I am originally from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. I did my BA in English and Philosophy at Queen’s University in Ontario, before doing the BPhil and DPhil in Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford. For two years, I taught as a Departmental Lecturer at The Queen’s College, Oxford, and then for one year as a Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London. I have been at Exeter since October 2013.
My research focuses on questions in the philosophy of art about metaphor, art criticism, and imaginativeness. My book, The Critical Imagination (Oxford, 2013) provides an account of art appreciation and of the aims of criticism. I use this account to argue for a view about the role of creativity in criticism. My current work focuses on the questions of what makes something a good artwork, and whether good artworks are intrinsically valuable. I am also interested in philosophical questions about poetry (for example, whether some thoughts can be expressed only in metaphor) and about beauty (for example, whether beauty is good primarily because it provides pleasure).
At Exeter, I give tutorials on the following undergraduate papers:
- General Philosophy
- Moral Philosophy
- Early Modern Philosophy
- Knowledge and Reality
I have lectured on Aesthetics, Normative and Applied Ethics, Meta-Ethics, Kant, and Plato. I am particularly interested in supervising graduate theses on criticism, on literature, and on the value of art.
- “A Sensible Experientialism?”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming).
- “Moral Worth and Moral Belief”, Ethics 133, 2 (2023): 216–230.
- “Art and Achievement”, Philosophical Studies 177 (2020): 2517–2539.
- “Creativity as an Artistic Merit”, Creativity and Philosophy, ed. Berys Gaut and Matthew Kieran (Routledge, 2018), pp. 333–349.
- “Artistic Value and Copies of Artworks”, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73, 4 (2015): 417–424.
- “Hume: Theory of Beauty”, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd edn, 6 vols, ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, 2014), vol. 4, pp. 331–335.
- “Metaphor in Criticism and Aesthetic Description”, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd edn, 6 vols, ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, 2014), vol. 3, pp. 368–372.
- “The Aims of Art Criticism”, Sztuka i Filozofia (Art and Philosophy) 42 (2013): 21–28.
- “The Value of Imaginativeness”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 90, 2 (2012): 275–289.
- “Metaphor and Criticism”, British Journal of Aesthetics, 51, 3 (2011): 237–257. (British Society of Aesthetics Prize Essay 2010)
- “The Dispensability of Metaphor”, British Journal of Aesthetics, 50, 3 (2010): 255–272.
- Interview with 3:AM Magazine, 18 November 2017.
- “Why Metaphor Matters”, OUP Blog: Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World, 3 August 2014.