The British Society of Aesthetics PhD studentship award is designed to support promising students of philosophical aesthetics by enabling them to pursue full time doctoral research. The maintenance grant mirrors the AHRC’s studentship award.
Candidates for the studentship must be UK or EU citizens who are already accepted on to a PhD programme at a British university at the time of application, to research on a subject that falls within the remit of the British Society of Aesthetics. The proposed research must have a strong philosophical component.
My dissertation ‘Arts and Facts. Fiction, Non-fiction and the Photographic medium’ addressed the issue of how the nature of a representational medium—in this case photography—affects or contributes to the classification of works as fiction or non-fiction. The first part of the dissertation focuses on issues concerning the nature of photographic representation, its special relation with the real and its purported fictional incompetence. The second part takes up issues concerning the nature of fiction and non-fiction with an emphasis on the category of non-fiction/documentary, and examines its application to photography.
My dissertation “Whither naturalistic aesthetics?” seeks to help bring about a rapprochement between philosophical aesthetics and the cognitive sciences. Whilst the naturalistic enterprise has made significant inroads into certain debates in recents years (e.g. Meskin & Weinberg, 2003), there has been less enthusiasm to court the core issues of aesthetic theory. In my dissertation I attempt to come some way to fill this lacuna. In the first part, I advance a sentimentalist account of the aesthetic. In the second part, I consider the implications of this account for the debates surrounding taste, the nature and objectivity of aesthetic judgements and the relationship between the moral and aesthetic domains.
My dissertation was an investigation of the nature and special epistemic status of photographs. In it, I argued that photographs furnish us with perceptual knowledge of the objects they depict, while paintings and drawings furnish testimonial knowledge. I then explained this in terms of a kind of indirect seeing of facts Fred Dretske calls ‘secondary epistemic seeing’, arguing that extant theories either fail to explain how photographs can be a source of perceptual knowledge, or else are undesirable on other grounds.
My dissertation research is on the concept of representation, and is directed at gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of depiction and pictorial representation. I approach this through the lens of the philosophy of perception, and am especially interested in laying out the possibilities of representation in sense modalities other than vision.