James Harold


  • Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Philosophy
James Harold, professor of philosophy, department chair

James Harold specializes in aesthetics and ethics. Harold's work focuses on imaginative engagement with narrative artworks. He is currently writing a book on moral and aesthetic value of narrative art. He is also interested in medical ethics, and in ancient Chinese and Greek philosophy.

Harold's essays have been published in American Philosophical QuarterlyThe Journal of Aesthetics and Art CriticismJournal of Social Philosophy, and Philosophical Explorations, among other places. He has also published several opinion pieces in papers such as the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. He is the Book Review Editor for The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. In summer 2008, he was a participant in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on “Traditions Into Dialogue: Confucianism and Contemporary Virtue Ethics.”

Before coming to Mount Holyoke, Harold taught at Washington University in St. Louis and at St. Olaf College.

Areas of Expertise

Philosophy of art, especially literature; ethics and metaethics


  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • B.A., Oberlin College

Recent Publications

Harold, J. (2023). Audiences’ Role in Generating Moral Understanding: Screen Stories as Sites for Interpretive Communities. In C. Plantinga (Ed.), Screen Stories and Moral Understanding: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 197-211). Oxford University Press.

Harold, J. (Ed.). (2023) The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Art. Oxford University Press.

Harold, J. (2020). Dangerous Art. New York, NY: Oxford Univ. Press US.

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