•  31
    A Companion to Aesthetics (edited book)
    with Stephen Davies, Kathleen Marie Higgins, Robert Stecker, and David E. Cooper
    Wiley. 2009.
    In this extensively revised and updated edition, 168 alphabetically arranged articles provide comprehensive treatment of the main topics and writers in this area of aesthetics. Written by prominent scholars covering a wide-range of key topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art Features revised and expanded entries from the first edition, as well as new chapters on recent developments in aesthetics and a larger number of essays on non-Western thought about art Unique to this edition are six …Read more
  •  38
    Christopher Nolan’s Memento illustrates and explores two roles that memory plays in human life. The film’s protagonist, Leonard Shelby, cannot ‘make new memories’. He copes by using a ‘system’ of polaroids, tatoos, charts and notes that substitutes for memory in its first role, the retention of information. In particular, the system is supposed to help Leonard carry out his sole goal: to find and kill his wife’s murderer. In this it proves a disastrous failure. But are we so very much better off…Read more
  •  22
    The Sculpted Image?
    In Fred Rush, Ingvild Torsen & Kristin Gjesdal (eds.), Philosophy of Sculpture: Historical Problems, Contemporary Approaches, Routledge. pp. 187-205. 2020.
    Representational pictures and sculptures both present their objects visually: to grasp what they represent is in some sense to see, not only the representation before one, but the object represented. But is the form of visual presentation the same? Or does a deep difference lie at the heart of our experience of these representations, a difference in how each presents us with its object? Almost all philosophical discussion of pictures and 3D representations has assumed or implied a negative answ…Read more
  •  26
    We engage with all representational pictures by seeing things in them. Seeing-in is a distinctive form of visual experience, one in which we are aware of both the marks, projected lights, or whatever that make up the picture (its Design) and what the picture represents (Scene). Some seeing-in is inflected: what we then see in the picture is a scene the properties of which make essential reference to Design. Since cinema involves moving pictures, it too supports seeing-in. But can that seeing-in …Read more
  •  91
    Artistic Style as the Expression of Ideals
    Philosophers' Imprint 21 (NO. 8): 1-18. 2021.
    What is artistic style? In the literature one answer to this question has proved influential: the view that artistic style is the expression of personality. In what follows we elaborate upon and evaluatively compare the two most plausible versions of this view with a new proposal—that style is the expression of the artist’s ideals for her art. We proceed by comparing the views’ answers to certain questions we think a theory of individual artistic style should address: Are there limits on what ra…Read more
  •  42
    Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World
    Mind 112 (447): 558-563. 2003.
  •  249
    How To Form Aesthetic Belief: Interpreting The Acquaintance Principle
    Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 3 (3): 85-99. 2006.
    What are the legitimate sources of aesthetic belief? Which methods for forming aesthetic belief are acceptable? Although the question is rarely framed explicitly, it is a familiar idea that there is something distinctive about aesthetic matters in this respect. Crudely, the thought is that the legitimate routes to belief are rather more limited in the aesthetic case than elsewhere. If so, this might tell us something about the sorts of facts that aesthetic beliefs describe, about the nature of o…Read more
  •  225
    What is wrong with moral testimony?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (3): 611-634. 2007.
    Is it legitimate to acquire one’s moral beliefs on the testimony of others? The pessimist about moral testimony says not. But what is the source of the difficulty? Here pessimists have a choice. On the Unavailability view, moral testimony never makes knowledge available to the recipient. On Unusability accounts, although moral testimony can make knowledge available, some further norm renders it illegitimate to make use of the knowledge thus offered. I suggest that Unusability accounts provide th…Read more
  •  187
    Beauty and testimony
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 47 209-236. 2000.
    Kant claims that the judgement of taste, the judgement that some particular is beautiful, exhibits two ‘peculiarities’. First: [t]he judgement of taste determines its object in respect of delight with a claim to the agreement of every one , just as if it were objective
  •  1
    Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics (edited book)
    with Stephen Davies, Kathleen Marie Higgins, Robert Stecker, and David Cooper
    Wiley. 2009.
