Project Review 2015: Impact

The Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics and Human Nature Project is primarily funded by the European Commission’s Marie Curie grant, which explicitly includes the aim of facilitating knowledge transfer between academics and with the public.

Hence, in addition to–and, often, in connection with–our research projects, we have also embarked on a number of outreach efforts. This post focuses on our accomplishments on the impact front. (The previous year-in-review post focuses on our accomplishments on the research front.)

In Person

As mentioned in the previous post, we have collectively given eight research talks in many different places in order to share our research widely.

Even more excitingly, we gave two public talks about coffee to members of the public that included an interactive experimental component. Aaron gave a talk and conducted an informal study on gustatory testimony. (See also Aaron’s paper on taste-imony, co-authored with Jon Robson.) I gave a talk and conducted an informal study on the interaction between moral and gustatory value. (See also our paper “Morality and Aesthetics of Food”, forthcoming in Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics.) These public talks were supported by Cultural & Creative Industries Exchange and with assistance from Amanosi Ekenimoh and Nick Watts.

In Words

In connection with the public talks about coffee, we authored two public philosophy essays, published by Food&_. First, Aaron wrote an essay on latte art that weaves together philosophy, psychology, and practice. (In fact, one of Aaron’s speculations has now been independently investigated and received empirical support!) Second, Aaron and I–with the help of Nosi and Nick–wrote an essay on the interactive experimental aspects of the two public talks.

I authored two semi-academic how-to blog posts on replication and experimental philosophy and on the use of Amazon mechanical turk in experimental philosophy. Both posts are available on the widely-read Experimental Philosophy Blog.


Strangely enough, what made me the happiest about the Project in 2015 is not done by me (or Aaron).

Back in 2014, we hosted an early career workshop that aimed to bring together four senior scholars in philosophical aesthetics (Catherine Abell and Christy Mag Uidhir) and in experimental philosophy (Florian Cova and Jonathan Weinberg) along with seven junior scholars who are interested in the intersection of the two subfields. Our goal is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas between all participants, and to help the junior scholars professionally.

So, I was most ecstatic to attend the 2015 American Society of Aesthetics Meeting, where Kris Goffin–one of the junior scholars at the workshop–presented two exciting studies that he and Florian Cova did on the phenomenon of guilty pleasures. Be on the lookout for these interesting findings to appear in print soon!


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