Stephanie Ross



551 Lucas Hall
Curriculum Vitae



Stephanie Ross ("Taffy") received her B.A. from Smith College in 1971 and her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1977. Most of her research focuses on issues in the philosophy of art. In addition to a book on garden aesthetics, What Gardens Mean (University of Chicago Press, 1998), she has published articles on a range of topics including allusion, modern music, women and fiction, musical conducting, the death of art, landscape appreciation, and aesthetic qualities. She has also contributed invited encyclopedia entries and handbook articles on such topics as expression, the picturesque, and artistic style.

Taffy's present project is a book - tentatively titled "Two Thumbs Up: How Critics Aid Appreciation" - that will propose a neo-Humean account of our transactions with works of art. The book will explore the nature of critical disagreement and the prospects for realism in aesthetic by taking up questions like these: If you encounter a work of art and deem it to be amusing, colorful, bombastic, and original, does the work possess each of these qualities? Does it possess them in the same way? Can you convince others that this is the case? Is there a right way to appreciate each work of art? Are there experts who can guide us in these matters? What reason might we have to follow their advice? How should we seek them out? Might most of us manage only partial or imperfect appreciation of the art we encounter?

Representative Publications

"Ideal Observer Theories in Aesthetics" Philosophy Compass, Vol. 6 No. 8 (2011), pp. 513-522.

"Humean Critics: Real or Ideal?" The British Journal of Aesthetics Vol 48 No. 1 (2008), pp. 20-28.

"Gardens, Nature, Pleasure" in The Aesthetics of the Human Environment edited by Arnold Berleant and Allen Carlson (Broadview Press, 2007), pp. 252-272.

"Paradoxes and Puzzles: Appreciating Gardens and Urban Nature" Contemporary Aesthetics Vol. 4 (2006) (unpaginated electronic journal).

"Landscape Perception: Theory-Laden, Emotionally Resonant, Politically Correct," Environmental Ethics, Vol. 27 (2005), pp. 245-263.

"Style," in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics, ed. by Jerrold Levinson (Oxford University Press, 2003), 228-244.

"Gardens' Powers," The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 33, No. 3 (1999), 4-17.

"Conducting and Musical Interpretation," co-authored with Jennifer Judkins, British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 36 No. 1 (1996) 16-29.

"Gardens, Earthwork, and Environmental Art," in Landscape, Natural Beauty, and the Arts, ed. by Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 158-182.

"Women, Morality, and Fiction," co-authored with Jenefer Robinson, Hypatia, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1990), 76-90.

"Philosophy, Literature, and the Death of Art," Philosophical Papers, Vol. 18, No. 1 (1989), 95-115.

"The Picturesque: An Eighteenth-Century Debate," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 45, No. 2 (1987), 271-279.

"Chance, Constraint, and Creativity: The Awfulness of Modern Music," Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 19, No. 3 (1985), 21-35.

"Painting the Passions: Charles LeBrun's Conference on Expression," Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 45, No.1 (1984), 25-47.

"What Photographs Can't Do," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 41, No. 1 (1982), 5-17.

"Art and Allusion," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 40, No. 1 (1981), 59-70.
"Caricature," The Monist, Vol. 58, No. 2 (1974), 285-293.