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Professor Derek Matravers BA (London), PhD (Cambridge)

Derek Matravers photo

Profile summary

Professional biography

Derek Matravers’ interests are in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. He also works in political philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of mind.  His most recent book is Fiction and Narrative (OUP, 2014) and he has two further books in the pipeline. A collection, edited with Damien Freeman, entitled Figuring Our Figurative Art (Routledge) is due out later this year, and Empathy (Polity) is due out next year. He is currently the Arts Faculty Media Fellow, a role that involves liaising between the Faculty and various broadcast and online projects.

Research interests

I took my undergraduate degree, in Philosophy, at University College, London. After that I completed a Ph.D. at Darwin College, Cambridge (where I am still a Senior Member). I was supervised by Hugh Mellor on the topic of ‘Art and the Emotions’. I then spent another three years in Cambridge as a post-doctoral Research Fellow. After that, I moved to The Open University. My Ph.D provided the basic arguments for my first book, Art and Emotion (Oxford University Press, 1998). I have written on various areas of aesthetics and the philosophy of art, as well as in ethics and the philosophy of mind.
 
My own attitude to philosophy is that it ought to try to make things clear; at least, as clear as possible without falsifying what is being talked about. It doesn’t necessarily follow from this, but it is nevertheless true, that I am less sceptical about the legacy of the Enlightenment than many in philosophy. That is, I believe there are things that one can say to people that should appeal to them simply because they are reasonable; however truistic this sounds, it is a substantial principle particularly in the areas of philosophy that interest me.
 

Current work

 
At the moment, I am working on empathy, and on some problems left over from my monograph on fiction and narrative. Some of the ideas that feature in thelatter book can be found in two published papers. The first is in a collection edited by John Gibson and Noel Carroll called Narrative, Emotion, and Insight. The second paper – ‘Why we should give up on the imagination’ – is published in MidWest Studies in Philosophy. The copyright belongs to me, so you can download a copy as a PDF file [129 KB]. Another philosopher whose views on the imagination are much less sceptical than mine is Kathleen Stock. Josh Johnston and Nola Semczyszyn (two philosophers from the USA) have produced a childrens’ book based on this debate. You can download the book as a PDF file [1.6 MB].
 

Work in aesthetics and the philosophy of art:

Fiction and Narrative (OUP, 2014). This is available from Amazon.
 
Art and Emotion (OUP, 1998 and 2002). This is available from Amazon.
 
Introducing Philosophy of Art: Eight Case Studies, (Acumen, 2013). This is available from Amazon.
 
I have a number of other papers including this one on conceptual art:
‘The Dematerialisation of the Object' in Goldie and Schellekens (eds.) Philosophy and Conceptual Art, (OUP, 2007). This is available from Amazon.
 
And this one on the Art Historian, T.J. Clark:
‘Pictures, Knowledge and Power: The Case of T.J. Clark' in Kieran and Lopes (eds.) Knowing Art (Springer, 2007). This is available from Amazon.
 
A full list of papers, most about expression, is below.
 

Work in political philosophy:

 
I have edited editions of the following books:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, (Wordsworth, 1998). This is available from Amazon.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Confessions, (Wordsworth, 1996). This is available from Amazon.
Tom Paine, The Rights of Man, (Wordsworth, 1997). This is available from Amazon.
 

Full list of publications

(a) Books
Art and the Emotions: A Defence of the Arousal Theory. Oxford University Press, 1998. Paperback edition, 2001.
Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy, ed. Derek Matravers and Jon Pike, Routledge, 2002.
Introducing Philosophy of Art: Eight Case Studies. Acumen, 2013.
Fiction and Narrative. Oxford University Press, 2014.
 
(b) Articles in Refereed Journals
'Art and the Feelings and Emotions', The British Journal of Aesthetics, 1991.
'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', Ratio 1991.
'Unsound Sentiment: a Critique of Kivy's "Emotive Formalism"', Philosophical Papers, 1993.
'Once More with Feeling: A Reply to Ridley', The British Journal of Aesthetics, 1994.
'Why Some Modern Art is Junk' in Cogito, 1994.
'Beliefs and the Fictional Narrator', Analysis, 1995.
'Is Boring Art just Boring?', The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 1995.
'Aesthetic Concepts and Aesthetic Experience', The British Journal of Aesthetics, 1996.
'Truth in Fiction: A Reply to New', The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 1997.
'Revising Principles of Architecture', The Journal of Architecture, 1999.
'Justice and Moral Theory', Skepsis, 1999.
'The Institutional Theory of Art: A Protean Creature', The British Journal of Aesthetics, 2000.
'The Experience of Expression in Music', The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, October 2003.
'The Aesthetic Experience', The British Journal of Aesthetics, 2003.
'Aesthetic Properties', Supplementary Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 2005.
'Two Comments and a Problem for David Davies' Performance Theory', in Acta Analytica, 2006.
'Some Questions about Radical Externalism', in The Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2006.
'Institutional Definitions and Reasons' in The British Journal of Aesthetics, 2007.
'Design as Communication: Exploring the Validity and Utility of Relating Intention to Interpretation’, in Design Studies, 2008, N.Crilly, D.Good, D.C. Matravers and P.J.Clarkson.
‘Recent Philosophical Work on the Connection between Music and the Emotions’, Musical Analysis, 2011.
 
