This explores the role of intention in interpreting designed artefacts. The relationship between how designers intend products to be interpreted and how they are subsequently interpreted has often been represented as a process of communication. However, such representations are attacked for allegedly implying that designers' intended meanings are somehow ‘contained’ in products and that those meanings are passively received by consumers. Instead, critics argue that consumers actively construct their own meanings as they engage with products, and therefore that designers' intentions (...) are not relevant to this process. In contrast, this article asserts the validity and utility of relating intention to interpretation by exploring the nature of that relationship in design practice and consumer response. Communicative perspectives on design are thereby defended and new avenues of empirical enquiry are proposed. (shrink)
The paper examines certain aspects of institutionalist definitions of art, in particular whether they are committed to ‘indexing’, whereby calling something art makes it art. It is argued that there is no such commitment and that institutionalist definitions need not abandon the idea that works of art become art for specific, and substantial, reasons. The question is how reasons can be accommodated. A proposal from defenders of ‘cluster theories’ is considered and rejected. Another proposal is advanced according to which the (...) reasons, which might change over time, are those acceptable within the artworld at any given time. The idea is explored and its merits identified. (shrink)
This paper draws on Philosophy and Art History to consider the relation of Conceptual Art to Modernism. It is sceptical of the justification that Conceptual Art arose out of some necessary poverty of the Modernist project.
This paper considers the account of the content of pictures provided by T.J. Clark. It concludes that Clark's account has many virtues, but is marred by an unjustified commitment to semiotics and to an untenable Marxist theory of explanation.
It is hard not to sympathise with Professor Honderich's starting point. It is easy to feel pessimistic about philosophy's ability to throw light on the nature of consciousness. What, then, to do? One option is to persist with the various current approaches. It is clear that Honderich thinks this would be akin to putting more effort into trying to work out the temporal priority of the chicken and the egg. The thought of the orthodox is that an account of consciousness (...) is going to be either fundamentally materialist or fundamentally dualist. The first of these is untenable as consciousness has other or more than neural properties. The second is untenable for various reasons, Honderich's favoured one being that it renders consciousness as out of space and of a mysterious nature. A second option would be to follow Colin McGinn's lead, and think that the problem is of such a nature that it is necessarily unsolvable (McGinn, 1989). Alternatively, we should be more radical and think creatively, not necessarily respecting our current conceptual boundaries between the mental and the physical, the inside and the outside. The solution, Honderich says, lies in the thought that `my consciousness now consists in the existence of a world' (Honderich, 2004, p. 130). I shall say a little about what I understand by this claim, by raising what I take to be three obvious questions, looking at Honderich's answers them, and inviting some further clarification. Throughout I will address only the question of perceptual consciousness. (shrink)
About the book: One of the issues underlying current debates between practitioners of art history, visual culture and aesthetics is whether the visual is a unique, irreducible category, or whether it can be assimilated with the textual or verbal without any significant loss. Can paintings, buildings or installations be 'read' in the way texts are read or deciphered, or do works of visual art ask for their own kind of appreciation? This is not only a question of choosing the right (...) method in dealing with visual works of art, but also an issue that touches on the roots of the disciplines involved: can a case be made for the visual as an irreducible category of art, and if so, how is it best studied and appreciated? In this anthology, this question is approached from the angles of three disciplines: aesthetics, visual culture and art history. Unlike many existing overviews of visual culture studies, it includes both painting and architecture, and investigates historical ways of defining and appreciating the visual in their own, contemporary terms. Dealing with the Visual will be of great use to advanced students because it offers an overview of current debates, and to graduate students and professionals in the field because the essays offer in-depth investigations of the methodological issues involved and various historical ways of defining visuality. The topics included range from early modern ways of viewing pictures and sixteenth-century views of Palladio's villas in their landscape settings to contemporary debate about whether there is life yet in painting. (shrink)
This paper considers the view, recently put forward by David Davies in Art and Performance , that works of art should be identified with the generative performances that result in the object, rather than with the object. It attempts to disarm two of Davies arguments by, first, providing a criterion by which the contextualist can accommodate all and only the relevant generative properties as properties of the work, and, second, providing an alternative explanation for his modal intuitions. Finally, it draws (...) attention to Davies’ difficulties in providing a clear criterion for the identity of the work of art. (shrink)
