Rafael De Clercq Lingnan University
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  • Faculty, Lingnan University
  • PhD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 2002.

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  1. Rafael de Clercq, Aesthetic Properties.
    Paradigmatic aesthetic properties include beauty, elegance, gracefulness, harmony, balance, loveliness, prettiness, handsomeness, and unity, as well as their negative counterparts, for example, ugliness, clumsiness and disunity. The book investigates the nature, reality, and structure(s) of these properties. It also focuses on special cases such as rightness of architectural proportion, musical beauty, functional beauty, and the aesthetic properties that are responsible for our interest in ‘painful art’ (horror and tragedy). [Manuscript is currently undergoing revision.].
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  2. Rafael De Clercq (2014). The Critical Imagination, by James Grant. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):208-209.
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  3. Rafael De Clercq (2014). Building Plans as Natural Symbols. Architecture Philosophy 1 (1):61-78.
    Carroll William Westfall has claimed that building types can serve as natural symbols of (the purposes served by) activities such as venerating, celebrating, trading, and dwelling. The aim of this paper is to interpret Westfall’s claim in a way that makes it non-trivial and yet worthy of further investigation. In particular, an attempt is made to explain the connection between building types and what they symbolize without appealing to convention. The question is also answered whether a non-conventional connection is compatible (...)
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  4. Rafael De Clercq, Wai-Yin Lam & Jiji Zhang (2014). Is There a Problem with the Causal Criterion of Event Identity? American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (2):109-119.
    In this paper, we take another look at the reasons for which the causal criterion of event identity has been abandoned. We argue that the reasons are not strong. First of all, there is a criterion in the neighborhood of the causal criterion—the counterfactual criterion—that is not vulnerable to any of the putative counterexamples brought up in the literature. Secondly, neither the causal criterion nor the counterfactual criterion suffers from any form of vicious circularity. Nonetheless, we do not recommend adopting (...)
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  5. Neven Sesardic & Rafael De Clercq (2014). Women in Philosophy: Problems with the Discrimination Hypothesis. Academic Questions 27 (4):461-473.
    A number of philosophers attribute the underrepresentation of women in philosophy largely to bias against women or some kind of wrongful discrimination. They cite six sources of evidence to support their contention: (1) gender disparities that increase along the path from undergraduate student to full time faculty member; (2) anecdotal accounts of discrimination in philosophy; (3) research on gender bias in the evaluation of manuscripts, grants, and curricula vitae in other academic disciplines; (4) psychological research on implicit bias; (5) psychological (...)
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  6. Rafael De Clercq (2013). Locke's Principle is an Applicable Criterion of Identity. Noûs 47 (4):697-705.
    According to Locke’s Principle, material objects are identical if and only if they are of the same kind and once occupy the same place at the same time. There is disagreement about whether this principle is true, but what is seldom disputed is that, even if true, the principle fails to constitute an applicable criterion of identity. In this paper, I take issue with two arguments that have been offered in support of this claim by arguing (i) that we can (...)
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  7. Rafael De Clercq (2013). Reflections on a Sofa Bed: Functional Beauty and Looking Fit. Journal of Aesthetic Education 47 (2):35-48.
    This essay argues for two conclusions about functional beauty, as this notion has been understood by Parsons and Carlson in a recent book by the same name. First of all, it is argued that functional beauty either is not a distinct kind of beauty or that the members of this kind are not all and only instances of the property of looking fit. Second, it is argued that functional beauty is relative only to categories corresponding to essential functions. The second (...)
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  8. Rafael De Clercq (2013). The Metaphysics of Art Restoration. British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (3):261-275.
    Art restorations often give rise to controversy, and the reason does not always seem to be a lack of skill or dedication on the side of the restorer. Rather, in some of the most famous cases, the reason seems to be a lack of agreement on basic principles. In particular, there seems to be a lack of agreement on how the following two questions are to be answered. First, what is art restoration supposed to achieve, in other words, what is (...)
