Kendall L. Walton, Ph.D., Charles L. Stevenson Collegiate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and Professor of Art and Design, School of Art and Design, will retire on December 31, 2011.


Professor Walton received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1961, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1967. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1965, and was promoted through the ranks to Professor in 1979. A named professor since 1996, he was the Charles L. Stevenson Collegiate Professor of Philosophy from 1999 to his retirement.


Professor Walton is the most eminent living philosopher of art in the Anglo-American tradition. His seminal articles on central issues of aesthetics have spawned some of the most prominent current debates in the field and influenced, as well, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. He has written on the nature of fiction, emotional responses to fiction, fictional entities, pictorial representation, photography, aesthetic value, aesthetic and moral value, metaphor, imagination, empathy, sports, and music, including musical expressiveness, representation, and experience. His many publications include Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts (Harvard, 1990), Marvelous Images: On Values and the Arts (Oxford, 2008), In Other Shoes: Music, Metaphor, Empathy, Existence (Oxford, forthcoming), and much reprinted articles. He has held fellowships from the NEH, the ACLS, the Rockefeller Foundation, and various Humanities Centers. Five conferences have been held on his work at universities in Britain and New Zealand. He has been President of the American Society for Aesthetics, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Nottingham (2005).

Professor Walton’s teaching at all levels and his leadership have made Michigan a center for study in aesthetics. He has directed dissertations of many now prominent philosophers. Departmentally, he has been director of graduate studies, graduate placement, graduate admissions, undergraduate studies, and GSI training. In the University, he has, among other things, served on the executive committees of LSA, Rackham, and the Humanities Institute.  

We congratulate Ken on his accomplished career, thank him for his decades of service to the department, and wish him all the best as he embarks on the next chapter of his life. Fortunately for us, Ken plans to remain an active participant in local philosophical life. We will host a conference in Ken's honor in September 2012. Stay tuned for further details.