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Peter Kivy

Peter Kivy
Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information
Office: Seminary 1 - 005
Phone: (732) 932-9861


Ph.D., Columbia
Aesthetics, Early Modern Philosophy
Research and Professional Activities

My field of specialization is aesthetics and the philosophy of art. My early work in this area was centered on eighteenth-century British aesthetics, and, particularly (but not exclusively) Francis Hutcheson, on whom I wrote a book; and I still maintain an interest in it. In the early seventies, I worked in the general area of what might be called Anglo-American Analytic Aesthetics, doing a good deal of writing (including a monograph) on the problems surrounding the late Frank Sibley's seminal paper, "Aesthetic Concepts."

In the late seventies, I turned my hand, as a kind of interlude between projects, to the philosophical problem of the emotions in music. The philosophy of music became, from that time onwards, my principal interest, although I still work in the eighteenth century, and in contemporary Analytic Aesthetics as well. The musical project, however, has possessed me, and resulted in the publication of five books, dealing respectively with musical expression, musical representation, opera, pure instrumental music, and musical performance.

In my book, Philosophies of Arts (1997), I departed somewhat from the musical problems, and tried to deal with issues centering on how the various fine arts differ.  This led me to become deeply interested in the philosophy of literature, which has been occupying most of my time for the past few years, and resulted in the publication of two books: The Performance of Reading (2006) and Antithetical Arts (2008).  A third book on the subject, Once-Told Tales, is forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell, as is a collection of essays on the aesthetics of music from Oxford University Press.
My next major project is to be a book on the concept of genius and its scientific “critique.”  It is now in its preliminary stages.