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  9. Jiji Zhang, Wai-Yin Lam & Rafael De Clercq (2013). A Peculiarity in Pearl's Logic of Interventionist Counterfactuals. Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (5):783-794.
    We examine a formal semantics for counterfactual conditionals due to Judea Pearl, which formalizes the interventionist interpretation of counterfactuals central to the interventionist accounts of causation and explanation. We show that a characteristic principle validated by Pearl’s semantics, known as the principle of reversibility, states a kind of irreversibility: counterfactual dependence (in David Lewis’s sense) between two distinct events is irreversible. Moreover, we show that Pearl’s semantics rules out only mutual counterfactual dependence, not cyclic dependence in general. This, we argue, (...)
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  10. Rafael de Clercq (2012). On Some Putative Graph-Theoretic Counterexamples to the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. Synthese 187 (2):661-672.
    Recently, several authors have claimed to have found graph-theoretic counterexamples to the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. In this paper, I argue that their counterexamples presuppose a certain view of what unlabeled graphs are, and that this view is optional at best.
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  11. Rafael de Clercq (2011). Modern Architecture and the Concept of Harmony. British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (1):69-79.
    The aim of this paper is to achieve a better understanding of why modern buildings do not easily harmonize with one another. After proposing, and defending, an analysis of the concept of architectural harmony, the paper turns to three possible views on whether we can expect more harmony from modern architecture in the future.
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  12. Rafael De Clercq (2009). Scruton on Rightness of Proportion in Architecture. British Journal of Aesthetics 49 (4):405-414.
    In The Aesthetics of Architecture, Roger Scruton makes at least four claims about rightness of architectural proportion. The present paper lists those claims, briefly discusses the way they are related, and, finally, selects one as the topic of discussion: the claim that there cannot be an exact, mathematical definition of rightness of proportion. Scruton’s arguments for this claim are reviewed. The first is found to be substantially correct, whereas the second is found to rely on a mistaken assumption, namely the (...)
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  13. Rafael De Clercq (2008). Lopes on the Ontology of Japanese Shrines. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (2):193–194.
  14. Rafael De Clercq (2008). The Structure of Aesthetic Properties. Philosophy Compass 3 (5):894-909.
    Aesthetic properties are often thought to have either no evaluative component or an evaluative component that can be isolated from their descriptive component. The present article argues that this popular view is without adequate support. First, doubt is cast on the idea that some paradigmatic aesthetic properties are purely descriptive. Second, the idea that the evaluative component of an aesthetic property can always be neatly separated from its descriptive component is called into question. Meanwhile, a speculative hypothesis is launched regarding (...)
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  15. Rafael De Clercq (2007). A Note on the Aesthetics of Mirror Reversal. Philosophical Studies 132 (3):553 - 563.
    According to Roy Sorensen [Philosophical Studies 100 (2000) 175–191] an object cannot differ aesthetically from its mirror image. On his view, mirror-reversing an object – changing its left/right orientation – cannot bring about any aesthetic change. However, in arguing for this thesis Sorensen assumes that aesthetic properties supervene on intrinsic properties alone. This is a highly controversial assumption and nothing is offered in its support. Moreover, a plausible weakening of the assumption does not improve the argument. Finally, Sorensen’s second argument (...)
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  16. Rafael De Clercq (2007). Melody and Metaphorical Movement. British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (2):156-168.
    In recent issues of this journal, Roger Scruton and Malcolm Budd have debated the question whether hearing a melody in a sequence of sounds necessarily involves an ‘unasserted thought’ about spatial movement. According to Scruton, the answer is ‘yes’; according to Budd, the answer is ‘no’. The conclusion of this paper is that, while Budd may have underestimated the viability of Scruton's thesis in one of its possible interpretations, there is no good reason to assume that the thesis is true. (...)
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  17. Rafael De Clercq (2006). Presentism and the Problem of Cross-Time Relations. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):386-402.
