Welcome back to a new year at Aesthetics for Birds!
This year will bring all sorts of new things for the blog, but the most exciting is that we have five new collaborators! With these philosophers on board, we will be able to provide you with much broader, more diverse, and more frequent content. Other changes and new features will accompany this addition, but first the introductions.
For those of you who are new to AFB, I will begin by introducing myself and Rebecca. (For more about AFB, visit our About page.)
Alex King (Editor-in-Chief and Contributor; handles: aestheticsforbirds*, alexforbirds)
Alex (that’s me) owns and is editor-in-chief of AFB. She is currently Assistant Professor at University at Buffalo (= SUNY Buffalo). Her research concerns the relationships among practical, moral, and aesthetic normativity. She also works on ‘ought implies can’ and issues surrounding high and low art (see her post on this topic), but likes thinking about all sorts of different issues across aesthetics and art.
Rebecca Victoria Millsop (Assistant Editor and Contributor; handle: rebeccavictoriamillsop)
Rebecca recently received her PhD from MIT’s philosophy department and is now happily employed as a lecturer at the University of Rhode Island. Her research interests include aesthetics and philosophy of art, metaphysics, philosophical logic, philosophy of food, and the work of Immanuel Kant. She’s especially interested in the normative primacy of aesthetic experience in explaining the metaphysical nature of art. She is both an academic and an artist, maintaining an artistic practice focused on non-representative, sculptural painting.
Next, our newest assistant editor and contributor:
C Thi Nguyen (Assistant Editor and Contributor; handle: rorschah)
Thi is Assistant Professor at Utah Valley University. He wrote his dissertation at UCLA on moral epistemology and the epistemology of disagreement. He works right now includes social epistemology and value epistemology, including work on the nature of echo chambers. Philosophical interests include issues in the objectivity of aesthetic judgment, and the nature and purpose of aesthetic criticism. His current research interest is developing an aesthetics of games. He’s a founding editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Games. His most recent publication in aesthetics was The Uses of Aesthetic Testimony, which was really about all the ways we have to trust each other in our aesthetic lives. Also check out this recent essay on the aesthetics of rock climbing. For his complete publications, see here.
And last, but definitely not least, are our four new contributors:
Roy T. Cook (Contributor; handle: roytcook)
Roy is CLA Scholar of the College and John M. Dolan Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He works primarily in the philosophy of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of (especially popular) art – sometimes all at once. He is the author of The Yablo Paradox: An Essay on Circularity (Oxford 2014) and Key Concepts in Philosophy: Paradoxes (Polity 2013); the editor of The Arche Papers on the Mathematics of Abstraction (Springer 2007); and co-editor of The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley-Blackwell 2012, w/ Aaron Meskin), The Routledge Companion to Comics (Routledge 2016, w/ Frank Bramlett & Aaron Meskin), and LEGO and Philosophy: Constructing Reality Brick by Brick (Wiley-Blackwell 2017, w/ Sondra Bacharach). He enjoys thinking seriously about the art forms he engaged with as a teenager: video games, punk rock, superhero comics, tattoos, and LEGO. [ed. note: If you don’t get enough of him here at AFB, check out his regular column “Paradoxes and Puzzles” at the Oxford University Press blog.]
Nick Stang (Contributor; handle: nickstang)
Nick Stang lives in the great, cold city of Toronto, Ontario, where he’s an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He spends most of his non-aesthetics time thinking about metaphysics – what it is, how it might be possible – mainly from the perspective of Kant and Hegel. He recently wrote a book about Kant. In aesthetics, he has very wide ranging interests. Unsurprisingly, he is acutely interested in what various Dead Germans thought about art: Kant, Hegel, Gadamer, Heidegger, and others. But he’s also interested in more contemporary discussions about the value of art and aesthetic experience. The artforms he’s engaged with most in his life are novels, operas, movies, and long-form TV, so he expects to be talking about them a lot on AFB. His fondest wish is to be Stanley Cavell.
Matt Strohl (Contributor; handle: strohltopia)
Matt is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Montana, and he specializes in Ancient Greek philosophy and aesthetics. Much of his research has centered on Aristotle’s theory of pleasure and Ancient Greek theories of pleasure in general. He’s also extremely interested in film, television, food, and music, and these interests have motivated and shaped his approach to aesthetics. He’s been working on questions about horror, negative emotional response to art, moralist critiques of rap, food authenticity, and the normative implications of cultural appropriation (in collaboration with Thi Nguyen). Recently he’s started thinking about genre and its role as an enabling condition for creativity and artistic achievement. [ed. note: If you don’t get enough of him here at AFB, you can check out his blog, which contains mostly his thoughts about TV and movies – for instance, his recent post “55 Nicolas Cage Performances, Ranked by Cage Factor”.)
Mary Beth Willard (Contributor; handle: mbwillard)
Mary Beth [ed. note: no hyphen!] is Associate Professor at Weber State University, which is in Ogden, Utah. Her main areas of research are in metaphysics, including work on simplicity, and aesthetics, where she has broad interests but writes about street art and public art. (AOS: plainly needs to focus.) She loves the philosophical community that’s developed in aesthetics, as it’s one of the most welcoming, creative, and fun groups in the discipline.
We’re all looking forward to engaging more with you and providing you with lots of cool and interesting stuff to think about. And as always, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*A note about handles: “aestheticsforbirds” is the blog’s main handle, not Alex’s personal one. Look for things like announcements, links, guest posts, and anything not written by a contributor (for example, entries in our 100 x 100 x 100 series).