I am currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy at Brown University. I have completed my doctoral studies in Philosophy at the University of Alberta. My main areas of research are 17th and 18th century philosophy and aesthetics.
The nature of aesthetic experience and of critical communication of aesthetic experience are the central issues that I have been working on throughout my graduate student years. While my particular focus in my M.A. thesis was Immanuel Kant’s aesthetic theory, my dissertation project moved beyond this into contemporary theories of art criticism. My doctoral dissertation, “A Kantian Theory of Art Criticism,” explored the role of art criticism within Kant’s aesthetic theory and its relevance for the particularism-generalism debate in contemporary aesthetics. My interpretation of Kant’s theory of artistic beauty received the 2017 John Fisher Memorial Prize in Aesthetics. This paper, titled “Kant on Informed Pure Judgments of Taste,” will be published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (see below). One of the main strands in my dissertation project has been the discussion of whether or not our aesthetic appraisals of artworks are based on natural facts concerning the non-aesthetic properties of the same artworks. My account of the dependency relation between aesthetic value judgments and descriptive statements is recently published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (see below). I am currently writing a paper on Kant’s conception of objective purposiveness (titled “Objective Purposiveness and Value”), as well as putting together a book proposal based on the contents of my dissertation work.
There are two recent projects I am engaged in, both of which address cross-disciplinary issues. Here are brief descriptions of each project:
Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Imaginative Resistance
The first project, which is funded by Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, concerns the relationship between two different value judgments, aesthetic and moral judgments. My objective is to develop a better understanding of the bearing of ethical and aesthetic evaluations of artworks on one another through an examination of historical and contemporary approaches to the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. In a cross-disciplinary project drawing on the implications of recent psychological research, I aim to provide an explanation of the phenomenon of imaginative resistance by bringing to the table a novel approach to the issue, one that places central importance on the constitutive effect of the emotion of disgust in both moral and aesthetic evaluations. I have presented a paper where I criticize some of the recent trends in imaginative resistance research and put forward a positive account at the Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Congress in May 2016 in Toronto. The paper is titled “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” after a Buffy episode.
Art as a Social Kind
The second project, I am very excited about, brings together discussions on social and natural kinds in metaphysics, philosophy of biology, and aesthetics. In a recent talk I had a chance to present at the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science Annual Meeting and at the Western Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting this year, I utilize a new theory of social and natural kinds in explaining what kind of a kind art is. My plan is to further look into the merits of this theory and expand it to explore the possible correlations between various kinds in art and biology.
“Kant on Informed Pure Judgments of Taste,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (forthcoming).
Two dominant interpretations of Kant’s notion of adherent beauty, the conjunctive view and the incorporation view, provide an account of how to form informed aesthetic assessments concerning artworks. According to both accounts, judgments of perfection play a crucial role in making informed, although impure, judgments of taste. These accounts only examine aesthetic responses to objects that meet or fail to meet the expectations we have regarding what they ought to be. I demonstrate that Kant’s works of genius do not fall within either of these categories. The distinguishing features of these works, viz. originality and exemplarity, become unrecognizable on these interpretations because originality and exemplarity, as I will argue, lie in the work’s ability to exceed one’s expectations concerning its form and content. I solve this problem by proposing alternative transformation methods distinct from that of abstraction, namely concept expansion and repudiation. These additional accounts of transformation lead to a rather surprising outcome: Works of genius turn out to be paradigm cases where one can and indeed ought to form informed pure judgments of taste.
Noël Carroll proposes a generalist theory of art criticism, which essentially involves evaluations of artworks on the basis of their success value, at the cost of rendering evaluations of reception value irrelevant to criticism. In this article, I argue for a hybrid account of art criticism, which incorporates Carroll’s objective model but puts Carroll-type evaluations in the service of evaluations of reception value. I argue that this hybrid model is supported by Kant’s theory of taste. Hence, I not only present an alternative theory of metacriticism, which has the merit of reinstating the centrality of reception value in art critics’ evaluations, but also show that, contrary to a common conception, Kant’s aesthetic theory can house a fruitful account of art criticism. The benefit of this hybrid account is that, despite being essentially particularist, it should be appealing even to generalists, including Carroll.
