I am an Associate Professor of Philosophy and the Book Review Editor for The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
I received my B.A. in Philosophy and Politics from Oberlin College in 1993, and my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2001. I grew up in Connecticut and was delighted to return to New England when I accepted a position at Mount Holyoke in 2002. Previously, I have held visiting positions at St. Olaf College and Washington University in St. Louis. Before graduate school, I worked as an assistant teacher at an elementary school, as a carpenter and set painter at a number of regional theaters, and as the assistant director of a local office of Greenpeace in Madison, Wisconsin.
My wife, Jennifer (Kippy) York, is a veterinarian at Wickaboag Veterinary Clinic, and we live in Belchertown with our six-year old son, Tobias, and our two-year old daughter, Nora.
There is another philosophy professor with a similar name: James A. Harold. I am not him.
ABOUT MY RESEARCH
My research lies at the intersection of meta-ethics and aesthetics. I am interested in the structure of moral and aesthetic justification, and the relationship between these two fields of value. My recent work focuses on the moral import of imaginative engagement with fictional artworks. I am particularly interested in cognitive and affective aspects of this engagement, and in the differences between the moral and aesthetic judgments we make about the value of such engagement. Thus, my work in this area brings me into contact with cognitive science, philosophy of emotion, and other related fields.
In summer 2008, I participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on Confucian virute ethics, and I have been enjoying learning about the Chinese philosophical tradition. I am also interested in the role of principles in critcial evaluation, philosophical psychopathology, empirical ethics and aesthetics, and meta-ethical expressivism.
- Mount Holyoke College Philosophy Department.
- Museum of Bad Art. A great institution.
- Project Implicit. This site is fascinating and a little frightening. You can take some on-line tests (provided you have a fast enough connection) that look for unconscious prejudical attitudes. You may not like what you learn about yourself.
- Arts and Letters Daily. This site collects together some of the best articles, book reviews, and essays from sites all over the web.
- Phil Papers. A good on-line searchable database of papers in philosophy.
- The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Another terrific resource.