University of Nottingham
University of Leeds



Project studentships



Andrew Hirst

After studying at The University of Sheffield for 5 years (BA Philosophy, MA Cognitive Studies) Andrew is moving to Nottingham as a PhD student to work on methods in philosophical aesthetics: the challenge from the sciences. His interests primarily lie in evolutionary psychology and Darwinian theory, specifically sexual selection and it's potential for explaining both the reasons for art's existence and it's current function. He is also interested in recent research questioning the role of intuition in philosophical method and how this can be applied to philosophical aesthetics. Go to Andrew's blog.              

Levno Plato

Levno holds a Master of Arts degree with Honours in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh (2008) and a Master of Research degree from the University of Manchester (2009). His Master of Research thesis explored the relationship between aesthetic and moral emotions and its implications for a sentimentalist or response-dependence theory of value (supervised by Professor Peter Goldie and Professor Julian Dodd). He has published an undergraduate article on his Master of Arts research topic: 'The Role of Aesthetics and Emotions in Morality', Aporia: Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy, 26 (1), Spring 2008, pp. 55-64.

His doctoral research at the University of Leeds (supervised by Professor Matthew Kieran) is concerned with the nature of aesthetic value in general and in particular with an analysis of empirical and philosophical accounts of aesthetic experience, response, and judgement. His aim is to elucidate the significance of aesthetics in ethics and to investigate whether aesthetic value can sometimes be at the basis of moral value.
Central questions thus include:

  • What is the metaphysical relationship between aesthetic and moral qualities of an object?
  • Can we respond aesthetically to objects of moral evaluation?
  • Does an aesthetic judgement of an object reveal the object's moral character?
  • Can aesthetic emotions explain and justify certain moral judgements?
  • What are aesthetic obligations and what implications do they have for ethics?
  • Are 'thick' evaluative concepts that involve an aesthetic description and a moral evaluation (e.g. obscene, vile, disgusting, elegant) mere metaphors in moral judgement or do they indicate a metaphysical connection between the two value systems?

His doctoral studies are funded by the AHRC as part of the project: "Method in philosophical aesthetics: the challenge from the sciences".