 
(c) Chapters in Books
'Matwijkiw and Contemporary Abstract Expression' in Matwijkiw; North, 1987.
Introduction to Rousseau's Confessions; Wordsworth; 1996.
Introduction to Thomas Paine's Rights of Man; Wordsworth, 1996.
Introduction to Rousseau's The Social Contract; Wordsworth, 1997.
'The Paradox of Fiction: the Report vs. the Perceptual Model'; Emotion and the Arts; ed. M. Hjort and S. Laver; Oxford University Press; 1997.
'Rousseau: The Social Contract' and 'Marx and Engels: The German Ideology' in Reading Political Philosophy: Machiavelli to Mill, ed. Derek Matravers, Jon Pike and Nigel Warburton; Routledge, 1998.
'Art and Emotion'; Routledge Companion to Aesthetics; ed. Berys Gaut and Dominic Lopez; Routledge; 2001 (second edition, 2005).
'Ought Painting to Die?'; Dealing with the Visual; eds. Edward Winters and Carolyn von Eck; Ashgate, 2005.
''Fictional Assent and the (so-called) 'Puzzle of Imaginatived Resistance'; Imagination and the Arts; eds. Dominic Lopes and Matthew Kieran; Routledge, 2005.
'The Challenge of Irrationalism and how not to meet it', in Kieran (ed) Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (Blackwell, 2005).
'Pictures, Knowledge and Power: the case of T.J. Clark', in Lopes (ed) Knowing Art (Springer, 2006).
'Aesthetics in the Twentieth Century', in The Encyclopedia of British Philosophy eds. Anthony Grayling and Stephen Pyle (Continuum, 2006)
'The Dematerialisation of the Object' in Goldie and Schellekens (eds) Philosophy and Conceptual Art (OUP, 2007).
'Richard Wollheim' in Key Contemporary Thinkers, eds. Dairmuid Costello and Jonathan Vickery (Berg, 2007)
'Experience and Expression' in Philosophers on Music: Experience, Meaning, and Work, ed. Kathleen Stock (OUP, 2007).
‘Expression' in The Oxford Handbook to the Emotions, (ed.) Peter Goldie, (OUP, 2009).
‘The Definition of Art’ in Philosophy Bites (eds) David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton (OUP, 2010). The interview can be found here: http://philosophybites.com/2008/03/derek-matravers.html
‘Why we should give up on the Imagination’ in Mid-West Studies in Philosophy (eds) Peter French and Howard Wettstein (Blackwell, 2010).
‘Imagination, Fiction and Documentary’ in Narrative, Emotion, and Insight (eds) Noel Carroll and John Gibson (GPPC, 2011).
‘Arousal Theories’ in The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music (eds) Theodore Gracyk and Andrew Kania (Routledge, 2011).
‘Film, Literature, and Non-Cognitive Affect’ in New Takes in Film Philosophy (eds) Havi Carel and Greg Tuck (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
'Empathy and Knowledge' in Empathy, eds Peter Goldie and Amy Coplan (OUP, 2012).
‘Pictorial Representation and Psychology’, in The Aesthetic Mind, eds Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens (OUP, 2012).
‘Aesthetic Experience’ in The Continuum Companion to Aesthetics (ed) Anna Christina Ribiero (Continuum, 2012).
‘Wonder and Cognition’ in Practices of Wonder: Cross Disciplinary Perspectives (ed) Sophia Vasalou (Pickwick, 2012).
 

Teaching interests

Since joining the OU, I have been interested in broadcasting and the university’s ongoing relationship with the BBC. I am currently the ‘Media Fellow’ for the Arts Faculty, which involves helping commission TV and radio programmes, finding academics to advise on their content, and reviewing scripts, rough cuts, and fine cuts. The role also involves advising on the university’s online presence; something which if of increasing importance as we move towards the world of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and other modes of informal learning.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
The Arts and their Audiences Research ClusterClusterFaculty of Arts

