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Curriculum Vitae

Aaron Smuts


Department of Philosophy • Rhode Island College • 600 Mount Pleasant Ave. • Providence, RI 02908
asmuts@gmail.com • http://www.aaronsmuts.com

Academic Appointments

Rhode Island College

2015-present     Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

2010-2015         Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy

Temple University

2007-10              Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy

Education

University of Wisconsin, Madison  (2002-2006)

2006     Ph.D., Department of Philosophy
            Dissertation: Laughing at Art: Humor, Art, and Morality (Chair: Noël Carroll)

University of Texas at Austin

1997-8  Ph.D. student, Department of Philosophy                     

University of Houston, TX                                                                                      

1997     BA Philosophy;  BA HistorySumma cum Laude

        

Areas of Specialization

Ethics | Philosophy of Art | Philosophy of Emotion

Areas of Competence

Philosophy of Agency | Political Philosophy | Philosophy of Religion | Bioethics

Publications

Books in Progress

Philosophy of Film: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge, under contract) [Web site]

Welfare, Meaning, and Worth (Routledge, under contract) [ToC and Introduction]

The Ethics of Imagination and Fantasy (OUP, under contract)


Edited Books in Progress

Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Love, co-edited with Chris Grau. (OUP, under contract)

Journal Articles

2015. "How Not to Defend Response Moralism" Journal of Aesthetic Education 49.4 19-38. [download]

2014"To be or Never to Have Been: Anti-Natalism and a Life Worth Living." Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17.4: 711-729. [download]

2014. "Cinematic." Nordic Journal of Aesthetics 46: 78-95. [download]

2013. "The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life." Southern Journal of Philosophy 51.4: 536-562. [download]

2013. "The Satirical and the Salacious: In Defense of Symmetric Comic Moralism." Journal of Aesthetic Education 47.4: 45-62.  [download]

2013. "Five Tests for What Makes a Life Worth Living." Journal of Value Inquiry. DOI: 10.1007/s10790-013-9393-x (print version forthcoming) [download

2013. "The Ethics of Singing Along: The Case of 'Mind of a Lunatic'." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71.1: 121-129. [download]

2012. "Less Good but not Bad: In Defense of Epicureanism about Death." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93.2: 197-227. [download]

2012. "The Power to Make Others Worship." Religious Studies 48.2: 221-237. [download]

2012. "It’s a Wonderful Life: Pottersville and the Meaning of Life.” Film and Philosophy 16: 15-33. [download]

2011.  "Grounding Moralism: Moral Flaws and Aesthetic Properties." Journal of Aesthetic Education 45.4: 34-53. [download]

2011.  "The Feels Good Theory of Pleasure." Philosophical Studies 155.2: 241-265. [download]

2011. "Immortality and Significance."  Philosophy and Literature 35.4: 134-149. [download]

2010. "'Pickman's Model': Horror and the Objective Purport of Photographs." Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4: 487-509. [download]

2010. "The Ghost is the Thing: Can Fiction Reveal Audience Belief?" Midwest Studies in Philosophy XXXIV: 219-239. [download]

2010. "The Ethics of Humor: Can Your Sense of Humor be Wrong?"  Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13.3: 333-347. [download]

2009. "Film as Philosophy: In Defense of the Bold Thesis." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67.4: 409-420. [download]

2009. "What is Interactivity?" Journal of Aesthetic Education 43.4: 53-74. [download]

2009. "Do Moral Flaws Enhance Amusement?" American Philosophical Quarterly 46.2: 151-163.[download]

2009. "Story Identity and Story Type." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67.1: 5-14. [download]

            [Reprinted in: The Aesthetics, Poetics, and Philosophy of Narrative.]

2008.  "Wings of Desire: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality." Film and Philosophy 13: 137-151. [download]

2008. "The Desire-Frustration Theory of Suspense." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66.3: 281-91. [download]

2007. "The Paradox of Painful Art."  Journal of Aesthetic Education  41.3: 59-77. [download]

            [Reprinted in: Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800.]

