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.
If possible worlds are conjunctions of states of affairs, as in David Armstrong’s combinatorial theory, then is the empty world to be thought of as the null conjunction of states of affairs? The proposal seems plausible, and has received support from David Efird, Tom Stoneham, and Armstrong himself. However, in this paper, it is argued that the proposal faces a trilemma: either it leads to the absurd conclusion that the actual world is empty; or it reduces to a familiar representation (...) of the empty world in which the concept of a null conjunction plays no role; or it needs to make room for the null individual of certain non-classical mereologies. (shrink)
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 (...) the goal of restoration? Second, how can this goal be achieved, in other words, what are the means that a restorer can legitimately make use of? In this paper, I formulate, and defend, a principle that answers these questions. Although the principle may sound platitudinous, it has been contradicted by prominent philosophers and by important organizations concerned with conservation. Moreover, defending the principle turns out to be impossible without touching on such vexed philosophical issues as the ontology and identity of artworks, as well as the nature of perceptual and aesthetic properties (including the nature of artistic value). (shrink)
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 (...) research on stereotype threat; and (6) the relatively small number of articles written from a feminist perspective in leading philosophy journals. In each case, we find that proponents of the discrimination hypothesis have tended to present evidence selectively. Occasionally they have even presented as evidence what appears to be something more dubious. (shrink)
One of the oldest platitudes about beauty is that it is pleasant to perceive or experience. In this article, I take this platitude at face value and try to explain why experiences of beauty are seemingly always accompanied by pleasure. Unlike explanations that have been offered in the past, the explanation proposed is designed to suit a “realist” view on which beauty is an irreducibly evaluative property, that is, a value. In a nutshell, the explanation is that experiences of beauty (...) are experiences in which it appears that something is beautiful, and that such experiences are identical to experiences of aesthetic pleasure. (shrink)
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 (...) second, how can these best approximations be found? In answering these questions, we both rely on and constructively criticize ground-breaking work done by Timothy Williamson. Guiding ideas of our approach are that we allow approximations by means of overlapping equivalence-relations, and that closeness of approximation is measured in terms of the number of mistakes made by the approximation when compared to the obvious candidate criterion. (shrink)
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 (...) the structure of being garish and being cacophonous. Finally, an explanation is given of how the issue of the structure of aesthetic properties bears on their reality and (presumed) response-dependence. (shrink)
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 (...) with but is actually implied by the second, given a plausible physical assumption. (shrink)
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, (...) suggests that Pearl’s logic is either too weak or too strong. (shrink)
Modern buildings do not easily harmonize with other buildings, regardless of whether the latter are also modern. This often-observed fact has not received a satisfactory explanation. To improve on existing explanations, this article first generalizes one of Ortega y Gasset’s observations concerning modern fine art, and then develops a metaphysics of styles that is inspired by work in the philosophy of biology. The resulting explanation is that modern architecture is incapable of developing patterns that facilitate harmonizing, because such patterns would (...) humanize buildings and modern architecture is a homeostatic property cluster with a dehumanizing motive at its core. (shrink)
Libertarian philosopher Michael Huemer has argued recently that there is a prima facie right to immigrate, and, moreover, that concerns people have about the effects of immigration are not strong enough to neutralize or override this prima facie right. In this paper, I focus on one particular concern that Huemer deems insufficiently strong to neutralize or override the prima facie right to immigrate, namely, the concern that unrestricted immigration poses a threat to one’s culture. I argue that Huemer fails to (...) show that the concern is insufficiently strong. (shrink)
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'.
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.
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. (...) Very briefly, the argument for the second part of the conclusion is that we can account for all the data adduced by Scruton in favour of his hypothesis by means of hypotheses that are far less daring. (shrink)
This survey chapter focuses on two questions concerning the nature of beauty. First, can “beauty” be defined, and if so, how? Second, what is the relation between beauty and the mind; for example, between being beautiful and being judged beautiful, or between being beautiful and being the object of pleasure?
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.
This article is a reply to Dominic McIver Lopes, 'Shikinen Sengu and the Ontology of Architecture in Japan,' published in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 65 (2007). The reply explains how the standard ontology of architecture is able to accommodate Japanese shrines such as Ise Jingu.
