Professor of Philosophy
He is the author of Nietzsche: Naturalism and Interpretation (University of California Press, 1999) and co-editor of Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music (Continuum, 2004). Cox is editor-at-large for Cabinet magazine, writes regularly for Artforum and The Wire, and has published philosophical essays in the Journal of the History of Philosophy, the Journal of Visual Culture, Organised Sound, International Studies in Philosophy, The Review of Metaphysics, and elsewhere.
Cox has curated exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Kitchen, New Langton Arts, and G Fine Art Gallery. Cox has written catalog essays for exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Mass MoCA, the South London Gallery, Berlin's Akademie der Künste, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Oslo Kunstforening, and other venues.
He is currently at work on two books: a monograph on sound art, experimental music, and metaphysics; and an edited volume on aesthetics and the new realist and materialist philosophies.
This course will take sound and the sonic arts as both an object of inquiry and a provocation for thought. Reading texts by philosophers and cultural theorists, and examining work by composers, sound artists, writers, and filmmakers, we will investigate the ontology of sound and music, the nature of listening, technologies of audio recording and dissemination, time and space in the sonic arts, synaesthesia, and other issues. Each class will involve both discussions of theoretical texts and analysis of sonic art works.
It is often said that the aim of education is the acquisition of knowledge, and that "knowledge is power." Yet Socrates affirmed ignorance; other philosophers and theologians condemned curiosity; and religious mystics have celebrated "unknowing." What is "knowledge" and why might it be considered good or bad? Is "knowledge" the same as "information"? What are the differences between ignorance, stupidity, idiocy, and foolishness? Through the analysis and discussion of philosophical and religious texts, novels, films, and works of visual art, we will consider these and many more questions and, in the process, perhaps learn (and un-learn) something.
What is ultimately or fundamentally real? What is the nature of being? Is reality essentially physical, nonphysical, or both? Is it one or many, visible or invisible, discrete or diffuse, eternal or temporal? Philosophers have offered the wildest and most varied answers to these questions. Today, metaphysical debates continue to rage within philosophy, cultural theory, and social theory. In this course, we will survey a range of metaphysical theories, from ancient Greek, Indian, and Chinese philosophers up through the most recent debates in European and Anglo-American philosophy. Readings from Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, the Buddha, Nagarjuna, Lao Tsu, Samkara, Leibniz, Spinoza, Berkeley, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bergson, Whitehead, Harman, and others. The readings will be very difficult but also very rewarding. As Spinoza said: "Everything excellent is as difficult as it is rare."
From the 1960s through the 1990s, French philosophy was dominated by the "post-structuralist" philosophers Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigaray. Over the past fifteen years, a new group of French philosophers has come to the fore, philosophers who often challenge post-structuralist conceptions of truth, reality, science, language, and philosophy itself. Some of these philosophers - for example, Alain Badiou, Francois Laruelle, and Gilbert Simondon - are from an older generation but have only recently become influential and widely known. Others - such as Quentin Meillassoux and Catherine Malabou - are from a younger generation. All of them are on the cutting-edge of French philosophy today. This course will examine the work of Badiou, Laruelle, Simondon, Meillassoux, and Malabou, focusing on their work in ontology and metaphysics. These texts are very challenging. Previous work in philosophy is strongly recommended.
Philosophy today is generally conceived and practiced as a purely theoretical discipline dedicated to answering conceptual questions and solving intellectual problems. Yet philosophy began as a practical discipline dedicated to helping human beings live their lives in the fullest and best way possible. In this course, we will read and discuss the work of various philosophers-ancient, modern, and postmodern-for whom philosophy is a practical tool for living. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, the Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Shankara, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Debord, and Deleuze.
This course will examine the ways that 20th-century philosophers and theorists have approached the art of their time, and the ways that modern and contemporary art illuminate and ground philosophical thought. Via writings by philosophers, theorists, critics, and artists, we will traverse a selected history of 20th-century art guided by a selected history of 20th-century philosophy and art theory. The course will survey artistic modalities such as modernism, postmodernism, conceptualism, minimalism, and relational aesthetics, and will examine critical approaches such as formalism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and deconstruction.