aesthetics at ubc
The Philosophy Department at the University of British Columbia is home to a lively research group in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. In addition to three philosophy faculty, the group numbers several philosophy graduate students who are either writing dissertations or papers in aesthetics. Faculty and students in Interdisciplinary Studies, the Department of English Literature, the School of Music, the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture also participate in the group's activities. Events include reading groups, visiting speakers, mini-conferences, and seminars.
Josh Johnston speaking at the Pacific ASA
Kendall Walton visits Fiction
Dustin Stokes, Vince Bergeron, and Dom Lopes studying oeno-aesthetics in Napa
Gemma Celestino Fernandez explaining fictional contingencies in Hamburg
Emma Esmaili, Oisin Deery, Taylor Davis, Josh Johnston, Derek Matravers, Jill Isenberg
Dominic Lopes teaches philosophy at UBC and works on depiction, the evaluation of pictures, theories of art and the ontology of art, and computer art and new art forms. His book on computer art came out in 2009, and his next book is a book on art and appreciation is on its way.
Samantha Matherne is a visiting assistant professor at UBC and works on Kant, Modern European Philosophy (especially Phenomenology and the Neo-Kantians), Aesthetics, and Perception.
Christopher Mole teaches in Philosophy and in the Cognitive Systems program at UBC. His interests in aesthetics focus on the aesthetics of literature. He is particularly interested in the relationship between aesthetic value, moral value, and the value of truth.
John Woods is an Honorary Professor of Logic at UBC and counts fiction among his many specializations.
Aleksey Balotskiy came to UBC in September 2012 to start PhD research in aesthetics.
Zoe McDougall is a PhD student in interdisciplinary studies working on collaborations between artists and engineers developing smart environments.
Madeleine Ransom has just started doctoral work at UBC. She is interested in how aesthetic value interacts with other types of value, how fictions influence our beliefs and when (if ever) such influence is rationally justified, and how one might use models of creativity and humor to shed light on the nature of mental representations.
Servaas Van der Berg has just arrived at UBC to study for a doctorate. His principal interest is aesthetics.
Xu Yu is a doctoral student in aesthetics at Southwest University, Chongqing. She is visiting UBC in 2013-14 to work on new media art.
Yuichi Amitani wrote a doctoral dissertation in philosophy of biology but also wrote on the ontology of photographs.
Vincent Bergeron now teaches at the University of Ottawa. His interests in aesthetics include musical expression, ontology of art, artistic value, and aesthetics and cognitive science.Gemma Celestino Fernandez recently defended a dissertation on fiction and propositional attitude ascriptions. She now teaches in Barcelona.
Steve DiPaola an expert in computer graphics systems, Steve took an interdisciplinary PhD at UBC on painterly rendering of portraits. He is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University.
Eden Kail Fenrick wrote an MA thesis on the role of identification in dance appreciation in 2003. She now teaches philosophy in Halifax.
Jillian Isenberg completed her doctoral thesis in 2013. Her research focuses on identifying the psychological explananda to which theories of fiction should answer.
Josh Johnston defended his thesis on value particularism in Septemeber 2012. Other interests include the history of aesthetics, the epistemology and metaphysics of aesthetic value, perception and taste, genre classification, and the philosophy of film. He now teaches at Auburn University.
Nick Jones visited UBC from the University of Nottingham in 2004, where he wrote a doctoral dissertation with Gregory Currie.
Brian Laetz had published papers in several journals including the British Journal of Aesthetics and Philosophy and Literature before his untimely death in the spring of 2010. He was posthumously made a Doctor of Philosophy in November 2010.
Jennifer Neilson took a BA and an MA in philosophy at UBC, writing an MA paper on the paradox of negative emotions, before moving to the University of Texas to do a doctorate.
Sahasra Pedersen was an MA student in philosophy engaged in issues at the intersection of environmental aesthetics, virtue aesthetics, and virtue ethics.Other interests include artistic value and the history of aesthetics.
