Matthew Kieran


Aesthetics and Philosophy of the Arts; Creativity; Character; Ethics; Philosophical Psychology.

I am a Professor of Philosophy and the Arts. My research interests primarily range over creativity, art, psychology and ethics. I am the author of many articles and books including Revealing Art (Routledge) which has been translated into Korean and Chinese.

I have spoken at Columbia University, the University of Maribor, the University of Geneva, the University of British Columbia, the University of Oxford, Tate Britain, the National Icelandic Visual Arts Awards and Miami-Basel International Art Fair.

I am a member of the 'Science in Culture' advisory board and the Peer Review College for the Arts and Humanities Research Council and I am a past chair and vice-president for the British Society of Aesthetics. I am a past visiting professor of the University of British Columbia, Canada, past visiting fellow of Rhodes University, South Africa, and have been nominated for the THES Young Academic of the Year Award.

I was a Co-Investigator for the large scale AHRC project "Method in Philosophical Aesthetics: Challenges from the Sciences", 2009 - 2012, and a Leverhulme Research Fellow 2013 -14.

Research Interests

Aesthetics and Philosophy of the Arts




Philosophical Psychology


Selected Publications

 "Creativity as a Virtue of Character" in Elliot Samuel Paul and Scott Barry Kaufman (eds), The Philosophy of Creativity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

"The Vice of Snobbery: Aesthetic Knowledge, Justification and Virtue in Art Appreciation", Philosophical Quarterly, 60: 239, 2010, pp. 243-263.

"Artistic Character, Creativity and the Appraisal of Conceptual Art", Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens (eds.), Philosophy and Conceptual Art, pp. 197-215, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007

Revealing Art, (London: Routledge, 2005)

"On Obscenity: The Thrill and Repulsion of the Morally Prohibited", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LXIV (1), 2002, pp. 31-56.

Downloadable versions of papers freely available via White Rose Research Online.

See Matthew's personal page for full information.

Other Publications



'There are great riches here: from the interviews with senior media executives . . . to the discussion of popular television culture's celebration of celebrity'. John Lloyd, Prospect

'This profoundly original and learned book creatively illuminates citizens' moral reasoning about the media, culture, and government. A tour de force of nuanced interdisciplinary scholarship, Media & Values offers wide-ranging insights into the responsibilities of the communication industry, the justifications and consequences of telecoms regulation-and the nature of the good society itself.' Robert M. Entman, J. B. and M. C. Shapiro Professor of Media & Public Affairs, George Washington University

'This is a very important book-a 'must read.' The intellectual scope is astonishing: the problem it addresses is quite crucial-namely the moral incoherence of the contemporary world and the way that this shows up in empirical research into individual attitudes/opinions/tastes/judgements. It is clearly a cumulative critical reassessment of the implications of research going back to the sixties. It's original, powerful, thoughtful and spot-on as a diagnosis of the times and the very real issues we confront today. A major piece of work.' Paddy Scannell, Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan

'...a fine discussion of one of the most important topics in aesthetics: the value of art. Its arguments and conclusions are both original and accessible to a broad audience.' Robert Stecker, Central Michigan University USA

'Matthew Kieran offers an urbane, broad-minded, humanistic vision of the enduring values of art from Poussin to Matisse to conceptualism, delighting in the multi-facetedness of art and quietly admonishing those with moralistic or fashion-driven prejudices.' Peter Lamarque, University of York UK

'Kieran is a philosopher with the nerve of an art critic, who, in the manner of Arthur Danto, comfortably exchanges his roles...[RA] brings forth with vivid detail the durable effects of artworks ... makes a strong case for the complexity and power of art.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 64 (2): 285-87

'In this ground clearing book Matthew Kieran provides the first sustained look at this topic by an analytic philosopher. With clarity and penetration, he examines issues ranging from journalism to pornography. His views may be sometimes controversial, but they are always stimulating and thoughtfully argued. This book opens new territory for philosophy. I predict that Kieran's book will launch a generation of media and philosophy courses throughout the English-speaking world.' Professor Noel Carroll, Temple University, USA

Edited Collections

'These lively debates by some of today's most prominent philosophers of art explore the multiple ways the arts engage our cogntion, imagination, emotions, and even our moral sensibilities' Susan Feagin, Temple University

'By virtue of its astute selection of topics and distinguished contributors, this volume will help to advance debate on a number of central issues in contemporary aesthetics' Paisley Livingston, Lingnan University

'This collection is a welcome addition to the aesthetics literature, one which effectively captures the substance of the discipline and the activity of some of its foremost representatives and practitioners, and bears witness to the preoccupations of aesthetics at the beginning of the twenty-first century.' British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (3): 313-15.

