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John Douglas Hyman


John Douglas Hyman - University of Oxford, UK

John Hyman is Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Oxford.  Hyman received his BA, BPhil and DPhil at the University of Oxford, and was elected to a Fellowship at The Queen’s College in 1988. He has edited the British Journal of Aesthetics since 2008. He held a Getty Scholarship at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, in 2001-2002, a Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2002-2003, and a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship in 2010-2012. He was Professeur Invité in the UFR de Philosophie at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) in 2014-2015, and will be a Sackler Scholar at the Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies, Tel-Aviv, in 2018.



My research is mainly focused on philosophy of action, epistemology and philosophy of art.  In my most recent book Action, Knowledge, and Will (OUP, 2015), I argue that human action has four irredicibly different dimensions—physical, psychological, ethical, and intellectual—which philosophers since the seventeenth century have tended to confuse or amalgamate in the idea of the will.  Cutting across the branches of philosophy, from logic and epistemology to ethics and jurisprudence, I argue that thinking about agency in four dimensions deepens our understanding of human conduct and its causes.

Regarding the philosophy of art, my book The Objective Eye (Chicago Univ. Press, 2006), presents an integrated theory of representation and realism in the visual arts. The main topics I discuss are the nature of colours and shapes, their representation in the visual arts, and the concept of realism in the history and theory of art. As a whole, the book progresses from pure philosophy to applied philosophy, gradually engaging more directly with the history of art.  My current project in the philosophy of art is a book-length assessment of the claims of history and science (especially mathematics, optics, evolutionary biology, psychology, and neuroscience) as sources for advancing our understanding and appreciation of art and architecture. The provisional title of the book is Art and Memory.