  • Speaking of Art (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973).
  • Francis Hutcheson's Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design, edited and collated with an introduction The Hague: Martinus Nijoff, 1973).
  • Thomas Reid's Lectures on the Fine Arts, transcribed from the manuscript with an introduction (The Hague: Martinus Nijoff, 1973).
  • The Seventh Sense: A Study of Francis Hutcheson's Aesthetics, and its Influence in Eighteenth-Century Britain (New York: Burt Franklin, 1976).
  • The Corded Shell: Reflections on Musical Expression (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980).
  • Sound and Semblance: Reflections on Musical Representation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984).
  • Osmin's Rage: Philosophical Reflections on Opera, Drama and Text (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988).
  • Sound Sentiment: An Essay on Musical Emotions (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989).
  • Music Alone: Philosophical Reflections on the Purely Musical Experience (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990).
  • Sound and Semblance (2nd ed.; Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), with a new afterword by the author.
  • Essays on the History of Aesthetics (Rochester: Rochester University Press, 1992), edited with an introduction.
  • The Fine Art of Repetition: And Other Essays in the Philosophy of Music (London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), the collected essays on music of Peter Kivy.
  • Authenticities: Philosophical Reflections on Musical Performance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).
  • Philosophies of Arts: An Essay in Differences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
  • Osmin's Rage: Philosophical Reflections on Opera, Drama, and Text, second edition, with a new preface and concluding chapter (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988).
  • New Essays on Musical Understanding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), more collected essays of Peter Kivy.
  • The Possessor and the Possessed: Handel, Mozart, Beethoven and Idea of Musical Genius (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001).
  • Introduction to a Philosophy of Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
  • The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson and Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics, second edition, revised and enlarged (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003).
  • The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), edited with an Introduction.
  • The Performance of Reading: an Essay in the Philosophy of Literature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
  • Music, Language, and Cognition: And Other Essays in the Philosophy of Music, further collected essays of Peter Kivy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • Antithetical Arts: On the Ancient Quarrel Between Literature and Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). Chinese Translation of The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics, trans. Peng Feng (Nan Jing: Nan Jing University Press, 2008).
  • Korean Translation of The Possessor and the Possessed (London: Sam & Parkers, and Yale University Press, 2010).
Translations of my books:
  • Nuevos ensayos sobre la comprehension musical, trans. Veronica Canales (Barcelona: Paids, 2005). Spanish translation of New Essays on Musical Understanding.
  • Filosofia della musica: Un'introduzione, trans. Alessandro Bertinetto (Torino:Giulio Einaudi, 2007). Italian translation of Introduction to a Philosophy of Music.
  • Estetica: Fundamentos e questoes de Filosofia da Arte, trans. Euclides Luiz Calloni (Sao Paulo: Paulus, 2008). Portuguese translation of The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics.
  • "Stimulus Context and Satiation," with Robert W. Earl and Edward L. Walker, Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, IL (1956).
  • "Charles Darwin on Music," Journal of the American Musicological Society, XI (1959).
  • Herbert Spencer and a Musical Dispute," Music Review, XXIII (1964).
  • "Mainwaring's Handel: its Relation to English Aesthetics," Journal of the American Musicological Society, XVII (1964).
  • "Child Mozart as an Aesthetic Symbol," Journal of the History of Ideas XVIII (1967).
  • "Hume's Standard of Taste: Breaking the Circle," British Journal of Aesthetics, VII (1967).
  • "Aesthetic Aspects and Aesthetic Qualities," Journal of Philosophy, LXV (1968).
  • "Lectures on the Fine Arts: an Unpublished Manuscript of Thomas Reid's" Journal of the History of Ideas, XXXI (1970).
  • "What Mattheson Said," Music Review, XXXIV (1973).
  • "Ends, Means, and the Quality of Life," Ecology and the Quality of Life, ed. Sylvan Kaplan and Evelyn Kivy-Rosenberg (Springfield: Charles C. Thomas, 1973).
  • "Aesthetics and Rationality," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XXXIV (1975).
  • "What makes 'Aesthetic' Terms Aesthetic?," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, XXXVI (1975).
  • "The Logic of Taste: Reid and the Second Fifty Years," Thomas Reid: Critical Interpretations, ed. Stephen F. Barker and Tom L. Beauchamp (Philadelphia: Philosophical Monographs, 1976).
  • "A Logic of Taste - The First Fifty Years," Aesthetics: A Critical Anthology, ed. George Dickie and Richard Sclanfani (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1977).
  • " 'Seems' and 'Is'," Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Aesthetics, Vol. II (Bucharest, 1977).
