“What is an author?” by Paisley Livingston

Philosophy Seminar Series: Thursday, 29 Mar 2012, 2-4pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: Paisley Livingston, Chair Professor and Head of Department, Department of Philosophy, Lingan University, Hong Kong; Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson


Although Michel Foucault’s essay on this question was published over 40 years ago, some of the opinions he advanced in it remain quite prominent in the literature. In my talk I present new criticisms of Foucauldian positions and propose an alternative explication of authorship. I identify historical and conceptual problems in Foucault. With reference to cases of ‘ghost’ and ‘gift’ authorship, I outline and defend an action-theoretical elucidation of both individual and joint authorship.

About the Speaker: Paisley Livingston (BA Stanford, PhD Johns Hopkins) is Chair Professor and Head of Philosophy at Lingnan University. Before moving to Hong Kong in 2001 he taught in the philosophy department at the University of Copenhagen. He was previously Full Professor at McGill University and also taught at Aarhus University, the University of Michigan, and Roskilde University. He has held research positions at CREA, l’École Polytechnique, Paris, and Zinbun, Kyoto, and was a guest professor at Siegen University in Germany.

His books include Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy (Oxford University Press), Art and Intention: A Philosophical Study (Oxford Clarendon Press), Models of Desire: René Girard and the Psychology of Mimesis (The Johns Hopkins University Press), Literature and Rationality: Ideas of Agency in Theory and Fiction (Cambridge University Press), and Literary Knowledge: Humanistic Inquiry and the Philosophy of Science (Cornell University Press). With Berys Gaut he co-editedThe Creation of Art: New Essays in Philosophical Aesthetics (Cambridge University Press), and with Carl Platinga,The Routledge Companion to Film and Philosophy (Routledge).

More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here. A list of past talks in the series can be found here.

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