John Kulvicki is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. He held teaching positions at Washington University in St. Louis and Carleton University in Ottawa before moving to Dartmouth in 2004. In 2011, he was Directeur d’études invité at EHESS, Paris. He has published two books relating to images and numerous articles on the philosophy of perception. Currently, he is working on two projects. One relates topics in the philosophy of language to pictures and the other shows how issues in the philosophy of art ought to inform the philosophy of perception.
Philosophy of art, philosophy of perception, and the relationship between the two. Specifically, the nature and scope of images, the role of imagistic representation in perception, the nature of sounds and colors, the usefulness of information theory as a tool for analyzing perceptual systems.
Bringing Philosophy of Art to the Philosophy of Perception
My research project, a monograph, shows how problems in the philosophy of art can fruitfully inform the philosophy of perception. A recent trend, exemplified by Bence Nanay’s recent Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception (Oxford UP, 2016), suggests problems in aesthetics are best understood as nothing but problems in the philosophy of perception. My approach to problems of perception is distinctive. The book begins by developing an information-theoretic model of perceptual states, which opens up a new way to address problems in perception from the standpoint of philosophy of art. First, I show that techniques for depiction and audio recording show the importance of perspectival qualities for understanding spatial, chromatic, and auditory perception. Second, the problem of identifying the objects of perception can be addressed from the standpoint of understanding how photographs and audio recordings serve as visual and auditory prostheses. And third, exemplification in the arts can be deployed to help explain perceptual intentionality. This project also opens up new interdisciplinary possibilities. The history of European painting in the 17th – 19th centuries, and the history of audio recording technologies both inform my argument.