Jerrold Levinson
Distinguished University Professor
AOS: Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Music, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Mind
Office: 1108C Skinner Building

Jerrold Levinson (PhD, Michigan) is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy. His main philosophical interest is aesthetics, with secondary interests in metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of mind. Among the arts he is particularly concerned with philosophical problems arising in connection with music, film, and literature. Levinson has written extensively on the definition of art, expression in music, emotional response to art, the nature of literary interpretation, and the ontology of artworks. Topics of recent interest include intrinsic value, the nature of humor, sexual morality, jazz improvisation, the expressive specificity of jazz, the ethics of jokes, the analysis of artistic achievement, and the varieties of visual beauty.

Levinson has been visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, the University of London, the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), the Universite de Rennes (France), the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), the Unversidade de Lisboa (Portugal) and the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (Switzerland). Levinson is Past President of the American Society for Aesthetics, 2001-2003, was general editor of the Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics (Oxford UP, 2003), and was an invited fellow of the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University in September 2007. During academic year 2008-2009 Levinson was Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Kent in Canterbury (England), and during academic year 2010-2011 Levinson held an International Francqui Chair in the Institute of Philosophy of the Katholieke Universitet Leuven (Belgium). In 2010 Levinson was awarded the International Prize of the Societa Italiana d'Estetica. Professor Levinson is also an Affiliate Faculty Member of the School of Music at the University of Maryland.



Music, Art, and Metaphysics, 2nd ed. (Oxford UP, 2010)

The Pleasures of Aesthetics (Cornell UP, 1996)

Music in the Moment (Cornell UP, 1998)

Aesthetics and Ethics, ed. (Cambridge UP, 1998)

Aesthetic Concepts: Essays after Sibley, co-ed. (Oxford UP, 2001)

Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics, ed. (Oxford UP, 2003)

Contemplating Art (Oxford UP, 2006)

Art and Pornography, co-ed. (Oxford UP, 2012)

Suffering Art Gladly, ed. (Palgrave Macmillan 2013)

Aesthetic Pursuits (Oxford UP, forthcoming 2014)




"Why There Are No Tropes," Philosophy, 81, 2006

"Concatenationism, Architectonicism, and Appreciation of Music," Revue Internationale de Philosophie, Fall 2006

"Artworks as Artifacts", in E. Margolis & S. Laurence, eds. Creations of the Mind (Oxford UP, 2006)

"Aesthetic Contextualism", Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics, December 2007

"Music and Philosophy", Topoi, 28, 2009

"The Aesthetic Appreciation of Music", British Journal of Aesthetics, 49, 2009

"Artistic Worth and Personal Taste", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Summer 2010

"Plaisanteries immorales", Nouvelle Revue d'Esthetique, 6, 2010

"Beauty Is Not One: The Irreducible Variety of Visual Beauty", in P. Goldie & E. Schellekens, eds., The Aesthetic Mind (Oxford UP, 2011)

"Musical Beauty", Teorema, 31, 2012

"Popular Song as Moral Microcosm: Life Lessons from Jazz Standards", Philosophy 71, 2013

"Jazz Vocal Interpretation: a Philosophical Analysis", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Winter 2013

"Indication, Abstraction, Individualisation", in Art and Abstract Objects, C. Mag Uidhir, ed., (Oxford UP, 2013)