Two drafts about music

I’ve posted two draft papers,written with different collaborators, addressing different issues in the philosophy of music.

  • Tell Me Why This Isn’t a Cover: A paper with Cristyn Magnus, Christy Mag Uidhir, and Ron McClamrock, using lessons from the philosophy of cover songs to think about Taylor Swift’s project of rerecording her earlier work.
  • Music genres as historical individuals: A paper with Evan Malone and Brandon Polite, arguing that genres are historical individuals in a sense. That qualifier “in a sense” is carrying a lot of weight.


My paper Generative AI and photographic transparency now has a DOI and is on-line, occupying that liminal space of published but not quite which is characteristic of contemporary scholarship. The publisher has given me a link to the published version, but it won’t let you download or print it. (As always, you can grab the preprint from my website.)

Continue reading “Lincoln!”

Hot takes on new things

Like pretty much everybody else, I’ve been thinking about chatbots and generative AI. Unlike other things I write about, like scurvy, this is a hot topic. It’s hard to keep up using my usual strategy of rambling here on the blog, ruminating, and letting ideas simmer. Nevertheless, there are these two papers:

Some days I have no idea how to do this job

Reviewer #1 calls it “well-written, well-researched, clear and compelling.” They say it’s “good to go.” Reviewer #2 says that the “ideas are evasive and not well developed.” The verdict is Revise&Resubmit— that is, rejection with encouragement to resubmit with “major revisions.”

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It took me years to write it

Fifteen years ago, I conducted a small study testing the error-correction tendency of Wikipedia. Not only is Wikipedia different now than it was then, the community that maintains it is different. Despite the crudity of that study’s methods, it is natural to wonder what the result would be now. So I repeated the earlier study and found surprisingly similar results.

That’s the abstract for a short paper of mine that was published today at First Monday. It is a follow-up to my earlier work on the epistemology of Wikipedia.

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Further adventures in art pluralism

A short paper by Christy Mag Uidhir and me has been accepted by Estetika. It further develops and refines the view we’ve articulated in earlier work.

TITLE: Does art pluralism lead to eliminativism?

ABSTRACT: Art pluralism is the view that there is no single, correct account of what art is. Instead, art is understood through a plurality of art concepts and with considerations that are different for particular arts. Although avowed pluralists have retained the word “art” in their discussions, it is natural to ask whether the considerations that motivate pluralism should lead us to abandon art talk altogether; that is, should pluralism lead to eliminativism? This paper addresses arguments both for and against this move. We ultimately argue that pluralism allows one to retain the word “art”, if one wants it, but only in a loose, conversational sense. The upshot of pluralism is that talk of art in general cannot be asked to do theoretical and philosophical work.

Parallel thinking about rap and injustice

On Cardiff’s academic blog, Tareeq Jalloh blogs about his work on drill music and epistemic injustice. The post summarizes a recent paper of his about the way that, in the UK, lyrics from drill music are interpreted as confessions of criminal activity. In the US context, this has been called the rap on trial mentality. Evan and I take it as our speciment example in our recent paper.

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Three egocentric top-five lists

It is never clear to me which things I’ve written have had the most impact. Two easy answers: First, there is forall x. It exists in myriad versions now, customized and translated by people around the world. But that’s a textbook, so it isn’t readily comparable to all the other things. Second, nothing I have written has had too much impact. Still, one can make distinctions even in the low end.

So here are some metrics.

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Exchanging Marx for Lincoln

I just posted a draft of Generative AI and Photographic Transparency, a short paper that is about those things. It builds on two blog posts that I wrote a while ago, but fleshes out the discussion in several respects. Whereas the blog posts used pictures of Karl Marx as their specimen example, the paper instead considers pictures of Abraham Lincoln. The change lets me work in some quotes from William James and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

It is still a draft, so comments are welcome.