
    Review of Berit Brogaard, Seeing and Saying (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201906. 2019.
    Brogaard's book is extremely informative about the grammar of perceptual verbs, and questions that it indicates representationalism (as opposed to naive realism). As useful as this is, I question how much grammar tells us much about perception.
  •  571
    Aristotle held that perception consists in the reception of external sensory qualities (or sensible forms) in the sensorium. This idea is repeated in many forms in contemporary philosophy, including, with regard to vision, in the idea (still not firmly rejected) that the retinal image consists of points of colour. In fact, this is false. Colour is a quality that is constructed by the visual system, and though it is possible to be a realist about colour, it is completely misleading to think of it…Read more
  •  588
    Objects, seeing, and object-seeing
    Synthese 198 (4). 2019.
    Two questions are addressed in this paper. First, what is it to see? I argue that it is veridical experience of things outside the perceiver brought about by looking. Second, what is it to see a material object? I argue that it is experience of an occupant of a spatial region that is a logical subject for other visual features, able to move to another spatial region, to change intrinsically, and to interact with other material objects. I show how this theory is different from the idea that objec…Read more
  •  377
    Ephemeral Vision
    In Thomas Crowther & Clare Mac Cumhaill (eds.), Perceptual Ephemera, Oxford University Press. pp. 312-339. 2018.
    Vision is organized around material objects; they are most of what we see. But we also see beams of light, depictions, shadows, reflections, etc. These things look like material objects in many ways, but it is still visually obvious that they are not material objects. This chapter articulates some principles that allow us to understand how we see these ‘ephemera’. H.P. Grice’s definition of seeing is standard in many discussions; here I clarify and augment it with a criterion drawn from Fred Dre…Read more
  •  430
    Art, Pleasure, Value: Reframing the Questions
    Philosophic Exchange 47 (1). 2018.
    In this essay, I’ll argue, first, that an art object's aesthetic value (or merit) depends not just on its intrinsic properties, but on the response it evokes from a consumer who shares the producer's cultural background. My question is: what is the role of culture in relation to this response? I offer a new account of aesthetic pleasure that answers this question. On this account, aesthetic pleasure is not just a “feeling” or “sensation” that results from engaging with a work of art. It is rathe…Read more
  •  550
    Constructing Aesthetic Value: Responses to My Commentators
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (1): 100-111. 2017.
    This is a response to invited and submitted commentary on "The Pleasure of Art," published in Australasian Philosophical Reviews 1, 1 (2017). In it, I expand on my view of aesthetic pleasure, particularly how the distinction between facilitating pleasure and relief pleasure works. In response to critics who discerned and were uncomfortable with the aesthetic hedonism that they found in the work, I develop that aspect of my view. My position is that the aesthetic value of a work of art is its cap…Read more