I am an assistant professor at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to this, I was at Brown doing postdoctoral research funded by SSHRC. I work on contemporary issues in value theory and aesthetics, and on the history of these fields. I have written on Kant’s aesthetics, particularly on his views on art here, on Kantian art criticism here, his take on music here, and the historical development of his views on beauty here. For further information, you can have a look at my CV, Phil Papers Profile,or Academia.edu Profile. I also post information on recent and upcoming talks, publications, and events here.
Currently, I am working on a book project. Ideas for the book manuscript grew out of my post-doctoral research. My central objective is to develop a better understanding of the bearing of ethical and aesthetic evaluations of artworks on one another through an examination of historical and contemporary approaches to the phenomenon of imaginative resistance, i.e. the inability or unwillingness to engage with the particular imaginative activities prompted by works of fiction. As with any new and rapidly growing area of research, there has been much disagreement and confusion among scholars. My aim is to provide an historical investigation of the phenomenon (particularly by focusing on Kant’s and Hume’s accounts) in order to clarify confusions within the imaginative resistance debate as well as to develop my own interpretation of the phenomenon. I am also writing the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on imaginative resistance.
Another project I am working on focuses on the effects of value on perception. I apply the account Susanna Siegel develops in the Rationality of Perception to the aesthetic domain and explore the implications of such an account for rethinking traditional problems in philosophical aesthetics. One’s prior outlook – expertise, beliefs, desires, fears, preferences – can have both aesthetically good and bad influences on perceptual experiences, just as it can have both epistemically good and bad influences. Analyzing these bad influences in cases of hijacked aesthetic perception reveals that, unless we recognize that our perception of high-level and low-level aesthetically relevant properties is itself aesthetically charged, we will be at a loss when it comes to explaining what goes wrong in these cases. I argue that, just as perception can be rational or irrational, so too can it be apt or inapt. I also think that applying Siegel’s problematization of hijacked experience and her solution to aesthetic cases allows us to demystify various issues in philosophical aesthetics, particularly the notions of aesthetic normativity, aesthetic value, and aesthetic engagement. Furthermore, I am very interested in exploring the practical implications this kind of account of aesthetic engagement might have for curatorial and exhibitionary practices.
You can reach me via email.