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The British Journal of Aesthetics Advance Access

Published: Sun, 19 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2017 00:51:57 GMT


‘Call Me Ishmael’: Fiction and Direct Reference


Whereas it appears that direct, or causal, theories dominate philosophy’s theories of reference, and it is widely held that they present an insuperable obstacle for a fictional character’s name to refer, I attempt to show not only that they can be easily made compatible with such theories, but that reference to the fictional fits rather smoothly into the distinctive articles of current theories of direct reference. However, the issues about reference to fictional characters goes well beyond those points, so its compatibility with direct referential theories is not a demonstration that names of fictional things in fact refer. This essay argues only that certain popular objections to fictional reference are unsound. Moreover, if those references were to occur, it would remove a serious self-inflicted conundrum over negative existentials, one from which those raising it seem unable to extract themselves credibly.

The Missing Person Found. Part II: Feelings for Pictures


According to Dominic Lopes, expressiveness in pictures should be analyzed solely in terms of “expression looks” of various sorts, namely the look of a figure, a scene and/or a design. But, according to this view, it seems puzzling that expressive pictures should have any emotional effect on their audiences. Yet Lopes explicitly ties his “contour theory” of expression in pictures to empathic responses in spectators. Thus, despite his deflationary account of pictorial expression, he claims that pictures can give us practice in various “empathic skills.” I argue that Lopes’s account of empathic responses to pictures, while interesting and enlightening, nevertheless ignores the most important way in which pictures exercise and enhance our empathic skills, namely, by giving us practice in taking the emotional perspective of another person.

In Defence of the One-Act View: Reply to Guyer


I defend my ‘one-act’ interpretation of Kant’s account of judgments of beauty against recent criticisms by Paul Guyer. Guyer’s text-based arguments for his own ‘two-acts’ view rely on the assumption that a claim to the universal validity of one’s pleasure presupposes the prior existence of the pleasure. I argue that pleasure in the beautiful claims its own universal validity, thus obviating the need to distinguish two independent acts of judging. The resulting view, I argue, is closer to the text and more phenomenologically plausible than Guyer’s two-acts alternative.