2007. "The Joke is the Thing: 'In the Company of Men' and the Ethics of Humor."  Film and Philosophy 11: 49-66. [download]

2006.  "V. F. Perkins' Functional Credibility and the Problem of Imaginative Resistance."  Film and Philosophy 10: 85-99. [download]

2005.  "Are Video Games Art?"  Contemporary Aesthetics 3: 1-15. [download]

            [Reprinted in: Perspectives on Contemporary Aesthetics]

2005.  "Anesthetic Experience."  Philosophy and Literature 29.1: 97-113. [download]

2002.  "Haunting the House from Within: Disbelief Mitigation and Spatial Experience." Film-Philosophy 6.7: 1-15. [download]

            [Reprinted in Dark Thoughts: Philosophic Reflections on Cinematic Horror.]

Book Chapters

2015. "Are Video Games Art?" In: Perspectives on Contemporary Aesthetics. Ed. Yuriko Saito (RISD Press). [Reprint]

2015. " Love and Death: The Problem of Resilience." In: Immortality and the Philosophy of Death. Ed. Michael Cholbi. Rowman and Littlefield. [download]

2014. "Is it Better to Love Better Things?" In: Love and Its Objects. Eds. Milligan, Maurer, and Pacovská (Palgrave). [download]

2013. "Painful Art and the Limits of Well-Being." In: Suffering Art Gladly. Ed. Jerrold Levinson (Palgrave). [download]

2011.  "Rubber Ring: Why do We Listen to Sad Songs?"  In: Narrative, Emotion, and Insight.  Eds. John Gibson and Noël Carroll (Penn State UP). [download]

2009. "Story Identity and Story Type." In:  The Aesthetics, Poetics, and Philosophy of Narrative.  Ed. Noël Carroll (Blackwell). [Reprint] [download]    

2008. "'The Little People': Power and the Worshipable." In: The Twilight Zone and Philosophy. Eds. Lester Hunt and Noël Carroll (Blackwell). [download]

2004.  "Helpless Spectators: Suspense in Videogames and Film."  In: Text Technology. (co-authored with Jonathan Frome). [download] 

2003.  "Haunting the House from Within: Disbelief Mitigation and Spatial Experience."  In: Dark Thoughts: Philosophic Reflections on Cinematic Horror. Ed. Steven Jay Schneider and Daniel Shaw (Scarecrow Press). [Reprint] [download]

2000.  "The Metaphorics of Hume's Gendered Skepticism." In: Feminist Interpretations of David Hume, ed. Anne Jaap Jacobson.  (Penn State UP). [download]


Encyclopedia and Companion Entries

2016. "L'Humor." In: Petite Dictionnaire des Valeurs  Eds. Julien Deonna and Emma Tieffenbach. [download]

2016. "The Ethics of Fantasy and Imagination." Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination. [download]

2014. "Normative Reasons for Love, part 1." Philosophy Compass. [download]

2014. "Normative Reasons for Love, part 2." Philosophy Compass[download]

2014. "Cognitive and Philosophical Approaches to Horror." In: The Blackwell Companion to the Horror Film. Ed.Harry Benshoff. [download]

2012.  "Popular Art."  The Continuum Companion to Aesthetics. [download]

2009. "Art and Negative Affect." Philosophy Compass  4.1 (2009): 39-55. [download]

2009. "The Paradox of Suspense." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [download]

2008. "Horror."  Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film, eds. Carl Plantinga and Paisley Livingston. [download]

2006. "Humor."  Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Steven Jay Schneider, (April). [download]

 

Reviews


2007.  “Review of Robert Yanal, Hitchcock as Philosopher.”  Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 65.3: 339-341. [download]

2003. “Film Theory Meets Video Games: Issues and Methodologies in Screenplay, eds. King and Krzywinska.” Film-Philosophy 7.54.  (6,000 words) [download]

2003. “Review of Simon Critchley, On Humour.”  Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 61.4: 414-416. [download]


Replies

2013. "Reply to Elliott: In Defense of the Good Cause Account." Film and Philosophy 17: 49-59.

2003. "Multiple Inheritance: A Reply to Dilworth."  Contemporary Aesthetics 1: 1-10.

Other Articles (misc: small pieces and film papers not included in the PDF version of my CV)

2009. "The Deer Hunter" in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die, ed. Steven Jay Schneider.  (NY: Barron's Educational Series).

2009. "Three Kings" in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die, ed. Steven Jay Schneider.  (NY: Barron's Educational Series).