  • "The Point of it All: An Answer to Professor Hyde," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, XXXIX (1978).
  • "Thomas Reid and the Expression Theory of Art," The Monist, LXI (1978).
  • "Aesthetic Concepts: Some Fresh Considerations," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XXXVI (1979).
  • Introduction to Charles Burney's Account of the Musical Performances in Westminister-Abbey (New York: Da Copa Press, 1979).
  • "Voltaire, Hume, and the Problem of Evil," Philosophy and Literature, III (1979).
  • "A Failure of Aesthetic Emotivism," Philosophical Studies, XXXVIII (1980).
  • "Melville's Billy and the Secular Problem of Evil: the Worm in the Bud," The Monist, LXIII (1980).
  • "The Myth of Artistic Singularity," Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Aesthetics (Dubrovnik, 1980).
  • "Socrates' Discovery: Some Historical Reflections," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XXXIX (1981).
  • "Secondary Senses and Aesthetic Concepts: A Reply to Professor Tilghman," Philosophical Investigations, IV (1981).
  • "Sound Sentiment: A Reply to Donald Callen," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XLI (1983).
  • Hume's Neighbor's Wife: An Essay in the Evolution of Hume's Aesthetics," British Journal of Aesthetics, XXIII (1983).
  • "Mattheson as a Philosopher of Art," The Musical Quarterly, LXX (1984).
  • "Mozart and Monotheism: An Essay in Spurious Aesthetics," The Journal of Musicology, II (1983).
  • "Platonism in Music: A Kind of Defense," Grazer Philsophische Studien, XIX (1983).
  • "Aesthetics," The Harvard Dictionary of Music (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986).
  • "It's Only Music: So What's to Understand?," Journal of Aesthetic Education, XX (1986).
  • "Platonism in Music: Another Kind of Defense," American Philosophical Quarterly, XXIV (1987).
  • "Orchestrating Platonism," Festerschrift for Goren Hermeren (Lund, Sweden, 1988).
  • "Live Performances and Dead Composers: On the Ethics of musical Interpretation," Human Agency (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988.)
  • "On Historically Authentic Performance," The Monist, LXXI (1988).
  • "Seeing (and so forth) is Believing (among other things): On the significance of Thomas Reid for the History of Aesthetics," The Philosophy of Thomas Reid, ed. Melvin Dalgarno and Eric Matthews (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1989).
  • "Something About Hanslick," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XLVI (1988).
  • "Hearing the Emotions," Philosophic Exchange, Nos. 19-20 (1988-89).
  • "What was Hanslick Denying?," The Journal of Musicology, VIII (1990).
  • "A New Music Criticism?," The Monist, LXXIII (1990).
  • "Opera Talk: A Philosophical Phantasie," Cambridge Opera Journal, II (1990).
  • "The Profundity of Music," Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Aesthetics (Nottingham, 1990).
  • "Science and Aesthetic Appreciation," Midwest Studies in Philosophy vol. XVI: Philosophy and the Arts, ed. Peter A. French, Theodore E. Uehling, Jr. and Howard K. Wettstein (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991).
  • "Is Music an Art?," Journal of Philosophy, LXXVIII (1991).
  • "Kant and the Affektenlehre: What He Said, and What I wish He Had Said," Kant's Aesthetics: North American Kant Society Studies in Philosophy, vol. 1, ed. Ralf Meerbote (Atascadero, California: Ridgeview, 1991).
  • "Oh Boy! You Too! Aesthetic Emotivism Reexamined," The Philosophy of A. J. Ayer: The Library of Living Philosophers, vol. XXI, ed. L.E. Hahn (La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1992).
  • "Listening: A Response to Alperson, Davies and Howard," Journal of Aesthetic Education, XXVI (1992).
  • "Hutcheson's Idea of Beauty: Simple or Complex?," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, L (1992).
  • "Composers and 'Composers': A Response to David Rosen," Cambridge Opera Journal, IV (1992), pp.179-186.
  • "From Ideology to Music: Leonard Meyer's Theory of Style-Change" (review article on Meyer's Style and Music), Current Musicology, IL (1992), pp. 66-80.
  • "How Did Mozart Do It?: Living Conditions in the World of Operas," Peter Kivy, The Fine Art of Repetition And Other Essays in the Philosophy of Music (London and New York: Cambridge University, 1993).
  • "How Did Mozart do It?: Replies To Some Critics," Kivy, The Fine Art of Repetition.
  • "The Fine Art of Repetition," Kivy, The Fine Art of Repetition.
  • "Auditors' Emotions: Contention, Concession and Compromise," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, LI (1993).
  • "Differences" (Presidential Address to American Society for Aesthetics), Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, LI (1993), pp. 123-132.
  • "Speech, Song, and the Transparency of Medium: A Note on Operatic Metaphysics," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 52 (1994).
  • "Hume's 'Sentiments' in the Essay of Taste," Aesthetic Matters: Essays presented to Gran Srbom on his 60th Birthday, ed. Lars-Olaf Ahlberg and Tommie Zaine (Uppsala, 1994).
  • "From Literature as Imagination to Literature as Memory: A Historical Sketch," Institutions of Art: Reconsiderations of George Dickie's Philosophy, ed. Robert J. Yanal (University Park: Penn State Press, 1994).
  • "Feeling the Musical Emotions," British Journal of Aesthetics, 39 (1995).
  • "Kant, Music, and the Modern System of the Arts," Paradigms of Philosophy, ed. Liubava Moreva and Igor Yevlampiev (St Petersburg, Russia, 1995).
