David Davies

David Davies


Office: Leacock 912

Office hours: Thursdays 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Tel: 514-398-6066

Email: david.davies [at] mcgill.ca (David Davies)


David Davies has taught at McGill since 1987. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario (1987), following a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Wadham College, Oxford, 1970) and an MA in Philosophy (Manitoba 1979). His doctoral research and much of his research for the following few years was on the Realism/Anti-Realism debate in contemporary metaphysics, and on related issues in the Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Language. For the past 15 years his research has focused mainly on metaphysical and epistemological issues in the Philosophy of Art, where he has also published widely on topics relating to literature, film, photography, music, performance, and the visual arts. He has been a director, since 1998, of the annual Philosophy of Science conference held at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and is a founding director of the Philosophy of Art conference held in the same location starting in 2012.

Selected recent publications (please see link to Research CV for full details):

Books and Monographs

Philosophy of The Performing Arts (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011)

Aesthetics and Literature (London: Continuum, 2007).

Art as Performance (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004) [Chinese translation by Fong Jun (Nanjing: Jiangsu Meishu Chubanshe (Jiangsu Fine Arts Publishing House), 2008]

Edited books

Blade Runner, edited collection of papers in the series ‘Philosophers on Film’, co-edited with Amy Coplan (London: Routledge, 2015).

The Thin Red Line, edited collection of papers in the series ‘Philosophers on Film’ (London: Routledge, 2008).

Articles Published, Forthcoming, or In Progress

‘Misreading Emma’, for a collection on Emma, ed. Eva Dadlez, in the OUP series Oxford Studies in Philosophy and Literature. In progress.

‘Animation’, in Noel Carroll, Laura Teresa Di Summa-Knoop, and Shawn Loht, eds., The Palgrave Handbook for the Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures (Palgrave-McMillan, 2018). In progress.

‘Danto on evolutionary and anthropological approaches to art’, for inclusion in Lydia Goehr and Jonathan Gilmore, eds., Blackwell Companion to Arthur Danto (Oxford: Blackwell). In progress.

‘What is the mode of being of the artwork?’, for inclusion in Noel Carroll, ed., Controversies in Contemporary Aesthetics (London: Routledge, 2016). In progress

‘Descriptivism and its discontents’, forthcoming (2017) in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

‘Analytic philosophy of music’, forthcoming (2017) in Tomas Macauley, Jerrold Levinson, and Nanette Nielsen, eds., Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy (Oxford: OUP).

‘Art and thought-experiments’, forthcoming (2017) in James Robert Brown, Yiftach Fehige, and Michael T. Stuart, eds., The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments (London: Routledge).

‘The semantics of Sibleyan aesthetic judgments’, forthcoming (2017) in James Young, ed., The Semantics of Aesthetic Judgments (Oxford: OUP)

‘Applied aesthetics’, forthcoming (November 2016) in Kimberley Brownlee, David Coady, and Kasper Rasmussen, eds., Blackwell Companion to Applied Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell).

‘Fictional truth and truth in fiction’, in Noel Carroll and John Gibson, eds., Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature (2015), 372-81.

‘Sibley and the limits of everyday aesthetics’, Journal of Aesthetic Education 49.2 (2015), 50-65.

‘Fictive utterance and the fictionality of narratives and works’, British Journal of Aesthetics 55.1 (2015), 39-55.

Blade Runner and the cognitive values of cinema’, in Amy Coplan and David Davies, eds., Blade Runner (London: Routledge, 2015), in the series ‘Philosophers on Film’, 134-54.

‘Varying impressions’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73.1 (2015), 81-92.

‘"This is your brain on art”: what can philosophy of art learn from neuroscience?’, in Gregory Currie, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin, and Jon Robson, eds., Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 57-74.

‘Watching the unwatchable: Irréversible, Empire, and the paradox of intentionally inaccessible art’, in Jerrold Levinson, ed., Suffering art gladly: the paradox of negative emotions (London: Macmillan Palgrave, 2013), 246-66.

‘Categories of art’, in Routledge Companion to Aesthetics 3rd  ed. (London: Routledge, 2013), 224-34.

‘Dancing around the issues: prospects for an empirically grounded philosophy of dance’,  Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71.2 (2013), 195-202.

‘What type of ‘type’ is a film?’,  in Christy Mag Uidhir, ed., Art and Abstract Objects (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 263-283.

‘Pornography, art, and the intended response of the receiver’, in Hans Maes and Jerrold Levinson, eds., Aesthetics and Pornography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 61-82.

‘The dialogue between words and music in the composition and comprehension of song’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71.1 (2013), 13-22.

‘Can philosophical thought experiments be “screened”?’, in Melanie Frappier, Letitia Meynell, and James Robert Brown, , eds., Thought Experiments in Philosophy, Science, and the Arts (London: Routledge, 2012), 223-38.

‘Enigmatic variations’, The Monist 95.4 (2012), 644-63.

‘“I’ll be your mirror’?: embodied agency, dance, and neuroscience’, in Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens, eds., The Aesthetic Mind: Philosophy and Psychology (Oxford: OUP, 2011), 346-56.

‘Digital technology, indexicality, and cinema’, Rivista di estetica 46 (2011), special edition on Ontology of Cinema, 45-60.

‘Medium in music’, in Theodore Gracyk and Andrew Kania, eds.,  Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music. (London: Routledge, 2011), 48-58.

‘Multiple instances and multiple “instances”’, British Journal of Aesthetics 50.4 (2010), 411-26.

‘Learning through fictional narratives in art and science’, in Roman Frigg and Matthew Hunter, eds., Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 262), (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), 51-70.

‘Eluding Wilson’s “elusive narrators”’, Philosophical Studies 147.3 (2010), 387-94.

‘Scruton on the inscrutability of photographs’, British Journal of Aesthetics 49 (2009), 341-55.

‘The primacy of practice in the ontology of art’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67.2 (2009), 159-71.

‘Dodd on the ‘audibility’ of musical works’, British Journal of Aesthetics 49.2 (2009), 99-108.

‘The artistic relevance of creativity’, in K. Bardsley, D. Dutton. M. Krausz, eds., The Concept of Creativity in Science and Art, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 213-33.

‘On the very idea of “Outsider Art”’, British Journal of Aesthetics 49.1 (2009), 25-41.

‘Susan Sontag, Diane Arbus, and the ethical dimensions of photography’, in Garry Hagberg, ed., Art and Ethical Criticism (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 211-28.

‘Collingwood’s ‘performance’ theory of art’, British Journal of Aesthetics 48.2 (2008), 162-74.

‘How photographs “signify” the world’, in Scott Walden (ed.), Photography and Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 167-86.

‘Telling pictures: The place of narrative in late-modern visual art’, in Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens (eds)., Philosophy and Conceptual Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 138-56.

‘Arts and intentions: reflections on Currie’s interdisciplinary turn’, British Journal of Aesthetics 46.2 (2006). 192-203.

‘Against “enlightened empiricism”’, in Matthew Kieran, ed., Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), 22-34.

‘The imaged, the imagined, and the imaginary’, in Matthew Kieran and Dominic Lopes, eds., Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts (London: Routledge, 2003), pp. 225-44.

‘Medium’, in Jerrold Levinson, ed., Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 181-91.

‘Fiction’, in Berys Gaut and Dominic Lopes, eds.,  Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 263-73.

‘Artistic intentions and the ontology of art’, British Journal of Aesthetics 39.2 (1999), pp. 148-62.

‘On gauging attitudes’, Philosophical Studies 90 (1998), pp. 129-54.

‘How sceptical is Kripke's “sceptical solution”?’, Philosophia (1998), pp. 119-140.