    Presentism is the view that only present entities exist. Recently, several authors have asked the question whether presentism is able to account for cross-time relations, i.e., roughly, relations between entities existing at different times. In this paper I claim that this question is to be answered in the affirmative. To make this claim plausible, I consider four types of cross-time relation and show how each can be accommodated without difficulty within the metaphysical framework of presentism.
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  18. Rafael De Clercq (2005). A Criterion of Diachronic Identity Based on Locke's Principle. Metaphysica 6 (1):23-38.
    The aim of this paper is to derive a perfectly general criterion of identity through time from Locke’s Principle, which says that two things of the same kind cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In this way, the paper pursues a suggestion made by Peter F. Strawson almost thirty years ago in an article called ‘Entity and Identity’. The reason why the potential of this suggestion has so far remained unrealized is twofold: firstly, the suggestion was never (...)
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  19. Rafael de Clercq (2005). Aesthetic Terms, Metaphor, and the Nature of Aesthetic Properties. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (1):27–32.
    The paper argues that an important class of aesthetic terms cannot be used as metaphors because it is impossible to commit a category mistake with them. It then uses this fact to provide a general definition of 'aesthetic property'.
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  20. Rafael De Clercq (2005). The Aesthetic Peculiarity of Multifunctional Artefacts. British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (4):412-425.
    Echoing a distinction made by David Wiggins in his discussion of the relation of identity, this paper investigates whether aesthetic adjectives such as ‘beautiful’ are sortal-relative or merely sortal-dependent. The hypothesis guiding the paper is that aesthetic adjectives, though probably sortal-dependent in general, are sortal-relative only when used to characterize multifunctional artefacts. This means that multifunctional artefacts should be unique in allowing the following situation to occur: for some object x there are sortals K and K' such that x is (...)
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  21. Rafael De Clercq & Leon Horsten (2005). Closer. Synthese 146 (3):371 - 393.
    Criteria of identity should mirror the identity relation in being reflexive, symmetrical, and transitive. However, this logical requirement is only rarely met by the criteria that we are most inclined to propose as candidates. The present paper addresses the question how such obvious candidates are best approximated by means of relations that have all of the aforementioned features, i.e., which are equivalence relations. This question divides into two more basic questions. First, what is to be considered a ‘best’ approximation. And (...)
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  22. Rafael De Clercq (2004). The Legitimacy of Modern Architecture. Philosophical Forum 35 (2):135–146.
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  23. Rafael de Clercq & Leon Horsten (2004). Perceptual Indiscriminability: In Defence of Wright's Proof. Philosophical Quarterly 54 (216):439-444.
    A series of unnoticeably small changes in an observable property may add up to a noticeable change. Crispin Wright has used this fact to prove that perceptual indiscriminability is a non-transitive relation. Delia Graff has recently argued that there is a 'tension' between Wright's assumptions. But Graff has misunderstood one of these, that 'phenomenal continua' are possible; and the other, that our powers of discrimination are finite, is sound. If the first assumption is properly understood, it is not in tension (...)
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  24. Raf De Clercq & Paul Cortois (2002). Autographic and Allographic Aspects of Ritual. Philosophia 29 (1-4):133-147.
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  25. Rafael De Clercq (2002). The Concept of an Aesthetic Property. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (2):167–176.
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  26. Rafael de Clercq (2002). Two Conceptions of Response-Dependence. Philosophical Studies 107 (2):159-177.
    The traditional conception of response-dependence isinadequate because it cannot account for all intuitivecases of response-dependence. In particular, it is unableto account for the response-dependence of (aesthetic, moral, epistemic ...) values. I therefore propose tosupplement the traditional conception with an alternativeone. My claim is that only a combination of the twoconceptions is able to account for all intuitivecases of response-dependence.
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  27. Rafael De Clercq (2000). Aesthetic Ineffability. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (8-9):87-97.
    In this paper I argue that recent attempts at explaining aesthetic ineffability have been unsuccessful. Either they misrepresent what aesthetic ineffability consists in, or they leave important aspects of it unexplained. I then show how a more satisfying account might be developed, once a distinction is made between two kinds of awareness.
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