•  54
    'Explicating "Creativity"
    In Berys Gaut & Matthew Kieran (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Creativity and Philosophy, Routledge. pp. 108-123. 2018.
    Beginning with the prevalent idea that creativity is the ability to make or do things having valuable novelty, the paper explores a variety of axiological and novelty conditions and defends an instrumental success condition. I discuss Robert K. Merton's distinction between 'originality' and 'priority', and Margaret Boden's similar distinction between historical and psychological creativity, as well as Thomas Reid's and Bruce Vermazen's remarks on relations between novelty and value.
  •  18
    The Bold Thesis Retried: On Cinema as Philosophy
    In Christina Rawls, Diana Neiva & Steven Gouveia (eds.), Philosophy and Film: Bridging Divides, Routledge. pp. 81-91. 2019.
    This paper begins by presenting a simple model that maps some salient positions on the topic of cinema as philosophy, including the very strong claims that are constitutive of what has been stipulated to be “the bold thesis.” It is contended that examples that have been adduced in the literature as substantiating that bold thesis in fact only support weaker claims. It is argued in favor of accepting some such theses on the topic. It is then introduced a number of variables that might be worth ke…Read more
  • Lange vs James on Emotion, Passion, and the Arts
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 85 39-56. 2019.
    According to what is now the standard account in the history of psychology, in the 1880s William James and the Danish physician Carl Georg Lange independently developed a strikingly new theory, commonly referred to as the ‘James–Lange’ theory of emotion. In this paper it is argued that this standard account is highly misleading. Lange's views on affect in his Om Sindsbevægelser were more cautious than James allowed, and not open to criticisms that have often been levelled against the theory of e…Read more
  • Learning to Read Film
    Oxford Literary Review 2 (2): 20-21. 1977.
  •  1
    Glancing Blows
    Oxford Literary Review 2 (3): 28-34. 1977.
  •  20
    Thought experiments in aesthetics
    with Carl Mikael Pettersson
    In Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, K. Browniee & D. Coady (eds.), A Companion to Applied Philosophy, John Wiley & Sons. 2016.
    In the burgeoning literature on thought experiments, examples are drawn from almost all areas of philosophy, one exception, however, being aesthetics. There are good reasons why this is so: there are very few interesting theory-oriented thought experiments in aesthetics, which is unsurprising since there are few well-developed theories to test in this field. After evaluating some aesthetic thought experiments in light of some general epistemic questions regarding thought experiments, we argue th…Read more
  •  11
    This paper explores the category of films known as “twist films” in relation to distinctions between different modes of epistemic access to works. With reference to the case of Robert Enrico’s short film, La rivière du hibou, the philosophical significance of different sorts of twist films is explored. Twists are also discussed in relation to emotive responses, with special attention to the paradox of suspense.
  • The Creation of Art
    with Berys Gaut
    Philosophical Quarterly 55 (220): 538-540. 2005.
  •  3
    Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study
    Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226): 153-156. 2007.
  •  6
    These comments concern Bordwell’s explicit and implicit claims about cinematic authorship in his 1985 Narration in the Fiction Film. Distinctions are drawn between causal and attributionist conceptions of authorship, and between actualist and fictionalist views about the spectator’s attitude toward authorship. A key question concerns the autonomy or independence of a viewer’s competent uptake of story and narration, as opposed to its dependence on knowledge of authorship or authorial design. The…Read more
  •  13
    Questions central to the ontology of art include the following: what sort of things are works of art? Do all works of art belong to any one basic ontological category? Do all or only some works have multiple instances? Do works have parts or constituents, and if so, what is their relation to the work as a whole? How are particular works of art individuated? Are they created or discovered? Can they be destroyed? Explicit and extensive treatments of these topics written prior to the 19th century h…Read more
  •  8
    The article reviews the book "Interpretive Reasoning," by Laurent Stern.
