David Davies

Academic title(s): 


David Davies
Contact Information

855 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2T7

Email address: 
david.davies [at] mcgill.ca
Leacock 941
Office hours: 

On leave 2018-19.

Research areas: 
Philosophy of Art
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind

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 20 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, dance, 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 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

‘Dance seen and dance screened’, for inclusion in volume 43 of Midwest Studies in Philosophy. (In progress)

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

‘Artistic crimes and misdemeanours’, for submission for consideration for a special edition of British Journal of Aesthetics on ‘Deception and Authenticity in Art’. (In progress)

‘Nominalist strategies for dealing with multiple artworks’, for inclusion in a projected collection of papers relating to the work of Jody Azzouni, ed. Joshua Brown and Otavio Bueno. (In progress)

‘Analytic philosophy of performance’, co-written with Anna Pakes, for inclusion in Laura Cull and Alice Lagaay, eds., Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy. (In progress)

‘Philosophical dimensions of film experience’, in Steven Goveia et al, eds. Philosophy and Film: Bridging Divides (Routledge). (In progress)

Piece on the 50th anniversary of Walton’s ‘Categories of art’, to appear in a 2020 symposium in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. (In progress)

‘Philosophy of art’, forthcoming in Anna Abrahams, ed, Cambridge Handbook of the Imagination.

‘Where in the (art)world is Martin Creed?’ forthcoming in a volume on Martin Creed edited by Elisabeth Schellekens and Davide Dal Sasson in the Bloomsbury series on philosophical aesthetics and contemporary art edited by Tiziana Andrina and David Carrier.

“Animation”, forthcoming 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), c. 10,000 words.

“Evolution and Anthropology of Art”, forthcoming in Lydia Goehr, Jonathan Gilmore, and Jonathan Fine, eds., Blackwell Companion to Arthur Danto.

“Analytic philosophy of music”, forthcoming in Tomas Macauley, Jerrold Levinson, and Nanette Nielsen, eds., Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy (Oxford: OUP, 2018).

‘Misreading Emma’, in E. M. Dadlez, ed., Jane Austen’s Emma: Philosophical Perspectives, in the series Oxford Studies in Philosophy and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 184-215.

“Evidence of facture and the appreciative relevance of artistic activity”, in Alberto Voltolini and Jerome Pelletier, eds., The Pleasure of Pictures (London: Routledge, 2018), 286-302.

“Art and thought-experiments”, in Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige, and James Robert Brown, eds., The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments (London: Routledge, 2018), 512-25.

‘The semantics of Sibleyan aesthetic judgments’, in James Young, ed., Semantics of Aesthetic Judgments (Oxford: OUP, 2017), 106-20.

‘Descriptivism and its discontents’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75.2 (2017), 117-29.

‘Applied aesthetics’, in Kasper Rasmussen, Kimberley Brownlee, and David Coady, (eds), Blackwell Companion to Applied Philosophy (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), 487-500.

‘The function of generalisation in art history: understanding art across traditions’, in Theoretical Studies in Literature and Art 36.1 (Spring 2016), 8-19.

‘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.

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