Conference - Evaluative Perception: Aesthetic, Ethical, Normative


An international conference on the topic of ‘Evaluative Perception: Aesthetic, Ethical, and Normative’ is to be held at the University of Glasgow on the 13th-15th of September 2013, under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience.

A cat and a baby looking at a fish in a fish bowl each with different contemplative looks on their face.Keynote Speakers

Professor Robert Audi (University of Notre Dame)
Professor Dominic Lopes (University of British Colombia)
Dr Jack Lyons (University of Arkansas)
Dr Sarah McGrath (Princeton University)
Professor Paul Noordhof (University of York)
Professor Susanna Siegel (Harvard University)
Dr Kathleen Stock, University of Sussex)
Dr Dustin Stokes (University of Utah)
Dr Pekka Väyrynen (University of Leeds)

Speakers Selected from the Call for Papers

Anna Farennikova (Australian National University)
Michael Lacewing (Heythorp College)
Heather Logue (University of Leeds)
Michael Milona (University of Southern California)

Conference Organisers

Dr Anna Bergqvist (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Dr Robert Cowan (University of Glasgow)

Conference Theme

After long having been neglected, the possibility of evaluative perception is once again being given serious philosophical consideration. For example, in aesthetics, there has been renewed interest in the possible relations between imagination and aesthetic perception, and a growing discussion of the Wollheimian idea that the phenomenon of seeing-in, which is apparently typical of pictorial experience, marks out a distinctive form of perception (e.g., Lopes (1996, 2005), Hopkins (1998)), Pettersson (2011)). Elsewhere, in meta-ethics, there has been a flurry of debate around the topic of whether ordinary human agents could perceive the instantiation of ethical properties (e.g., Väyrynen (2008), McBrayer (2010), Dancy (2010)). These developments have complemented a long-running tradition of Aristotelian interest in ethical perception, the most famous contemporary proponent of which is John McDowell (1998). Finally, and related to this, is the development of interest in the idea that human agents could perceive reasons (e.g., Church (2010)).

At least some of these developments have, it seems, been partly inspired by progress in the philosophy of perception. For example, the emergence of the high-level view about the content of perception (e.g., Siegel (2006)) has arguably given credence to the view that conceptually sophisticated perception might be possible. In addition, discussions about the possibility of cognitive penetration, i.e., the idea that the cognitive states and characters of perceptual agents can alter how they perceive the world (e.g., Macpherson (2011)), arguably provide proponents of evaluative perception with the beginnings of a psychological account of how evaluative perception might be possible.

In light of these developments, the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience at the University of Glasgow is convening a conference on the topic of Evaluative Perception, where ‘evaluative’ is being understood so as to include aesthetic, ethical, and normative perception. The central questions to which the conference will be addressed include:

  1. Are there good reasons for thinking that evaluative perception is possible? Is this limited to any particular sensory modality/ies?
  2. Is there anything distinctive about evaluative perception, or particular types of evaluative perception?
  3. What are the epistemological consequences of evaluative perception?

As well as these questions, the topic of the conference will connect with broader discussions and debates in aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, and the philosophy of perception, e.g., the possibility of cognitive penetration, amodal perception, and cross-modal perception, the admissible contents of experience, the relationship between imagination and perception, the impact of so-called ‘framing effects’ on perceptual experience, whether perception can be said to be rational and whether perception could be the conclusion of an argument, the role of experience in aesthetic appreciation, and the prospects for various approaches in ethics, e.g., ethical intuitionism and virtue ethics.

Conference Support

The conference organisers gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Aristotelian Society,
British Society of Aesthetics, Mind Association, and Scots Philosophical Association.

Any enquiries should be addressed to:

Dr Anna Bergqvist
Dr Robert Cowan

Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Submissions should:

  1. be in English
  2. include an Abstract (no more than 250 words) and a Paper that can be presented in approximately 45 minutes
  3. be prepared for blind review
  4. be sent as a PDF to<> no later than July 1st 2013 (all submissions will be acknowledged)

Papers will be double-blind reviewed. Notifications will be sent out by the 1st of August 2013.

The conference workshop is supported by the Mind Association who has first refusal on the edited volume for their Occasional Series published by Oxford University Press. The papers selected through this call cannot be guaranteed publication. Subsequent to the workshop, a book-manuscript will be submitted to OUP and all papers will be individually refereed.

Accepted speakers will have their conference fee waived. Food and accommodation for the duration of the conference will be provided. Travel costs of a value up to £400 will also be covered.

Any enquiries should be addressed to:

Dr Anna Bergqvist
Dr Robert Cowan


Details forthcoming.


Registration Fee

Basic: £35
Basic + Conference Dinner: £65
Basic + All Meals: £170

For other options please contact the organisers Dr Anna Bergqvist or Dr Robert Cowan.

Practical information

Practical information

Conference venue

The conference will take place in a venue to be decided at the University of Glasgow


Several other hotels in Glasgow offer good value for money - please check those recommended by the University of Glasgow' s Conference and Visitor Services Office.

Maps and travel

Maps and travel information are available on the University's web pages

Travel Directions:

  1. From Edinburgh Airport to Glasgow city centre
    Take the airport bus to Edinburgh Waverley (main train station). Take a train from here to either Glasgow Queen Street Station or Glasgow Central Station. Both are in Glasgow city centre. (For the remainder of the journey see 4 for the conference venue).
  2. From Glasgow Airport to Glasgow city centre
    An airport bus runs to Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow city centre (right next to Queen Street Station) every 10 minutes. However, if you are going to either the conference venue, it makes more sense to take the 747 bus that runs every 20 minutes, see 3.
  3. From Glasgow Airport to the conference venue
    Bus 747 runs every 20 minutes and takes the long way round to the city centre, passing close by the conference venue. Get off at the Western Infirmary, right after Kelvingrove Park.
  4. From Glasgow city centre to the conference venue
    Take the subway from Buchanan subway station. From Queen Street Station, follow the subway signs through the underground passage. Get off at Hillhead.

For more information about how to get to Glasgow or how to get around town, please visit the University of Glasgow website.

Postgraduate bursaries

Details forthcoming.