sherri irvin

Sherri IrvinAssociate Professor and Director of Graduate Admissions
Ph.D., Princeton
Research areas: Aesthetics, Ethics

(405) 325-6589
office hours

Photo by Keisha Register

I specialize in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. My interests range widely, but I have written quite a bit on matters related to contemporary art and on aesthetic experience in everyday life. I have a strong interest in ethics, particularly the relevance of aesthetic considerations to moral agency. I am currently working on two books, both under contract with Oxford University Press. Immaterial: A Philosophy of Contemporary Art is a single-authored work in which I argue for a view of the ontology of contemporary artworks and demonstrate the view’s relevance for art appreciation and museum practice. Body Aesthetics is a multi-authored collection that treats the aesthetics of the body in relation to art, evolutionary theory, ethical considerations, race, age, gender, disability, sexuality and sport.

I am a member of the editorial boards of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Philosophy Compass.

I regularly teach an undergraduate course on philosophy and race, a topic in which I have a strong interest.

Courses (recent or upcoming):

3023 Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
3753 Philosophy and Race
4293/5293 Survey of Analytic Aesthetics
6593 Seminar: The Ontology of Art
6593 Seminar: The Philosophy of Contemporary Art
6970 Seminar: Social Construction and the Ontology of Art

Awards and honors:

  • Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellowship, University of Oklahoma, 2013-2014
  • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2013
  • Seventh Annual Parodi Lecture in the Philosophy of Art, Miami Art Museum and University of Miami, 2010
  • Irene Rothbaum Award for the Outstanding Assistant Professor in Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma, 2008
  • Museum Management and Curatorship Best Paper Award in the Curatorship category, 2006
  • American Society for Aesthetics John Fisher Memorial Prize, 2005


Click here for full CV (.pdf)

"Is Aesthetic Experience Possible?" Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind, ed. Gregory Currie, Matthew Kieran and Aaron Meskin (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 7500 words. (draft .pdf)

"Body." Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 3000 words. (draft .pdf)

"Contemporary Art: Ontology." Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 2000 words. (draft .pdf)

"Unreadable Poems and How They Mean." The Philosophy of Poetry, ed. John Gibson (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 8000 words. (draft .pdf)

"Sculpture." Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, 3rd ed., ed. Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes (Routledge, 2013), 606-615. (draft .pdf)

"Installation Art and Performance: A Shared Ontology." Art and Abstract Objects, ed. Christy Mag Uidhir (Oxford, 2013), 242-262. (draft .pdf)

"Artwork and Document in the Photography of Louise Lawler." Forthcoming in a special issue on The Media of Photography edited by Diarmuid Costello and Dominic McIver Lopes, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (2012), 79-90. (draft .pdf)

"Artworks, Objects and Structures." The Continuum Companion to Aesthetics, ed. Anna Christina Ribeiro (Continuum, 2012), 55-73. (draft .pdf)

"Motherhood and the Workings of Disgust." Maternal Subjects: Philosophical Inquiry into Pregnancy, Childbirth & Mothering, ed. Sheila Lintott and Maureen Sander-Staudt (Routledge, 2011), 79-90. (draft .pdf)

"Aesthetics as a Guide to Ethics." Aesthetics Today: A Reader, ed. Robert Stecker and Theodore Gracyk (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 370-377. (draft .pdf)

"Theatrical Performances and the Works Performed." Journal of Aesthetic Education 43 (fall 2009), 37-50. (draft .pdf)

"Aesthetics and the Private Realm." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (2009), 226-230. (draft .pdf)

"Aesthetics of the Everyday." A Companion to Aesthetics (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy), 2nd edition, ed. Stephen Davies, Kathleen Higgins, Robert Hopkins, Robert Stecker and David Cooper (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 136-139. (draft .pdf)

"The Ontological Diversity of Visual Artworks." New Waves in Aesthetics, ed. Kathleen Stock and Katherine Thomson-Jones (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 1-19. (.pdf)

"The Pervasiveness of the Aesthetic in Ordinary Experience." British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2008), 29-44. (draft .pdf)

"Scratching an Itch." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (2008), 25-35. (draft .pdf)

"Forgery and the Corruption of Aesthetic Understanding." Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (2007), 283-304. (draft .pdf)

"L’œuvre d’art et l’intention de l’artiste." Dictionnaire d'esthétique et de philosophie de l'art, ed. Jacques Morizot and Roger Pouivet (Paris: Colin, 2007), 251-254. (draft .pdf)

"Museums and the Shaping of Contemporary Artworks." Museum Management and Curatorship 21 (2006), 143-156. (draft .pdf)

"Authors, Intentions and Literary Meaning." Philosophy Compass 1 (2006), 114-128. (.pdf)

"The Artist’s Sanction in Contemporary Art." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (2005), 315-326. (draft .pdf)

"Appropriation and Authorship in Contemporary Art." British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (2005), 123-137. (draft .pdf)

"Interprétation et description d’une œuvre d’art." Philosophiques 32 (2005), 135-148. (.pdf)

"Artworks and Representational Properties." Dialogue 43 (2004), 627-644. (draft .pdf)

"Capacities, Context and the Moral Status of Animals." Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (2004), 61-76. (draft .pdf)

"Does Contemporary Art Have Cognitive Value?" AE: Canadian Aesthetics Journal 8 (2003).

Work Under Review or in Progress:

Immaterial: A Philosophy of Contemporary Art, a single-authored monograph under contract with Oxford University Press. (chapter 1 draft .pdf) (chapter 2 draft .pdf).

Body Aesthetics, an edited collection under contract with Oxford University Press.

"Setting an Example: The Aesthetic Dimension of Moral Activity." 5000 words (draft .pdf)

"Sex Objects and Sexy Subjects: A Feminist Reclamation of Sexiness," with Sheila Lintott. To appear in Body Aesthetics, ed. Sherri Irvin (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 9000 words. (draft .pdf)