Distinguished Professor Stephen John Davies
MA (Monash) , PhD (London)
Stephen Davies is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland. He is an inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Academy of the Humanities and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He is a former President of the American Society for Aesthetics and is currently Vice-President of the International Association for Aesthetics. He is on the editorial boards of Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Philosophy Compass, and Rivista di Estetica, he is a consulting editor for Res Musica and Philosophy of Music Education Review, and he is co-editor for aesthetics in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Stephen's research is primarily about the philosophy of the arts. He has published on literary interpretation, the definition of art, the ontological variety of artworks, expressiveness in music, the nature of performance, and the appreciative understanding of art. More recently, he has focused on the application of theories of evolution to art in discussing its origins and functions. This has led him to consider human adornment more generally: its history and many uses. Stephen has also published on Balinese music, Balinese aesthetics, the history and status of the legong dance, and the effects of tourism on indigenous cultures. And he has published bird-banding studies in journals of ornithology.
Stephen has published more than 180 peer refereed journal articles and book chapters. His sole-authored monographs are Definitions of Art (Cornell University Press, 1991), Musical Meaning and Expression (Cornell University Press, 1994), Musical Works and Performances: A Philosophical Exploration (Clarendon Press, 2001), Themes in the Philosophy of Music (Oxford University Press, 2003), Philosophical Perspectives on Art (Oxford University Press, 2007), Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music (Oxford University Press, 2011), The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution (Oxford University Press, 2012), and The Philosophy of Art (Wiley Blackwell, 2015, second edition). He is the editor of Art and Its Messages: Meaning, Morality, and Society (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997) and co-editor of Art and Essence (Praeger, 2003) and of A Companion to Aesthetics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, second edition). Articles and excerpts from his books have been collected or reprinted on more than thirty occasions. Three of his books have been translated into Chinese and other of his writings have been translated into Spanish, Italian, French, German, Polish, Czech, and Persian.
Stephen's research has been funded by the University of Auckland, including a Hood Fellowship in 2007, and by universities in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Australia. He has held Fellowships or temporary research appointments at University of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-San Diego, University of Maryland-College Park, and Rutgers University.
Stephen has given invited seminars or colloquia in the US at University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of California-San Diego, San Diego State University, Stanford University, California State University-Fullerton, San Jose State University, Mt. Holyoke College, Amherst College, University of Maryland-College Park, Central Michigan University, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Carleton College, Arizona State University-Tempe, University of New Mexico-Albuquerque, University of Texas-Arlington, University of Texas-Austin, Texas Tech University, Trinity University, Rice University, Tulane University, Florida State University, University of Florida-Gainseville, University of Miami, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Indiana-Bloomington, Franklin & Marshall College, Temple University, William & Mary College, and Marquette University; in the UK at University of St. Andrews, University College, King's College, Goldsmith College, University of Hull, University of York, University of Leeds, University of Durham, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University of Manchester, and The Open University; in Australia at University of South Australia, Flinders University, Southern Cross University, University of Western Australia, and Macquarie University; in Canada at University of British Columbia, Victoria University, and University of Alberta; in Sweden at Uppsala University and Lund University; in Portugal at the University of Lisbon; in Switzerland at the Broucher Foundation in Geneva; in Germany at the Freie University; in Spain at Murcia University; in China at Changchun; and at other New Zealand universities.
Research | Current
"Modest actual mentalism: questions and comments,"
Sztuka i Filozofia: Art and Philosophy,.
"The Beautiful in Bali." In The End of Art and the Promise of Beauty: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by K. M. Higgins, S. Maira and S. Sikka, Dordrecht: Springer.
"And everything nice." In Body Aesthetics, edited S. Irvin, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
"Così and Character." In Character, edited by I. Fileva, New York: Oxford University Press.
"Synopsis," British Journal of Aesthetics, 54, (2014), 467-469.
"Replies to My Critics," British Journal of Aesthetics, 54, (2014), 493-498.
"Art and aesthetic behaviors as possible expressions of our biologically evolved human nature," Philosophy Compass, 9, (2014), 361-367.
"Précis of The Artful Species," Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 51/7 (1), (2014), 95-97.
"Response to Wilfried van Damme, Ellen Dissanayake, Joseph Carroll, Katja Mellmann, and Jerzy Luty," Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 51/7 (1), (2014), 126-136.
"The Aesthetics of Adornments." In Aesthetics of Everyday Life: East and West, edited by Liu Yuedi and C. Carter, (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2014), 124-132.
Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia, edited by W. F. Thompson, (London: Sage Reference, 2014), Vol. 1, 376-380.
"Music, Definitions of."
Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia, edited by W. F. Thompson, (London: Sage Reference, 2014), Vol. 2, 723-727.
Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia, edited by W. F. Thompson, (London: Sage Reference, 2014), Vol. 2, 914-916.
Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, edited by M. Kelly, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, second edition, 6 volumes, 2014), Vol. 1, 240-243
Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, edited by M. Kelly, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, second edition, 6 volumes, 2014), Vol. 2, 529-533.
"Theories of art."
Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, , edited by M. Kelly, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, second edition, 6 volumes, 2014), Vol. 6, 146-153.
Review of Dominic McIver Lopes's Beyond Art, (Oxford: Oxford University Press), Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 72 (2014): 329-332.
"L'espressione delle emozioni nella musica." In La musica e le emozioni: percorsi nell'estetica analitica, edited and translated by Domenica Lentini. Milano: Mimesis, 2014, 65-74.