  •  86
    Imaginative Understanding, Affective Profiles, and the Expression of Emotion in Art
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (4): 363-374. 2017.
    R. G. Collingwood thought that to express emotion is to come to understand it and that this is something art can enable us to do. The understanding in question is distinct from that offered by emotion concepts. I attempt to defend a broadly similar position by drawing, as Collingwood does, on a broader philosophy of mind. Emotions and other affective states have a profile analogous to the sensory profiles exhibited by the things we perceive. Grasping that one's feeling exhibits such a profile is…Read more
  •  26
    Kant, Quasi‐Realism, and the Autonomy of Aesthetic Judgement
    European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2): 166-189. 2001.
    Aesthetic judgements are autonomous, as many other judgements are not: for the latter, but not the former, it is sometimes justifiable to change one’s mind simply because several others share a different opinion. Why is this? One answer is that claims about beauty are not assertions at all, but expressions of aesthetic response. However, to cover more than just some of the explananda, this expressivism needs combining with some analogue of cognitive command, i.e. the idea that disagreements over…Read more
  •  763
    How to Be a Pessimist about Aesthetic Testimony
    Journal of Philosophy 108 (3): 138-157. 2011.
    Is testimony a legitimate source of aesthetic belief? Can I, for instance, learn that a film is excellent on your say-so? Optimists say yes, pessimists no. But pessimism comes in two forms. One claims that testimony is not a legitimate source of aesthetic belief because it cannot yield aesthetic knowledge. The other accepts that testimony can be a source of aesthetic knowledge, yet insists that some further norm prohibits us from exploiting that resource. I argue that this second form of pessimi…Read more
  •  193
    Critical Reasoning and Critical Perception
    In Matthew Kieran & Dominic Lopes (eds.), Knowing Art, Springer. pp. 137-153. 2006.
    The outcome of criticism is a perception. Does this mean that criticism cannot count as a rational process? For it to do so, it seems it would have to be possible for there to be an argument for a perception. Yet perceptions do not seem to be the right sort of item to serve as the conclusions of arguments. Is this appearance borne out? I examine why perceptions might not be able to play that role, and explore what would have to be true of critical discourse for those obstacles to be circumvented…Read more
  •  246
    Kant, quasi-realism, and the autonomy of aesthetic judgement
    European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2). 2001.
    Aesthetic judgements are autonomous, as many other judgements are not: for the latter, but not the former, it is sometimes justifiable to change one's mind simply because several others share a different opinion. Why is this? One answer is that claims about beauty are not assertions at all, but expressions of aesthetic response. However, to cover more than just some of the explananda, this expressivism needs combining with some analogue of cognitive command, i.e. the idea that disagreements over…Read more
  •  53
    Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception (review)
    British Journal of Aesthetics 57 (3): 340-344. 2017.
  •  161
    Molyneux’s Question
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (3): 441-464. 2005.
    What philosophical issue or issues does Molyneux’s question raise? I concentrate on two. First, are there any properties represented in both touch and vision? Second, for any such common perceptible, is it represented in the same way in each, so that the two senses support a single concept of that property? I show that there is space for a second issue here, describe its precise relations to Molyneux’s question, and argue for its philosophical significance. I close by arguing that Gareth Evans …Read more
  •  335
    What is special about photographs? Traditional photography is, I argue, a system that sustains factive pictorial experience. Photographs sustain pictorial experience: we see things in them. Further, that experience is factive: if suchandsuch is seen in a photograph, then suchandsuch obtained when the photo was taken. More precisely, photographs are designed to sustain factive pictorial experience, and that experience is what we have when, in the photographic system as a whole, everything works a…Read more
  •  42
    With sight too much in mind, mind too little in sight?
    Philosophical Books 47 (4): 293-305. 2006.