“Why didn’t Kant Think Highly of Music?,” in Natur und Freiheit: Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Congresses 2015, eds. Violetta L. Waibel and Margit Ruffing (Berlin: De Gruyter) (forthcoming 2018).
In this paper, in answering the question why Kant didn’t think very highly of music, I argue that for Kant (i) music unlike other art forms, lends itself more easily to combination judgments involving judgments of sense, which increases the propensity to make aesthetic mistakes and is ill-suited as an activity for improving one’s taste; (ii) music expresses aesthetic ideas and presents rational ideas only by taking advantage of existing associations while other art forms do so by breaking with the laws of association and creating new associations. I propose that (ii) constitutes the reason why music is not a rich source for reflection and thereby cannot stimulate the enlargement of the cognitive faculties. Given that the standard Kant uses in setting up the hierarchy of fine arts in terms of their cultivating role is the enlargement of cognitive faculties, this explains why music is placed at the bottom of his hierarchy.
My aim in this paper is to expose a misrepresentation of Jean-Luc Nancy’s ideas on community in the secondary literature. I argue that discussions of Nancy’s work have failed to recognize a transformation that has occurred in his later thought, which distances him from Jacques Derrida. I propose that Nancy’s later work points the way beyond the “persistence of unhappy consciousness” in deconstruction through allowing for the possibility of the creation of a world alternative to globalization. Recognition of this transformation is suggestive for how Nancy’s theoretical framework might be employed in analyses of recent resistance movements.
- “Kant on Informed Pure Judgments of Taste,” American Society for Aesthetics Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, U.S., November 2017 (upcoming). [Awarded the 2017 John Fisher Memorial Prize in Aesthetics]
- “Out of Mind, Out of Sight,” Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Congress, Toronto, ON, Canada, upcoming in May 2017.
- “A Kantian Hybrid Theory of Art Criticism: A Particularist Appeal to the Generalists,”
- American Society for Aesthetics Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, U.S., November 2016. [Awarded the Outstanding Student Paper Prize by American Society for Aesthetics]
- Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Congress, Calgary, AB, Canada, May 2016.
- American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting, San Francisco, CA, U.S., April 2016.
- Colloquium Talk, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, March 2015.
- “Art as a Social Kind,” Panel: Sex, Art, and Essentialism: New Perspectives on HPC Kinds,
- Western Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, Edmonton, AB, Canada, October 2016.
- Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science Annual Meeting, Calgary, AB, Canada, May 2016.
- “Why didn’t Kant think highly of music?,”
- 12th International Kant Congress, Vienna, Austria, September 2015.
- American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada, April 2015.
- “The New Problem of Artistic Beauty and Its Equally New Solution,” American Society for Aesthetics Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, U.S., October 2014. [Awarded the Outstanding Student Paper Prize by American Society for Aesthetics]
- “Artistic Beauty as Free Beauty,” American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting, San Francisco, CA, U.S., March 2013.
- “From Ideal to Exemplary Beauty,” Conference on Ideals and the Ideal in Kant, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, May 2012.
- “Lyotard on the Problem of Justice,” Rewriting Lyotard Conference, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, February 2011.
- “Ethics and Politics in the Cinema of Michael Haneke,” panelist, Metro Cinema Society in association with Wirth Institute, Edmonton, AB, Canada, March 2009.
Values and Society (MacEwan University) – Syllabus
Knowledge and Reality (MacEwan University) – Syllabus
Philosophy of Criticism (University of Alberta) – Syllabus
Existentialism (University of Alberta & MacEwan University) – Syllabus
Early Modern Philosophy – Syllabus
I co-organized the 2014 University of Alberta Graduate and Post-Graduate Conference (with James Bachman, Emma Chien, Luke Kersten, Esther Rosario, Yasemin Sari, Joshua St. Pierre, and Andrew Tedder) and the 2013 University of Alberta Graduate Student Conference (with Emma Chien, Juan Santos Castro, Yasemin Sari, Grace Paterson, and Andrew Tedder). They have been really amazing and rewarding experiences. Thanks again my fellow co-organizers!
I also want to thank Balázs Máté one more time for giving us the permission to use his photograph for the 2014 conference poster. Please visit his website to see more of those brilliant photographs: http://balazsmate.com. Lastly, I want to thank my sister, Merve Tuna, for designing these wonderful posters.