Publications

Why we should give up on the imagination (2010-09-08)
Matravers, Derek
Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 34(1) (pp. 190-199)
Recent philosophical work on the connection between music and the emotions (2010)
Matravers, Derek
Music Analysis, 29(1-3) (pp. 8-18)
Design as communication: exploring the validity and utility of relating intention to interpretation (2008-09)
Crilly, Nathan; Good, David; Matravers, Derek and Clarkson, P. John
Design Studies, 29(5) (pp. 425-457)
Institutional definitions and reasons (2007)
Matravers, Derek
The British Journal of Aesthetics, 47(3) (pp. 251-257)
Some questions about radical externalism (2006)
Matravers, Derek
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 13(7-8) (pp. 95-108)
Two comments and a problem for David Davies’ Performance Theory (2005-12-01)
Matravers, Derek
Acta Analytica, 20(4) (pp. 32-40)
Aesthetic properties 1 - Derek Matravers (2005-07)
Matravers, Derek and Levinson, Jerrold
Supplementary Volume - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 79(1) (pp. 191-210)
The Experience of emotion in music (2003-10)
Matravers, Derek
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 61(4) (pp. 353-363)
The Aesthetic Experience (2003-04)
Matravers, Derek
British Journal of Aesthetics, 43(2) (pp. 158-174)
Fiction and Narrative (2014-04)
Matravers, Derek
ISBN : 978-0-19-964701-9 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
Introducing Philosophy of Art: Eight Case Studies (2012-12-27)
Matravers, Derek
ISBN : 9781844655373 | Publisher : Acumen Press | Published : Durham
Wonder and cognition (2012-10)
Matravers, Derek
In: Vasalou, Sophia ed. Practices of Wonder: Cross Disciplinary Perspectives (pp. 166-178)
ISBN : 978-1-61097-216-1 | Publisher : Pickwick Publications | Published : Eugene, OR
Empathy as a route to knowledge (2011-10-27)
Matravers, Derek
In: Coplan, Amy and Goldie, Peter eds. Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives (pp. 19-30)
ISBN : 9780199539956 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK
Pictorial representation and psychology (2011-10-13)
Matravers, Derek
In: Schellekens, Elisabeth and Goldie, Peter eds. The Aesthetic Mind: Philosophy and Psychology (pp. 427-438)
ISBN : 9780199691517 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : New York, USA
Imagination, fiction, and documentary (2011-06)
Matravers, Derek
In: Carroll, Noel and Gibson, John eds. Narrative, Emotion, and Insight. Studies of the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium (pp. 173-184)
ISBN : 9780271048574 | Publisher : Penn State University Press | Published : Pennsylvania, USA
Arousal theories (2011-02-07)
Matravers, Derek
In: Gracyk, Theodore and Kania, Andrew eds. Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music. Routledge Philosophy Companions (pp. 212-223)
ISBN : 9780415486033 | Publisher : Taylor & Francis | Published : Abingdon, UK and New York, USA
Film, literature and non-cognitive affect (2011)
Matravers, Derek and Coplan, Amy
In: Carel, Havi and Tuck, Greg eds. New Takes in Film-Philosophy (pp. 117-134)
ISBN : 978-0-230-25029-1 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Expression in the arts (2010-01)
Matravers, Derek
In: Goldie, Peter ed. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion. Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy (pp. 617-634)
ISBN : 9780199235018 | Publisher : Oxford University Press, USA | Published : Oxford, United Kingdom
Expression in Music (2007-09-27)
Matravers, Derek
In: Stock, Kathleen ed. Philosophers on Music: Experience, Meaning, and Work (pp. 95-116)
ISBN : 978-0-19-921334-4 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK
The Dematerialization of the art object (2007-03-22)
Matravers, Derek
In: Goldie, Peter and Schellekens, Elisabeth eds. Philosophy and Conceptual Art (pp. 18-32)
ISBN : 9780199285556 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK
Richard Wollheim (2007-01)
Matravers, Derek
In: Costello, Diarmuid and Vickery, Jonathan eds. Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers (pp. 140-143)
ISBN : 978-1-84520-319-1 | Publisher : Berg | Published : Oxford
Pictures, knowledge, and power: the case of T.J. Clark (2006)
Matravers, Derek
In: Kieran, Matthew and Lopes, Dominic eds. Knowing Art: Essays in Aesthetics and Epistemology. Philosophical Studies Series (107) (pp. 19-35)
ISBN : 9781402052644 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Dortrecht, Netherlands
The challenge of irrationalism and how not to meet it (2005-07)
Matravers, Derek
In: Kieran, Matthew ed. Contemporary debates in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Contemporary Debates in Philosophy
ISBN : 140510239X | Publisher : Blackwell | Published : Oxford, UK
Ought Painting to Die? (2005-03)
Matravers, Derek
In: Van Eck, Caroline and Winters, Edward eds. Dealing with the Visual: Art History, Aesthetics and Visual Culture. Histories of Vision
ISBN : 0 7546 3428 0 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK
Fictional assent and the (so-called) 'puzzle of imaginative resistance' (2003-04-17)
Matravers, Derek
In: Kieran, Matthew and Lopes, Dominic McIver eds. Imagination, philosophy and the arts (pp. 91-106)
ISBN : 415305160 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London, UK