    This is a critical notice of Colin McGinn's 'Mindsight'.
  •  849
    What is it for a film to be realistic? Of the many answers that have been proposed, I review five: that it is accurate and precise; that is has relatively few prominent formal features; that it is illusionistic; that it is transparent; and that, while plainly a moving picture, it looks to be a photographic recording, not of the actors and sets in fact filmed, but of the events narrated. The number and variety of these options raise a deeper question: what is realism, if these are all to count as…Read more
  •  115
    Touching pictures
    British Journal of Aesthetics 40 (1): 149-167. 2000.
    Congenitally blind people can make and understand ‘tactile pictures’ – representations form of raised ridges on flat surfaces. If made visible, these representations can serve as pictures for the sighted. Does it follow that we should take at face value the idea that they are pictures made for touch? I explore this question, and the related issue of the aesthetics of ‘tactile pictures’ by considering the role in both depiction and pictorial aesthetics of experience, and by asking how far the exp…Read more
  •  39
    Reproductive Prints as Aesthetic Surrogates
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (1): 11-21. 2015.
    Reproductive prints allow us to engage with the aesthetic/artistic character of the pictures that are their sources. But prints clearly differ from their sources in various striking ways. How, then, are they able to make engagement possible? I consider various answers. Most treat prints as acting as surrogates for the source: in sharing its aesthetic properties, in resembling it in overall aesthetic character, in being aesthetically transparent to it, or in allowing us to imagine its aesthetic c…Read more
  •  242
    Perspective, Convention and Compromise
    In Heiko Hecht, Margaret Atherton & Robert Schwartz (eds.), Looking Into Pictures: an interdisciplinary approach to pictorial space, Mit Press. pp. 145-165. 2003.
    What is special about picturing according to the rules of perspectival drawing systems? My answer is at once both radical and conciliatory. I think that depiction essentially involves a distinctive experience, an experience of resemblance. More precisely, the picture must be seen as preserving what Thomas Reid (Enquiry 1764) called the "visible figure" of what is represented. It follows from this, and from some other plausible premises, that if a picture is to depict detailed spatial arrangement…Read more
  •  2522
    Explaining depiction
    Philosophical Review 104 (3): 425-455. 1995.
    An account of depiction should explain its key features. I identify six: that depiction is from a point of view; that it represents its objects as having a visual appearance; that it depictive content is always reasonably detailed; that misrepresentation is possible, but only within limits; and that the ability to interpret depictions co-varies, given general competence with pictures, with knowledge of what the depicted objects look like. All this suggests that picturing works by capturing appea…Read more
  •  180
    What do we see in film?
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (2). 2008.
    Many films are made by a two-tier process: the photographing of events which themselves represent the story the film tells. The latter representation is often illusionistic. I explore two consequences. The first concerns what we see in film. I argue that we sometimes see in such films, not events representing the story told, but simply the events composing that story. The way is thereby opened to a unified aesthetic of film, whether made the two-tier way or not. The second consequence is that, s…Read more
  •  661
    Sculpture and Space
    In Matthew Kieran & Dominic Lopes (eds.), Imagination, Philosophy, and the Arts, Routledge. pp. 272-290. 2003.
    What is distinctive about sculpture as an artform? I argue that it is related to the space around it as painting and the other pictorial arts are not. I expound and develop Langer's suggestive comments on this issue, before asking what the major strengths and weaknesses of that position might be.
  •  106
    In a recent paper, I argue that Perky’s famous experiments do not show what they are often taken to show. Bence Nanay has criticised my argument on two grounds. I argue against both his lines of objection
  •  69
    Pictures and beauty
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 97 (2). 1997.
    What reasons are there to value pictures? I consider one: that pictures enable us to judge, and more than that to savour, the beauty (if any) of the objects they depict. I clarify and defend this claim, tentatively explore what might explain it, consider how far it might generalize beyond beauty to other features of aesthetic interest, and assess its importance for the aesthetics of pictures.