"La risposta all'espressività musicale." In La musica e le emozioni: percorsi nell'estetica analitica, edited and translated by Domenica Lentini. Milano: Mimesis, 2014, 75-84.
"Musica e simboli." In La musica e le emozioni: percorsi nell'estetica analitica, edited and translated by Domenica Lentini. Milano: Mimesis, 2014, 295-314.
"Ontologies des oeuvres musicale." In Ontologie Musicale: Perspectives et débats, edited by A. Arbo et M. Ruta, translated by Christiane Bourrel, Strasbourg: Hermann, 2014, 157-182
"The Evolutionary Value of an Aesthetic Sense,"
Aisthesis – Pratiche, linguaggi e saperi dell'estetico, 6 (2), (2013), 75-79.
"Why Make Art?" Island, 134, Spring, (2013), 20.
"Artists' Intentions and Artwork Meanings: Some Complications," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, , 36, (2013), 138-139.
"Performing Musical Works Authentically: A Response to Dodd," British Journal of Aesthetic, 53, (2013), 71-75.
"Music-to-listener Emotional Contagion." In The Emotional Power of Music, edited by Tom Cochrane, Bernadino Fantini, and Klaus R. Scherer, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 169-176.
Review of Peter Goldie's The Mess Inside, (Oxford: Oxford University Press), British Journal of Aesthetics, 53 (2013): 247-249.
"Le caratteristiche esteriori delle emozioni." In Il sentimento del suono. L'espressività musicale nell'estetica, edited and translated by Domenica Lentini. E-book 2013 ISBN: 9788897527176
"Ist die Architektur eine Kunst?"
Philosophie der Architektur, Christoph Baumberger (ed.), Michael Webb (trans.), Münster: Mentis, 2013, 30-49.
The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 301. ISBN 978-0-19-965854-1.
"Authentic Performances of Musical Works," Teorema: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, 31 (3) (2012), 81-88.
"On Defining Music," The Monist, 95, (2012), 535-555.
"Art and Human Evolution," November 23, 2012 on the Oxford University Press blog at http://blog.oup.com/2012/11/art-and-human-evolution/
Reproduced at http://brettsixtysix.deviantart.com/journal/Art-and-human-evolution-380469251
"Beauty, Youth, and the Balinese Legong Dance."
In Beauty Unlimited. Peggy Zeglin Brand (ed). (Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2012), 259-279.
Analytic Philosophy of Music
In Oxford Bibliographies Online: Philosophy. Duncan Pritchard (ed.). New York: Oxford University Press, June 26, 2012.
"Kinds of mind/brain modularity and their relevance to connecting art to evolution," Proceedings of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics, Pacific Division, (2012): 113-115.
"Muzyka, ogień i ewolucja,"
dialogi o kulturze i edukacji, nr 1(1), (2012): 35–58. Translated by Paweł Zajadacz.
"John Cage's 4'33". Is it Music?"
Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 90th Year Special Virtual Issue, 2012.
Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 221. ISBN 978-0-19-960877-5.
"Questioning the Distinction between Intra- and Extra-musical Meaning," Physics of Life Reviews, 8 (2), (2011), 114-115.
"The Role of Westerners in the Conservation of the Legong Dance," Contemporary Aesthetics, 2011, Vol. 3
"Cross-cultural musical expressiveness: theory and the empirical programme." In The Aesthetic Mind: Philosophy and Psychology. Elisabeth Schellekens & Peter Goldie (eds.), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 376-388.
"Infectious Music: Music-Listener Emotional Contagion."
In Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives, P. Goldie & A. Coplan (eds), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 134-148.
The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music, edited by T. Gracyk and A. Kania, (London: Routledge, 2011), 70–79.
"Analytic Philosophy of Music."
The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music, edited by T. Gracyk and A. Kania, (London: Routledge, 2011), 294-304.
"The Musical Expression of Emotion,"
in A Reader in the Philosophy of the Arts, David Goldblatt & Lee Brown (eds.), (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2011), 185-190. Third edition.
Excerpted from The Philosophy of Art.
"Bob, Little Jim, Bluebottle, and the Three Stooges,"
Sophia, 50 (2011): 265-268.
Teaching | Current
Department: Department of Philosophy
Current PhD students
2014- Matteo Ravassio Primary supervisor
2014- Sidney Diamante Primary supervisor
2013- Lin Szu-Yen Primary supervisor
2011- Justin Horn Primary supervisor
Art in action: The pragmatics of artistic expression
2011- Daniel Wilson Primary Supervisor
Artistic value and art's definition
2011- Soong Chung-Chen Primary supervisor
The role of mental mechanisms in our emotional responses to fictions
2010- Bruce Sheridan Cosupervisor
Imagination, Mind, and Creativity
Areas of expertise
Philosophy of the arts
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Davies, S. (2012). The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution (1st). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Pages: 320.
- Davies, S. J. (2011). Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Davies, S., Higgins, K., Hopkins, R., Stecker, R., & Cooper, D. E. (Eds.) (2009). A Companion to Aesthetics (Second). Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. Pages: 621.
- Davies, S. (2007). Philosophical Perspectives on Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pages: 285.
- Davies, S. (2006). The Philosophy of Art. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Pages: 239.
- Davies, S. (2003). Themes in the Philosophy of Music. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Pages: 283.
- Davies, S. (2001). Musical Work and Performances: A Philosophical Exploration. Oxford: Clarendon Press.