Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

July 25, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds

Are There No Fictional Truths?

What follows is a guest post by Roy T. Cook. Roy is an extremely nerdy associate professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, a resident fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and an associate fellow of the Northern Institute of Philosophy – Aberdeen, Scotland. He has published over fifty articles and book chapters on logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of art (especially popular art). He co-edited The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley-Blackwell 2012) with Aaron Meskin, and his monograph on the Yablo Paradox is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. He is also a co-founder of the interdisciplinary comics studies blog PencilPanelPage, which recently took up residence at the Hooded Utilitarian, and hopes to someday write a book about the Sensational She-Hulk. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife, two cats (Freckles and Mr. Prickley), and approximately 2.5 million LEGO bricks. Standard approaches … Continue reading

May 15, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds

Catharine Abell Asks Some Silly Questions

What follows is a guest post by Catharine Abell. Catharine is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at The University of Manchester. She has published work on various topics in aesthetics, including pictorial representation, the nature of art, expression in art, and genre. She is currently trying to develop solutions to a range of philosophical problems posed by fiction. In this post, I want to discuss how we should understand the content of works of fiction. Their content is philosophically puzzling because, to understand a work of fiction, one must usually do more than just grasp its literal content. A fiction may implicitly convey, rather than explicitly represent, some aspects of its content. Let us call the literal content of a work of fiction its explicit representational content. Let us call the content of the story told by a work of fiction “what is true according to the fiction”. What is true according … Continue reading

October 1, 2013
by utahphilosoraptor

Imagination, Transportation, and Moral Persuasion

What follows is a guest post by M. B. Willard, a metaphysician with an aesthetics problem. She is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Weber State University. Imagine becoming adrift in a novel in the way often described by avid readers: You’ve become lost in the book. Perhaps you’ve become so engrossed that your coffee grows cold, neglected on the table beside you. Perhaps you’ve lost track of time, to be startled when the clock chimes. Perhaps the story is deeply sad, and you spend the rest of the day in a mild malaise. Perhaps the story’s protagonist struggled in abject poverty, and you come away believing that while of course the story is made up, people really do live like that, and you resolve to increase your annual contributions to charity. (Or perhaps you watched Star Trek; you spend the rest of the day mildly keyed up against injustice, and rebuke … Continue reading

September 21, 2013
by Aesthetics for Birds

Alief and Knowledge from Fiction

What follows is a guest post by Allan Hazlett. Allan is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, having worked previously for Texas Tech and Fordham Universities. He’s the author of A Luxury of the Understanding: On the Value of True Belief (Oxford University Press, 2013) and A Critical Introduction to Skepticism (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).  His research interests include the value of accurate representation, the value and nature of intellectual virtue, authenticity, testimony, knowledge attributions, and the cognitive value of fiction. Everyone, except for Plato, agrees that you can acquire knowledge through engagement with narrative fictions, including knowledge about things other than the form and content of the relevant fiction.  And there seem to be several species of knowledge from fiction.  Testimonial knowledge from fiction is acquired when a fiction makes a claim about the actual world, by exploiting (contextual and genre-relative) conversational assumptions about the similarity between the fictional world and the actual … Continue reading