Alessandro Pignocchi was a visiting student from Paris in the spring of 2007. While at UBC, he wrote a paper on motor schemas in drawing. Check out his book, L’Œuvre d’art et ses intentions.
Nola Semczyszyn works on scientific and medical images, having defended her dissertation, Signal to Vision, in 2010. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Franklin and Marshall College.
Dustin Stokes works on creativity as a cognitive phenomenon. Following postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Sussex and the University of Toronto, he now teaches at the University of Utah.
Denys Vinçon, a doctoral student at the EHESS in Paris and the University of Milan, visited in 2012-13 to work on the depiction of impossibilia.
aesthetics group news
2013-14 Congratulations to Jill Isenberg, who defended her PhD thesis on Fiction Without Pretence. Also a warm welcome to Samantha Matherne, an expert in Kantian aesthetics, and to Xu Yu, who is visiting from China.
Events for this year include the continuing aesthetics reading group and possibly a weekend conference in the spring.
2012-13 Servaas Van der Berg led a weekly reading group dedicated to papers in aesthetics and to Brad Murray manuscript on Kant aesthetics, The Possibility of Culture.
Dominic Lopes gave a graduate seminar in virtue theory as it applies in ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics. Guest speakers included Ted Slingerland from Asian Studies at UBC and Matthew Kieran from the University of Leeds.
Fall 2011 Dominic Lopes ran a manuscript seminar, whose participants gave his work on theories of art a run for its money.
Summer 2010 Taylor Davis (UBC), Matthew Kieran (University of Leeds), Derek Matravers (Open University), and Gerry Viera (UBC) gave talks in a day-long workshop in June.
Summer 2009 Nola Semczyszyn led a reading group on topics in aesthetics, beginning with Glenn Parson and Allen Carlson, Functional Beauty.
2008–09 Talks this year included one by Steve DiPaola on "Computationally Modeling Aspects of Cognition, Creativity and Art" and one by Brad Murray on "Artworks, Artifacts, and Ontology: Puzzling Over Driftwood." An invited lecture series on creativity organized by John Beatty and held at Green College included presentations by Peter Kivy, Brad Murray, and Dustin Stokes.
Summer 2008 John Woods led a reading group on Mark Sainsbury's Reference Without Referents. Catharine Abell (University of Manchester) visited from July to September.
2007–08 Kathryn Brown (UBC AHVAT), Bence Nanay (UBC), and James Young (UVic) spoke as part of a day-long interdisciplinary Workshop on Art and Spectatorship co-hosted by the Philosophy Department and the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory. Berys Gaut (St Andrews University) gave a seminar on his work and presented a paper on "Medium-Specificity Arguments and Cinema" in the Philosophy Colloquium. Dominic Lopes taught an undergraduate course in aesthetics during the fall term featuring his book manuscript on computer art. During the spring term, Bence Nanay gave a seminar on Fiction, Narrative, and the Mind.
Summer 2007 Bence Nanay ran a weekly discussion group on depiction at sundry watering holes around town.
2006–07 Dominic Lopes gave a seminar on topics in aesthetics and epistemology. The seminar culminated in a one-day mini-conference in May. Meanwhile, Gemma Celestino and Jillian Isenberg ran a biweekly reading group in partnership with LOGOS Barcelona on the logic, semantics, and aesthetics of fiction. Visiting speakers this year included Gary Iseminger.
2005–06 Dominic Lopes gave a seminar on the ontology of art in conjunction with the Art, Technology, and Ontology Project sponsored by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. The project brought faculty and students together from several disciplines to discuss new technologies in art. Visiting speakers this year included Robert Hopkins, Peter Kivy, Amie Thomasson, and Kendall Walton.
Pre-2005 In August 2003, UBC hosted the Knowing Art Conference, which was sponsored by SSHRC. Speakers who visited to give colloquium talks included Noël Carroll, Jerrold Levinson, and Jenefer Robinson. James Shelley spent a term at UBC as a Visiting Professor and gave a seminar on early modern aesthetics. Matthew Kieran spent a sabbatical year at UBC in 2002–03.