I'm a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Princeton University. My research focuses on the intersection of ethics and aesthetics. During the 2013-2014 academic year, I'll be a visiting lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at UCLA.
Is being partial to a particular artwork best conceived of as an expression of one's idiosyncratic taste—something for which no reasons might be given? In my dissertation, I answer negatively: there are indeed reasons for one's partiality to a particular work of art. These reasons are intimately connected with the value of one's historical relationship with that work of art. My dissertation presents a philosophical account of the significance of such relationships with works of art. I argue that valuing such relationships is analogous to valuing one's relationships with one's friends, one's projects, or one's ideals: each is an instance of rational, albeit partial valuing. I use this analogical approach to demonstrate that one's concern for a work of art often extends beyond its artistic value, impartially construed—a point which, I argue, has been little appreciated in contemporary philosophy of art. I deploy this more nuanced account to solve Jerrold Levinson's puzzle of aesthetic perfectionism; to offer a novel account of the role and function of reasoned evaluation in art criticism; and to give a clearer picture of the moral and aesthetic considerations wrapped up in our relationships to artworks and artists. More details are available here. My dissertation advisors are Alexander Nehamas and Michael Smith.
I entered the graduate program at Princeton in the fall of 2008; prior to that I received a B.A. in philosophy from Duke University.