  • "On the Banality of Literary Truths," Philosophic Exchange, Number 28, (1998).
  • "Gurney, Edmund," Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), vol. 2, pp. 342-346.
  • "How to Forge a Musical Work," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 85 (2000).
  • "Sibley's Last Paper," Aesthetic Concepts: Essays After Sibley, ed. Emily Brady and Jerrold Levinson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001).
  • "On the Historically Informed Performance," British Journal of Aesthetics, 42 (2002).
  • "Intentional Forgeries and Accidental Versions: A Response to John Dilworth," British Journal of Aesthetics, 42 (2002).
  • "Jokes Are a Laughing Matter," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 61 (2003).
  • "Continuous Time and Interrupted Time: Two-Timing in the Temporal Arts," Musicae Scientiae, Discussion Forum 3 (2004).
  • "Reid's Philosophy of Art," The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Reid, ed. Terence Cuneo and Ren Woudenberg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  • "Music, Language, and Cognition: Which Doesn't Belong?," Truth, Rationality, Cognition, and Music, Proceedings of the Seventh International Colloquium on Cognitive Science, ed. Kepa Korta and Jesus M. Larrazabal (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2004).
  • "Ars Perfecta: Toward Perfection in Musical Performance?," The British Journal of Aesthetics, 46 (2006).
  • "Mood and Music: Some Reflections for Noel Carroll," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 64 (2006).
  • "Critical Study: Deeper than Emotion," British Journal of Aesthetics, 46 (2006).
  • "Another Go at Musical Meaning: Koopman, Davies, and the Meanings of 'Meaning,'" Contemporary Philosophy, Volume 9, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, ed. G. Flistad (Dordrecht: Springer, 2007).
  • "Moodology: A Response to Laura Sizer," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 65 (2007).
  • "Moodophilia: A Response to Noel Carroll and Margaret Moore," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 65 (2007).
  • "The Perception of Beauty in Hutcheson's First Inquiry: A Response to James Shelley," British Journal of Aesthetics, 47 (2007).
  • "John Balguy and the Sense of Beauty: A Rational Realist in the Age of Sentiment," Enlightenment and Dissent, No. 23 (2004-2007).
  • "Musical Morality," Review Internationale de Philosophy, 62 (2008).
  • Book Reviews:
  • Review of Edward Lockspeiser, Music and Painting, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XXXIII (1974).
  • Review of Berel Lang, Art and Inquiry, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, XXXVI (1975).
  • Review of Justus Buchler, The Main Light, Philosophical Review, LXXXV (1976).
  • Review of Alfred Brendel, Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XXXVI (1978).
  • Review of Jose A. Arguelles, The Transformative Vision, The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography, II (1979), N. S.
  • Review of Roger Sessions, Roger Sessions on Music, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XXXVIII (1980).
  • Review of Marie Antoinette Manca, Harmony and the Poet, Italian Quarterly, XXI (1980).
  • Review of Stephen Pepper, Aesthetic Quality: A Contextualist Theory of Beauty, Retrospective Review Article, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XL (1981).
  • Review of Karl Ashenbrenner, Analysis of Appraisal Characterization, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XLII (1984).
  • Review of Wye Jamison Allenbrook, Rhythmic Gesture in Mozart, Dance Research Journal, XVII (1985).
  • Review of Malcolm Budd, Music and Emotions, The Philosophical Quarterly, XXXVI (1986).
  • Review of Anthony Savile, The Test of Time, International Studies in Philosophy, XVIII (1986).
  • Review of Roman Ingarden, The Work of Music and the Problem with Its Identity, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XLV (1987).
  • Review of Don Harren, Word-Tone Relations in Musical Thought, Notes, Dec. (1987).
  • Review of Paul Robinson, Opera Ideas from Mozart to Strauss, Cambridge Opera Journal, I (1989).
  • Review of Nicholas Cook, Music, Imagination and Culture, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, L (1992).
  • Review of William Stafford, Mozart's Death: A Corrective Survey of the Literature, Music and Letters, LXXIII (1992), pp. 594-595.
  • Review of Anthony Savile, Kantian Aesthetics Pursued, Mind, 103 (1994).
  • Review of Francis Sparshott, The Future of Aesthetics, The Philosophical Quarterly, 50 (2000).
  • Review of Dabney Townsend, Hume's Aesthetic Theory: Taste and Sentiment, Journal of Scottish Philosophy, I (2003).
  • Review of Alexander Broadie (ed.), Thomas Reid on Logic, Rhetoric and the Fine Arts: Papers on the Culture of the Mind, Eighteenth-Century Scotland: The Newsletter of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society, No. 20 Spring (2006). 
  • “Fictional Form and Symphonic Structure: An Essay in Comparative Aesthetics,” Ratio (new series), 22 (2009).
  • “Leonard Meyer’s Sonata: First Theme and Second Theme,” Musica Humana, 1 (2009).
  • “The Other Shoe: Some Thoughts for Christopher Peacocike,” British Journal of Aesthetics, 49 (2009).
  • “The Experience of Reading,” A Companion to the Philosophy of Literature, ed. Gary L. Hagberg and Walter Jost (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

 Book Reviews:

  • Review of Ted Cohen, Thinking of Others, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 68 (2010).


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