  •  11
    Although rationality is a central topic in contemporary analytic philosophy and in the social sciences, literary scholars generally assume that the notion has little or no relevance to literature. In this interdisciplinary study, Paisley Livingston promotes a dialogue between these different fields, arguing that recent theories of rationality can contribute directly to literary enquiry and that literary analysis can in turn enhance our understanding of human agency. The result is a work that hel…Read more
  •  4
    Did Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, or other "poststructuralist" theorists writing in the wake of May '68 come up with any good ideas about authorship and related topics in the philosophy of literature? The three volumes under review have a common point of departure in that broad question, but offer a number of contrasting responses to it. In what follows I describe and assess some of the various perspectives on offer in these 700 or so pages. The short answer to my initial que…Read more
  •  22
    [Book review article for Creativity and Art: Three Roads to Surprise by Boden, Margaret A, no abstract is available.]
  •  3
    In the following fictional interview, the Abbé Jean-Baptiste Du Bos’ ideas about the representational arts are applied to relevant aspects of the cinema. Du Bos argues that normally works of cinematic fiction are designed to give rise to ‘artificial passions’ that have the function of providing relief from boredom without the negative consequences that many alternative pursuits would have. Du Bos’ solution to the paradox of negative affect and his position on Aristotle’s doctrine of catharsis ar…Read more
  •  12
    In response to Noël Carroll's criticisms of my essay on C. I. Lewis's conception of aesthetic experience, I discuss reasons given in support of axiological accounts of aesthetic experience, including Lewis's contentions about the intrinsic valence of all experiences and his emphasis on the interests motivating philosophical classifications of experience. I also respond to Carroll's remarks about a possible explanatory requirement on a conception of aesthetic experience and the idea that artists …Read more
  •  13
    The idea that films can be philosophical, or in some sense ‘do’ philosophy, has recently found a number of prominent proponents. What is at stake here is generally more than the tepid claim that some documentaries about philosophy and related topics convey philosophically relevant content. Instead, the contention is that cinematic fictions, including popular movies such as The Matrix, make significant contributions to philosophy. Various more specific claims are linked to this basic idea. One, r…Read more
  •  20
    This chapter contains sections titled: “Solid Objects” and Its Interpretations Towards an Alternative Interpretation “Solid Objects” as a reductio ad absurdum of One Kind of Aesthetic Theory Rapture does not Suffice.
  •  10
    The current essay describes aspects of C. I. Lewis’s rarely cited contributions to aesthetics, focusing primarily on the conception of aesthetic experience developed in An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation. Lewis characterized aesthetic value as a proper subset of inherent value, which he understood as the power to occasion intrinsically valued experiences. He distinguished aesthetic experiences from experiences more generally in terms of eight conditions. Roughly, he proposed that aesthetic e…Read more
  •  20
    It is quite common to draw a distinction between complete and unfinished works of art. For example, it is uncontroversial to think that Vermeer had actually completed View of Delft before inept restorers added layers of coloured varnish to give the picture an antique quality, and there is very good evidence to support the related claim that the artist had not finished the work before he effected several pentimenti, including the painting over of a figure in the foreground on the right. Such beli…Read more
  • Book review of The Philosophy of Art. By STEPHEN DAVIES.. Blackwell. 2006.
  •  4
    Although Ingmar Bergman figures on everyone’s list of philosophical filmmakers, attempts to specify the philosophical implications of his films have yielded highly divergent results. One reason why this is the case is that interpreters disagree over how the philosophical content of a cinematic oeuvre is to be identified. Some interpreters clearly believe it best to work with their own philosophical views when interpreting a film’s story and themes, while others contend that the content of a work…Read more
  •  11
    Consider Thomas Hardy's 1895 novel, Jude the Obscure. It is true in the fiction that in spite of his humble origins, Jude Fawley aspires to a life of scholarship. It is also true in the fiction that the stonecutter sends letters to five academics expressing his desire to study at Christminster University. The only answer he receives is from T. Tetuphenay, the master of Biblioll College, who curtly advises him to abandon his scholarly ambitions. It is true in the fiction that Fawley never recover…Read more