"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 a Professor of Philosophy at Appalachian State University. My research interests primarily lie within aesthetics and ethics. I mainly focus on video games, the philosophy of music, philosophy of technology, and media ethics. I have additional research interests in perception (especially sound) and methodological issues in experimental philosophy.
I am the author of Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy: Killing Time (Bloomsbury 2020), which addresses the question: is it ever morally wrong to enjoy fantasizing about immoral things? I am currently writing my second monograph, Aesthetics and Video Games, also for Bloomsbury (expected 2024).
As an undergraduate, I studied sound engineering at Berklee College of Music and worked as a recording engineer in the Boston area for four years before deciding that I wanted to study philosophy. I then moved to England where I received my MA from the University of Bristol and my PhD from King's College London. In addition to my love of philosophy, I also enjoy cycling, music, and playing games with my daughter.
Ph. D. (2007) King's College London
M. A. (2000) University of Bristol
B. M. (1997) Berklee College of Music
- Ethical Theory
- Introduction to Philosophy
- Perception, Color, and Sound
- Philosophy and Popular Culture
- Philosophy and Video Games
- Philosophy of Art
- Philosophy of Mind
- Philosophy of Music
- Philosophy, Society, and Ethics
- Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy: Killing Time. Bloomsbury Academic (2020).
Articles and Book Chapters
- "Ethics and Video Games", in the Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Art, edited by James Harold. Oxford University Press (2023): 474-489.
- "Computer Art, Technology, and the Medium", in Being and Value in Technology, edited by Enrico Terrone and Vera Tripodi. Palgrave Macmillan (2022): 141-161.
- "Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans)". In D.H. Hick (Ed.). Case Studies in Comtemporary Aesthetics. New York: Bloomsbury Academic (2022). http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781350930063.0002
- "Pluralism, Eliminativism, and the Definition of Art", co-authored with Jack M. C. Kwong, Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 58.2 (2021): 100-113.
- “Art, Aesthetics, and the Medium: Comments for Nguyen on the Art-Status of Games”, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport (2021).
- "Ordinary Monsters: Ethical Criticism and the Lives of Artists", Contemporary Aesthetics 17 (2019).
- "Hypocrisy as Either Deception or Akrasia", The Philosophical Forum 50 (2019): 269-281.
- "The Ontology of Musical Works and the Role of Intuitions: An Experimental Study", European Journal of Philosophy 26 (2018): 348-367.
- CLICK HERE for files relating to the experimental study reported in this paper.
- “‘It’s Just a Story’: Pornography, Desire, and the Ethics of Fictive Imagining”, co-authored with Anna Cremaldi, British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (2018): 37-50.
- For a summary of the above, see “Are our fantasies immune from morality?”. Co-authored with Anna Cremaldi. OUPblog, 25 January 2019.
- "Ontology and Transmedial Games", in The Aesthetics of Videogames, edited by Grant Tavinor and Jon Robson, Routledge (2018): 9-23.
- "Rock as a Three-Value Tradition", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2017): 143-154.
- "Free Will and Moral Responsibiliy in Video Games", Ethics and Information Technology 17 (2015): pp. 285-293.
- "The Metaphysics of Mash-Ups", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (2015): pp. 297-308.
- "The Puzzle of Historical Criticism", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (2012): pp. 213-222.
- "Resolving the Gamer's Dilemma", Ethics and Information Technology 14 (2012): pp. 11-16.
- "Music Without Metaphysics?", British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 51 (2011): pp. 383-398.
- “The ‘Fine Art’ of Pornography?” In Porn: Philosophy for Everyone, Dave Monroe (ed) (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010): pp. 153-165.
- "Understanding Manipulative Performance Art", Philosophical Frontiers, vol. 5 (2010): pp. 43-54.
- "Originality and Value", Hermeneia, vol. 10 (2010): pp. 66-77.
- “Conceptual Content and Aesthetic Perception”, Analyses: Proceedings of the 2nd National Meeting for the Portuguese Society for Analytic Philosophy. Porto, Portugal: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, (2006): 299-306.
- "Musical Thought and Compositionality", Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 3 (2006): pp. 25-36.
- "Cognitive Science and Aesthetics", in the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, Michael Kelly (ed), Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014): pp. 70-74.
Academic Blog Contributions
- "Why Video Game Violence Isn't Innocent". Aesthetics for Birds, 27 October 2020.
- Reprinted as "The Resonance of Violence". Institute of Arts and Ideas 96, 8 June 2021.
- "Playing Games with History: Philosophers on the Ethics of Historical Board Games". Aesthetics for Birds, 21 August 2019.
- “Are our fantasies immune from morality?”. Co-authored with Anna Cremaldi. OUPblog, 25 January 2019.
- Critical precis of John Holliday’s essay, “The Puzzle of Factual Praise”. Aesthetics for Birds, 11 May 2017.
- “Punk Music and the Ontology of Rock Recordings”. Aesthetics for Birds, 21 November 2013.
- Experience Machines: The Philosophy of Virtual Worlds, by Mark Silcox (ed.). Journal of the Philosophy of Games (2018).
- Music and Aesthetic Reality, by Nick Zangwill, Philosophy in Review 36 (1): 42-43.
- Musical Understandings, by Stephen Davies, Mind, vol. 123 (2014): pp. 1184-1187.
- Art and Pornography, edited by Hans Maes and Jerrold Levinson, British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 54 (2014): pp. 510-512.
- How Music Moves Us, by Jeanette Bicknell, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 68 (2010): pp. 317-319.
- The Performance of Reading, by Peter Kivy, Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 60 (2010): pp. 220-222.
- Works of Music, by Julian Dodd, Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 59 (2009): pp. 760-762.
- Listening to Popular Music, by Theodore Gracyk. British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 48 (2008): pp. 357-359.
- The Musical Representation, by Charles O. Nussbaum. Philosophy in Review, Vol. 28 (2008): pp. 212-214.
- Art and Value, by George Dickie, British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 45 (2005): pp. 94-96.
- Is Art Good for Us? Beliefs about High Culture in American Life, by Joli Jensen, British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 44 (2004): pp. 93-96.
Click here for a short video on CNN about how I and other professors can tell when an essay is written with ChatGPT.
Click here for an interview with me on the AUXORO Podcast.
Click here for an interview with me on The Neutral Ground podcast.
Click here for an interview with me on the Ethics and Video Games podcast.
Click here for an interview with me on Religion in Life.
Click here for a short piece co-authored by Anna Cremaldi and I on the ethics of fantasy.
Click here for a short piece outlining my account of the ethics of video game violence.
Click here for a BBC article on the use of comic books in philosophy courses.
Title: Professor of Philosophy
Department: Philosophy and Religion
Email address: Email me
Phone: (828) 262-7193