Dr. Christopher Bartel

"To be clear-headed rather than confused; lucid rather than obscure; rational rather than otherwise; and to be neither more, nor less, sure of things than is justifiable by argument or evidence. That is worth trying for."

-- Geoffrey Warnock


I am an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Appalachian State University. My research interests primarily lie within aesthetics, the philosophy of music, and philosophy of video games. I have published essays on the metaphysics of music, the ethics of video games, and historical inaccuracies in works of fiction.  (A complete listing of my publications can be found here.)

I am currently pursuing two long-term projects. The first concerns philosophical debates about the ontology of musical works. My concern is that philosophers have tended to focus too much attention on the concept of the musical work, which has lead to the overestimation of the importance of some musical practices over others. My second project looks at debates surrounding the ethics of video games. This debate, largely perpetuated by the media, tends toward an unhelpful polarization: you are either for video games or against them. The subtleties of this debate have been lost, and the correct answer is likely to be subtle. In my view, it is undeniable that video game violence is not a contributing factor to real-world violence; but I also believe that there is some scope for the moral censure of video games that is independent of this consequentialist outlook.

I am originally from Massachusetts. As an undergraduate, I studied at Berklee College of Music and received a degree in sound engineering.  I then worked as a recording engineer in the Boston area for four years before deciding that I wanted to study philosophy. When I decided to study philosophy, I moved to England where I received my MA from the University of Bristol and my PhD from King's College, University of London.

In addition to my love of philosophy, I also enjoy cycling, music, and playing video games; though most of my time these days is spent looking after my daughter.



Aesthetics, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Music, Philosophy of Video Games


Philosophy of Perception (esp. Sound), Philosophy of Mind, Ethics, David Hume


Ph. D. (2007) King's College London

M. A. (2000) University of Bristol

B. M. (1997) Berklee College of Music

Courses Taught 

  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Philosophy and Popular Culture
  • Philosophy of Art
  • Aesthetics
  • Perception, Color, and Sound  
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Music
  • Philosophy, Society, and Ethics
  • Philosophy and Video Games
  • Relativism
  • Metaphilosophy


Department of Philosophy and Religion
I. G. Greer Hall, Room 114
Boone, NC  28608
bartelcj (AT) appstate (DOT) edu


Click here for a BBC article on the use of comic books in philosophy courses.