  • Guest editor, Philosophical Papers, Special Issue on Narrative Understanding, Vol. 32, No. 3, Nov. 2003

'Whilst the overall quality of the essays struck me as good,...what impressed me even more was their uniform ability to engage and challenge the reader. The present collection can only add to what promises to be a fascinating chapter in philosophy as its [imagination theory] rehabilitation continues.' Mind 113 (451): 559-62

Articles in Edited Collections

  • "The Fragility of Aesthetic Knowledge: Aesthetic Psychology and Aesthetic Virtues" in Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens (eds.), The Aesthetic Mind: Philosophy and Psychology (Oxford: OUP, forthcoming October 2011).
  • "Emotions, Art and Immorality" in Peter Goldie (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion (Oxford: OUP, 2010).
  • "Artistic Character, Creativity and the Appraisal of Conceptual Art", in P. Goldie and E. Schellekens (eds.), Conceptual Art (Oxford: OUP, 2007).
  • "A Conceptual Map of Issues in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art" in Matthew Kieran (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)
  • "Art and the Limitations of Experience" in Ben Rogers (ed.), Is Nothing Sacred? (London: Routledge, 2004)
  • "In Search of a Narrative" in Matthew Kieran and Dominic McIver Lopes (eds.), Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts (London: Routledge, 2003), pp. 69-88.
  • "Art and Morality" in Jerrold Levinson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook to Aesthetics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 451-470.
  • "Forbidden Knowledge: The Challenge of Cognitive Immoralism" in S. Gardner and J. Bermudez (eds.), Art and Morality (London: Routledge, 2002), pp. 56-73.
  • "The Value of Art" in Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes (eds.) Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (London: Routledge, 2001; 2nd edn. 2005).
  • "French Existential Ethics and the Creation of Value", in James Giles (ed.), French Existentialism: Consciousness, Ethics and Relations with Others (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999), pp. 59-86.

Journal Articles

  • "Why Ideal Critics are not Ideal: Aesthetic Character, Motivation and Value", British Journal of Aesthetics, 48 (3), 2008, pp. 278-294.
  • "Art, Morality and Ethics: On the (Im)moral Character of Art Works and Inter-Relations to Artistic Value", Brian Weatherson (ed.) Philosophy Compass , Vol. 1 No 2 Feb 2006 pp 129-43.
  • "On Obscenity: The Thrill and Repulsion of the Morally Prohibited", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. LXIV, No. 1, Jan. 2002, pp. 31-56.
  • "Pornographic Art", Philosophy and Literature, Vol. 25, No. 1, April 2001, pp. 31-45.
  • "In Defence of the Ethical Evaluation of Narrative Art", British Journal of Aesthetics, Jan. 2001, pp. 26-38 (anthologised in J. Young (ed.) Aesthetics: Critical Concepts in Philosophy London : Routledge, 2005).
  • "Privacy, the Public and Journalism: Towards an Analytic Framework", co-authored w. D. Morrison and M. Svennevig, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2000, pp. 145-169.
  • "Aesthetic Value: Beauty, Ugliness and Incoherence", Philosophy, Vol. 72, No. 2, July 1997, pp. 383-399.
  • "News Reporting and the Ideological Presumption", Journal of Communication, Vol. 47, No. 2, 1997, pp. 79-96. 
  •  "A Divine Intimation: Appreciating Natural Beauty", Journal of Value Inquiry, vol. 31, No. 1, 1997, March, pp. 77-95.
  • "Regulating for Changing Values" Broadcasting Standards Commission Working Paper 1, co-authored w. D. Morrison and M. Svennevig (London: BSC, 1997).
  • "Art, Imagination and the Cultivation of Morals", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 54, no. 4, 1996, pp. 337-352.
  • "In Defence of Critical Pluralism", British Journal of Aesthetics , vol. 36, no. 3, 1996, pp. 239-251.
  •  "The Impoverishment of Art", British Journal of Aesthetics , vol. 35, no. 1., 1995, pp 15-25.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>