2009. "G' Men" in 101 Gangster Movies You Must See Before You Die, ed. Steven Jay Schneider.  (NY: Barron's Educational Series).

2007. "Eric Rohmer" in 501 Directors, ed. Steven Jay Schneider. (NY: Barron's Educational Series).

2006. "Video Games and the Philosophy of Art."  American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter 25.1: 1-3.

2005. "Savage Love: Violence in Service of Romance in the Films of Dante Lam."  Asian Cinema Journal 16.1: 286-305.

2003. "The Attitudinal Endorsement Theory of Joke Appreciation."  Media / Culture (October): 1-12.

2002. "The Principles of Association: Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso (Deep Red, 1975)."  Kinoeye 2.11: 1-15.

2002. "Sympathetic Spectators: Roman Polanski’s Le Locataire (The Tenant, 1976)."  Kinoeye 2.3: 1-15  


Articles in Progress

"Love and Free Will" (complete draft, 10k words[download]
"A Life Worth Living" (complete draft, 10k words) [download]
"FiveTheses About Caring" (complete draft, 8k words) [download[handout]
"In Defense of the No-Reasons View of Love" (complete draft, 10k words) [download]
"Pleasurably Regarding the Pain of Fictional Others" (complete draft, 10k words) [download]
"How Much Should We Be Moved by the Fate of Anna Karenina?" (complete draft, 7k words)

An article on sloth (in progress)
An article on wasted lives (in progress)
An article on animal virtue (in progress)
An article on moral responsibility and dreams (in progress)
An article on emotion and understanding value (in progress)
An article on the normative assessment of the intensity of emotion (in progress)


Presentations at Conferences


2013. "Four Theses about Caring." Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (RoME VI). UC Boulder, August. [handout] [full paper

2012. "Merely Fictional Suffering." American Society for Aesthetics, annual meeting, October.[handout]

2012. "A Life Worth Living." Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (RoME V). UC Boulder, August. [handout]

2012. "Pleasurably Regarding the Pain of Fictional Others."  American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern division meeting, April. [handout

2011. "In Defense of the No-Reasons View of Love." Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (RoME IV). UC Boulder, August.

2011. "On Asking: 'Is it Better to Like Better Things?'" Aesthetics Anarchy III. Indiana University, Bloomington, May. [handout]

2011. "Cinematic"  American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern division meeting, April.

2010. "Cinematic." American Philosophical Association, Eastern division meeting, SPSCVA session, December.

2010. "Sad Songs." American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern division meeting, April.

2009. "'Pickman's Model: Horror and the Objective Purport of Photographs." American Philosophical Association, Eastern division meeting, SPSCVA session, December.

2009. "'Pickman's Model: Horror and the Objective Purport of Photographs." American Society for Aesthetics, Annual meeting, October.

2009. "The Feels Good Theory of Pleasure." American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern division meeting, April.

2009. "Pleasure, Pain and Art.” American Philosophical Association, Pacific division meeting, SPSCVA session, April.

2008. “The Feels Good Theory of Pleasure” Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (RoME I), August.

2008. "Film as Philosophy: In Defense of the Bold Thesis” American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern division meeting, April.

2007. "The Ghost is the Thing: Can Fiction Reveal Audience Belief?"  American Philosophical Association, Eastern division meeting, SPSCVA session, December.

2007. "In Defense of Comic Moralism” American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern division meeting, April.

2007. "In Defense of Comic Moralism” American Society for Aesthetics, Pacific division meeting, March.

2006. "The Paradox of Suspense and the Problem of Diminishing Returns." American Society for Aesthetics, Annual meeting, October.

2005. "Are Video Games Art?"  American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern division meeting, April.

Comments
2008. Comments on  Jill Fellows and Josh Johnston, "Moderate Moralism and Morally Defective Perspectives" American Society for Aesthetics, Annual meeting, November.

2008. Comments on  Peter Rinderle, "Why Immoral Works of Art Might Merit the Response Which They Prescribe" American Society for Aesthetics, Annual meeting, November.

2008. Comments on Carl Plantinga, Moving Viewers.  American Philosophical Association, Pacific division meeting,  American Society for Aesthetics section, April.

