•  20
    Dual Structure of Touch: The Body vs. Peripersonal Space
    In Frédérique de Vignemont (ed.), The World at Our Fingertips, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    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
  •  41
    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.
  •  70
    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
  •  55
    Objects, seeing, and object-seeing
    Synthese. forthcoming.
    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
  •  53
    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
  •  58
    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
  •  113
    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
  •  333
    How to Explain Pleasure
    British Journal of Aesthetics 54 (4): 477-481. 2014.
    Stephen Davies’ book The Artful Species is a nuanced and learned attempt to show how evolution does, and does not, account for the human capacity to produce and appreciate beautiful things. In this critical note, his approach to aesthetic pleasure is examined. Aesthetic pleasure, it is argued, is a state that encourages us to continue with our perceptual or intellectual engagement with something. Such pleasure displays a different profile from states that urge us to use an object to satisfy a ne…Read more
  •  393
    Many Molyneux Questions
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1-17. forthcoming.
    (This paper will appear in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy. The Accepted Version will be posted when it is published.) Molyneux's Question (MQ) concerns whether a newly sighted man would recognize/distinguish a sphere and a cube by vision, assuming he could previously do this by touch. We argue that (MQ) splits into questions about (a) shared representations of space in different perceptual systems, and about (b) shared ways of constructing higher dimensional spatiotemporal features from…Read more
  •  107
    Naturalism and Teleology
    Journal of Philosophy 88 (11): 656-657. 1991.
    A brief comment on Mark Bedau's critique of naturalist theories of teleology. A positive account is offered in "Teleology and the Product Analogy".
  •  308
    Introduction
    In Jonathan D. Cohen & Mohan Matthen (eds.), Color Ontology and Color Science, Mit Press. 2010.
    The Introduction discusses determinables and similarity spaces and ties together the contributions to Color Ontology and Color Science.
  •  37
    Color Ontology and Color Science (edited book)
    Bradford. 2010.
    Philosophers and scientists have long speculated about the nature of color. Atomists such as Democritus thought color to be "conventional," not real; Galileo and other key figures of the Scientific Revolution thought that it was an erroneous projection of our own sensations onto external objects. More recently, philosophers have enriched the debate about color by aligning the most advanced color science with the most sophisticated methods of analytical philosophy. In this volume, leading scienti…Read more
  •  253
    Perception and Its Modalities (edited book)
    with Dustin Stokes and Stephen Biggs
    Oxford University Press. 2014.
    This volume is about the many ways we perceive. Contributors explore the nature of the individual senses, how and what they tell us about the world, and how they interrelate. They consider how the senses extract perceptual content from receptoral information. They consider what kinds of objects we perceive and whether multiple senses ever perceive a single event. They consider how many senses we have, what makes one sense distinct from another, and whether and why distinguishing senses may be us…Read more
  •  290
    Sorting the Senses
    In Dustin Stokes, Mohan Matthen & Stephen Biggs (eds.), Perception and its Modalities, Oxford University Press. pp. 1-19. 2014.
    We perceive in many ways. But several dubious presuppositions about the senses mask this diversity of perception. Philosophers, scientists, and engineers alike too often presuppose that the senses (vision, audition, etc.) are independent sources of information, perception being a sum of these independent contributions. We too often presuppose that we can generalize from vision to other senses. We too often presuppose that vision itself is best understood as a passive receptacle for an image thro…Read more
  • Ancient Philosophy and Modern Ideology
    with Charlotte Witt
    Academic Printing and Publishing. 2000.
  • Seeing, Doing, and Knowing: A Précis
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2): 392-399. 2008.
  • Reply to Egan and Clark
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2): 415-421. 2008.
  •  3
    An untutored reaction of incredulity (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 60 114-117. 2013.
  • Perception and its Modalites (edited book)
    with Biggs S. and Stokes D.
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  34
    Review of Fairweather and Montemayor, Knowledge, Dexterity, and Attention (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201712. 2017.
    In common with many other "virtue epistemologists," Abrol Fairweather and Carlos Montemayor contend that in order to count as knowledge, a mental state must be the product of truth-apt dispositions. I question their theoretical motivations. First, I note that unlike virtue ethics, affect is irrelevant to knowledge. A generous act is arguably better if it is performed warm-heartedly, but a belief is no more creditable if it is performed with the right affect. Second, I argue that non-discursive s…Read more
  •  264
    Because culture plays a role in determining the aesthetic merit of a work of art, intrinsically similar works can have different aesthetic merit when assessed in different cultures. This paper argues that a form of aesthetic hedonism is best placed to account for this relativity of aesthetic value. This form of hedonism is based on a functional account of aesthetic pleasure, according to which it motivates and enables mental engagement with artworks, and an account of pleasure-learning, in which…Read more
  •  117
    Four Pillars of Statisticalism
    with Denis M. Walsh and André Ariew
    Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1). 2017.
    Over the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Sele…Read more
  •  51
    The author attempts here to sketch the beginnings of an adequate interpretation of Plato's treatment of the tall and the equal in the "Phaedo". The paper consists of seven sections (roman numerals). In I-II, he (a) argues that any attempt to solve the puzzle stated at "Phaedo" 102 bc within the parameters there set down would "eo ipso" be an attempted theory of relational statements; (b) formulates that puzzle; and (c) shows that Frege solved it by denying its presuppositions. In IV the author p…Read more
  •  99
    Mazviita Chirimuuta proposes a new “adverbialist” ontology of color. I argue that ontological disputes in the philosophy of color are uniformly terminological. Chirimuuta's proposal too is a terminological variant on others, though it has some hortatory value in directing attention to aspects of color science that have hitherto been neglected. On a side note, I also take issue with Chirimuuta's laudatory take on early modern theories of color.
  •  131
    How to understand casual relations in natural selection: Reply to Rosenberg and Bouchard (review)
    with André Ariew
    Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3): 355-364. 2005.
    In “Two Ways of Thinking About Fitness and Natural Selection” (Matthen and Ariew [2002]; henceforth “Two Ways”), we asked how one should think of the relationship between the various factors invoked to explain evolutionary change – selection, drift, genetic constraints, and so on. We suggested that these factors are not related to one another as “forces” are in classical mechanics. We think it incoherent, for instance, to think of natural selection and drift as separate and opposed “forces” in e…Read more