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 (...) properly developed by Strawson, and secondly, it seemed vulnerable to an objection that he himself raised against it. Consequently, the paper’s aim is to further develop Strawson’s suggestion, and to show that the result is not vulnerable to the objection that seemed fatal to its underdeveloped predecessor. In addition, the paper aims to defend Locke’s Principle against alleged counterexamples such as those produced by Leibniz, Fine and Hughes. (shrink)
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. -/- .
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.
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 (...) a beautiful K and also a K', but not a beautiful K'. Examples of multifunctional artefacts show that this is indeed a possibility. However, that multifunctional artefacts are unique in this respect will be demonstrated by a more principled argument, taking into account the nature of functions on the one hand, and the nature of artefact-classification on the other hand. (shrink)
This is a critical discussion of Nick Zangwill’s Aesthetic Creation Theory of Art, as presented in his book Aesthetic Creation. The discussion focuses on two questions: first, whether the notion of art implied by Zangwill’s theory is at once too wide and too narrow; second, whether Zangwill is right about the persistence conditions of works of art.
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 (...) conclusion contradicts what Parsons and Carlson write about functional beauty, but the first conclusion does not, since they agree that looking fit is not necessary for functional beauty. However, their agreement on this point is based on reasons that can be shown to be mistaken. Moreover, contrary to what Parsons and Carlson claim, looking fit can also be shown to be insufficient for functional beauty. (shrink)
This chapter offers a new solution to the paradox of negative emotion in art. Crucial to the defense of this new solution is the normative sense of predicates such as 'is moving', 'is touching', 'is powerful', and 'is gripping'. Roughly, the solution itself is that, in their normative sense, these predicates designate aesthetic properties that we enjoy and value experiencing, even tough, in the cases which generate the paradox, the enjoyment comes at a price.
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 (...) have knowledge of past whereabouts, and so verify the right hand side of Locke’s Principle, without having to assess concrete identity claims first; (ii) that even under conditions of incomplete knowledge of past whereabouts we can use Locke’s Principle to decide concrete identity problems. (shrink)
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 (...) with one and the same building type having a different significance in different cultures. (shrink)
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 (...) either the causal or the counterfactual criterion because, given a sufficiently lax principle of event composition, neither criterion can be applied to complex events. This we regard as a (prima facie) undesirable restriction on their applicability. (shrink)
The debate about cinematic motion revolves around the question of whether the movement of cinematic images is real. That the movement we perceive in film should be construed as the movement of images is taken for granted. But this is a mistake. There is no reason to suppose that cinematic images of moving objects are themselves perceived to be moving. All that is necessary is to perceive these images as continuously changing images of one and the same object.
In this article, I argue that our ontology of art has undergone a major change in the course of modern history. While we currently think of artworks as parts arranged in a certain way, there was a time when artworks were thought of as metaphysically more akin to ordinary artefacts such as tables and chairs; that is, as wholes having replaceable parts. This change in our ontology of art is reflected in our approach to art restoration. But what explains the (...) change? I will suggest that the change took place because of a change in our conception of the function of art. More specifically, I will suggest that we have started to think of artworks as parts arranged in a certain way, because we have started to think of artworks as having, primarily, an aesthetic function. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on three questions concerning the aesthetic properties of music: What determines whether a musical piece has a certain aesthetic property? Is music capable of having emotional properties such as sadness? And are there aesthetic properties that music is incapable of having?
It has been argued (for example, by Nelson Goodman and John Hyman) that ‘depicts’ and similar terms such as ‘is a picture of’ and ‘represents’ are semantically ambiguous: sometimes they are two-place predicates expressing a relation, and sometimes they are not. This article takes issue with this claim and develops an alternative theory according to which the ambiguity in question is pragmatic rather than semantic.
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 (...) assumption that rightness of proportion is relative to a point of view. The paper ends by arguing that either the real or the apparent proportions of a building have to be definitely right, and that neither can be allowed to be definitely wrong. (shrink)
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.].
In this chapter, I explain why cultural preservation is important, and in particular, why it is important enough to justify immigration restrictions. I also attempt to explain why one rarely encounters this type of argument in philosophy.
The aim of this chapter is to understand how sortals determine what aesthetic properties an object has. It is argued that Frank Sibley’s notion of an ideal of beauty does not help us to achieve that aim. Instead, it is argued, the special aesthetic relevance of sortals is better understood by reference to the (non-aesthetic) ideas of normality and functionality associated with sortals. In passing, the paper also argues that there must be a maximum degree of beauty if non-comparative judgments (...) of beauty are possible, as they seem to be. (shrink)