About the book: Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art features pairs of newly commissioned essays by some of the leading theorists working in the field today. Brings together fresh debates on eleven of the most controversial issues in aesthetics and the philosophy of art Topics addressed include the nature of beauty, aesthetic experience, artistic value, and the nature of our emotional responses to art. Each question is treated by a pair of opposing essays written by eminent scholars, (...) and especially commissioned for the volume. Lively debate format sharply defines the issues, and paves the way for further discussion. Will serve as an accessible introduction to the major topics in aesthetics, while also capturing the imagination of professional philosophers. (shrink)
Jerrold Levinson maintains that he is a realist about aesthetic properties. This paper considers his positive arguments for such a view. An argument from Roger Scruton, that aesthetic realism would entail the absurd claim that many aesthetic predicates were ambiguous, is also considered and it is argued that Levinson is in no worse position with respect to this argument than anyone else. However, Levinson cannot account for the phenomenon of aesthetic autonomy: namely, that we cannot be put in a position (...) to make an aesthetic judgement by testimony alone. Finally, Levinson's views on the ontology of aesthetic properties are considered and found wanting. (shrink)
This article criticises existing solutions to the 'puzzle of imaginative resistance', reconstrues it, and offers a solution of its own. About the Book : Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts is the first comprehensive collection of papers by philosophers examining the nature of imagination and its role in understanding and making art. Imagination is a central concept in aesthetics with close ties to issues in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language, yet it has not received the kind of (...) sustained, critical attention it deserves. This collection of seventeen brand new essays critically examines just how and in what form the notion of imagination illuminates fundamental problems in the philosophy of art. (shrink)
This paper joins recent attempts to defend a notion of aesthetic experience. It argues that phenomenological facts and facts about aesthetic value support the Kantian notion that aesthetic experience lies between, but differs from, pleasures of the agreeable and pleasures stemming from cognitions. It then shows that accounts by Beardsley, Levinson, and Savile fail to resolve clear tensions that surface in attempting to characterize such an experience. An account of aesthetic experience—as involving experienced cognitions that are the bearers of value—is (...) presented. The paper ends on a sceptical note as to whether aesthetic experience can be clearly delimited. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive collection of influential essays that present a balanced survey of the major ideas that have come out of this area of study in the last two decades. Each article has been carefully chosen to enable any student of political philosophy to grasp the main debates within the topic. Clearly divided into two parts, Part One deals with fundamental philosophical issues: the nature of social explanation; distributive justice and liberalism and communitarianism. Part Two contains seminal papers (...) in more specific areas: citizenship and multiculturalism; nationalism; democracy and criminal justice. Readings from the following thinkers are included: Lukes, Nozick, Rawls, Parekh, Walzer, Elster, Frankfurt, Gutmann, Barry, Duff, Cohen, Parfit, Taylor, Scruton, von Hirsch, Wright, Sandel, Young, MacIntyre. The readings represent a range of views and demonstrate the richness of the philosophical contribution to political thought. Each section has an introduction by the editors that situates the papers in the ongoing debate and Further Reading sections feature at the end of each chapter. (shrink)
Matravers examines how emotions form the bridge between our experience of art and of life. We often find that a particular poem, painting, or piece of music carries an emotional charge; and we may experience emotions toward, or on behalf of, a particular fictional character. Matravers shows that what these experiences have in common, and what links them to the expression of emotion in non-artistic cases, is the role played by feeling. He carries out a critical survey of various accounts (...) of the nature of fiction, attacks contemporary cognitivist accounts of expression, and offers an uncompromising defense of a controversial view about musical expression: that music works by expressing the emotions it causes its listeners to feel. (shrink)
This paper is a response to that of Christopher New. It argues that New has no alternative to an earlier solution I proposed to the problem of specifying the content of a fiction fails, as his solution is in terms of facts external to the game of make-believe being played, while mine was internal. It argues that understanding fiction is only a special case of understanding representation, which can be given a Gricean analysis. It proposes that the inferences crucial to (...) our understanding should be those we think reasonable of the world of the fiction. (shrink)