2007. Comments on a Grant Tavinor, "The Definition of Video Game."  American Society for Aesthetics, Annual meeting, November.

Other Presentations
2014. "It's a Wonderful Life." Agnes Scott College. (10/2/2014)

2013. "Pleasurably Regarding the Pain of Fictional Others." CUNY Graduate Center. (3/13/2013) [handout] [full paper]

2012. "The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life." Rhode Island Philosophical Society. (10/13/2012) [handout]

2012. "In Defense of the No-Reasons View of Love." European Philosophy of Love Group. (10/3/2012)

2012. " The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life." Marist College. (9/27/2012) [handout]

2012. "A Life Worth Living." University of St Andrews. (2/6/2012).

2011. "Pickman's Model: Horror and the Objective Purport of Photographs." Engaging Conversations. Rhode Island College. (5/18/11) [handout]

2011. "Is Death Bad for the One Who Dies?"  University of Massachusetts Medical School. (4/27/10) [handout]

2009.  Panel discussion on the work of Ryan Trecartin. Tyler School of Art, Temple University. (7/10/09)

2003. "Some Problems with Comic Moralism."  University of Wisconsin-Madison, Philosophy Colloquium. (5/1/03)

Workshops
2011. "Moral Evaluations of Involuntary Reactions." Experimental Philosophy of Free Will Boot Camp. Yale, August.

Service


Referee for:  American Philosophical Quarterly
Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Canadian Journal of PhilosophyJournal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (x6), British Journal of Aesthetics, Philosophy Compass (x2), Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Film and Philosophy (x2), Journal of Aesthetic Education, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophia, Philosophical Explorations, Philosophical Studies, and Southern Journal of Philosophy.

External reviewer for: MIT Press, SUNY Press, Broadview Press, Indiana UP, U Kentucky Press, Oxford University Press (x3), Blackwell, Routledge, and Westview Press.

Editorial: "Aesthetics and Ethics" category editor for PhilPapers (2012); Aesthetics Area Editor, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (July 2006 – July 2008); Editorial assistant for Noël Carroll's Comedy Incarnate: Buster Keaton, Physical Humor and Bodily Coping (Blackwell, 2006); Editorial assistant for Noël Carroll's Living in an Artworld.

Teaching:  McNair Program Fellowship Mentor (Temple University, summer 2009)

To RIC: Rhode Island College Council (2011-2016); Organized the bi-annual Howell Lecture (2012); Search Committee (2014, 2015, 2016).

 

Teaching

Rhode Island College, Department of Philosophy

Free Will and Moral Responsibility (Fall 2010; Fall 2011; S14)
Political Philosophy (Fall 2010)
Bioethics (Fall 2010; Fall 2011)
Philosophy of Religion (Spring 2011; Spring 2012; Summer I 2012)
Environmental Ethics (Spring 2011)
The Good Life (Spring 2011; Fall 2012)
Meta-Ethics (Fall 2011; F14)
Philosophy of Emotion (Spring 2012)
Philosophy Internship (Spring 2012)
Moral Responsibility (Fall 2012)
Philosophy of Death (Fall 2012; Fall 2013; F14)
Philosophy of Love (Spring 2013; S14)
Philosophy of Film (Spring 2013)
Philosophy of Art (Fall 2013)

Temple University, Department of Philosophy

Moral Philosophy (Fall 2007)
Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (Fall 2007)
Intellectual Heritage I [Great Books: ancient Greece to the Renaissance] (Fall 2007, Spring 2008)
Intellectual Heritage II [Great Books: Renaissance to the present] (Spring 2008)
Philosophy of Death (Spring 2008, Fall 2009 graduate independent study)
Philosophy of Film (Fall 2008)
Mosaic I: Humanities Seminar (Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010 honors)
Mosaic II: Humanities Seminar (Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009)
The Good Life: Well-being and Meaning (Spring 2009, Spring 2010 honors)
Philosophy of Love (Fall 2009)
Free Will and Moral Responsibility (Spring 2010)

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Philosophy

Reason in Communication [sophomore critical thinking] (Teaching Assistant)
Introduction to Philosophy (Teaching Assistant)

University of Texas at Austin, Department of Philosophy

Introduction to Philosophy (Teaching Assistant)
Contemporary Moral Problems (Teaching Assistant)