• Street Art: The Transfiguration of the Commonplaces
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (3): 243-257. 2010.
    According to Arthur Danto, post-modern or post-historical art began when artists like Andy Warhol collapsed the Modern distinction between art and everyday life by bringing “the everyday” into the artworld. I begin by pointing out that there is another way to collapse this distinction: bring art out of the artworld and into everyday life. An especially effective way of doing this is to make street art, which, I argue, is art whose meaning depends on its use of the street. I defend this definitio…Read more
  • What is Abstraction in Photography?
    British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (4): 385-400. 2018.
    There is confusion about what counts as abstraction in photography: art theorists class very different kinds of photographs as abstract, and common philosophical views of photography, if true, should cause us to doubt their very possibility. I address two questions here: ‘What is Abstraction?’ and ‘What is Abstraction in Photography?’ To the answer the second, I briefly consider a third: ‘What is Photography?’ so that the resulting account is not undermined by a poor theory of photography. In an…Read more
  • Valuing and believing valuable
    Robbie Kubala
    Analysis 77 (1): 59-65. 2017.
    Many philosophers recognize that, as a matter of psychological fact, one can believe something valuable without valuing it. I argue that it is also possible to value something without believing it valuable. Agents can genuinely value things that they neither believe disvaluable nor believe valuable along a scale of impersonal value.
  • Levinson on the Aesthetic Ideal
    Nicholas Riggle
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (3): 277-281. 2013.
    In “Artistic Worth and Personal Taste,” Jerrold Levinson develops a problem for those who think we should strive to be “ideal critics” in our aesthetic lives. He then offers several solutions to this problem. I argue that his solutions miss the mark and that the problem he characterizes may not be genuine after all.
  • Art and painful emotion
    Philosophy Compass 14 (1). 2019.
    This essay updates Aaron Smuts', 2009 Philosophy Compass piece, “Art and Negative Affect” in light of recent work on the topic. The “paradox of painful art” is the general problem of how it is possible to enjoy or value experiences of art that involve painful emotions. It encompasses both the paradox of tragedy and the paradox of horror. Section 2 lays out a taxonomy of solutions to the paradox of painful art and argues that we should opt for a pluralistic approach rather than seeking a unified …Read more
  • Games: Agency as Art
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Games occupy a unique and valuable place in our lives. Game designers do not simply create worlds; they design temporary selves. Game designers set what our motivations are in the game and what our abilities will be. Thus: games are the art form of agency. By working in the artistic medium of agency, games can offer a distinctive aesthetic value. They support aesthetic experiences of deciding and doing. And the fact that we play games shows something remarkable about us. Our agency is more fluid…Read more
  • Hume and the Value of the Beautiful
    British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (2): 213-222. 2011.
    Hume is plausibly interpreted as asserting that an artwork is beautiful if and only if it pleases ideal critics. Jerrold Levinson maintains that Hume's commitment to this biconditional gives rise to a problem that occurs neither to Hume nor to his any of his interpreters—the problem of explaining why you should care what pleases ideal critics if you are not one yourself. I argue that this problem arises only if you hold an empiricist theory of aesthetic value—that is, a theory that reduces the a…Read more
  • The Default Theory of Aesthetic Value
    British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (1): 1-12. 2019.
    The default theory of aesthetic value combines hedonism about aesthetic value with strict perceptual formalism about aesthetic value, holding the aesthetic value of an object to be the value it has in virtue of the pleasure it gives strictly in virtue of its perceptual properties. A standard theory of aesthetic value is any theory of aesthetic value that takes the default theory as its theoretical point of departure. This paper argues that standard theories fail because they theorize from the de…Read more