Instructor, Philosophy
School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Sciences

604.986.1911 ext. 3691
Fir Building, room FR 444


PhD, Philosophy, McGill University, 2017.

MA, Philosophy, Queen's University, 2009.

BA, Philosophy, Mount Allison University, 2008.


Michel-Antoine Xhignesse (PhD, McGill University, 2017) is a philosopher of art whose primary interests lie at the intersection between the philosophy of art and epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language. He also occasionally dabbles in 19th-century German philosophy (especially Schopenhauer).

Before coming to Capilano University, Xhignesse was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia.

Xhignesse serves on the Capilano University Research Ethics Board. He is also heavily involved in the American Society for Aesthetics (ASA), whose newsletter he co-edits and has helped to organize several divisional and annual conferences.

Xhignesse's last name looks harder to pronounce than it is: Ee-nyess (for Francophiles, the 'ny' actually sounds like the 'gn' in 'montagne').

I believe that teaching philosophy works best through conversation, through the back-and-forth of interrogating premises and exploring consequences.

Thus, my role in the classroom is to create a collaborative learning environment by guiding these fledgling discussions so that students can come to appreciate and think through a broad range of possible positions on the issues we explore, and to help students learn to apply philosophical thinking to their world.

I strive to ensure that my classes are representative of the diversity of voices and interests that characterize contemporary philosophy, and that they model how philosophy can help British Columbians and Canadians to think about the issues that concern them here and now.

My primary research interest is in the philosophy of art. I am currently working on a number of new articles on cultural appropriation, representations of female genius in literature, the limits of literary theory, aesthetic tourism, photography and Schopenhauer's aesthetics.

I am also working on two book projects:

  • The first (under contract with Routledge; delivery in early 2022) concerns 50 major puzzles in contemporary aesthetics, and it aims to act as a teaching and research aid for students and scholars.
  • The second concerns the philosophy of literature, and argues that we need to re-imagine the ways we think of truth in fiction and literary ontology in light of our actual and historical storytelling practices.


"A Trip to the Zoo," Aesthetic Literacy: a book for everyone. Valery Vinogradovs (Ed.). vol. 1-3, Melbourne: Mont Publishing. (fprthcoming)

"Imagining Fictional Contradictions," Synthese. DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02929-0 (forthcoming)

"Exploding Stories and the Limits of Fiction," Philosophical Studies, 1-18 (2020).

"Failures of Intention and Failed-Art," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50.7, 905-17.

"What Makes a Kind an Art-Kind?," British Journal of Aesthetics 60.4, 471-88.

"Schopenhauer’s Perceptive Invective," in Jens Lemanski (ed.), Language, Logic, and Mathematics in Schopenhauer. Basel, Schweiz: Birkhäuser, 95-107 (2020).

"Inheriting the World, "'Journal of Applied Logics, special issue on John Woods’s "Truth in Fiction: Rethinking its Logic" 7.2, 163-70 (2020).

"Entitled Art: what makes titles names?," Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97.3, 437-50 (2019).

"Social Kinds, Reference, and Meta-Ontological Revisionism," Journal of Social Ontology 4.2, 137-56 (2019).

"Fake Views—or why concepts are bad guides to art's ontology," British Journal of Aesthetics, 193-207 (2018).

"The Trouble with Poetic Licence," British Journal of Aesthetics 56.2, 149-61 (2016).

"Willingly disinterested: altruism in Schopenhauer's ethics," in Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht. Akten des XI. Kant-Kongresses 2010 (Kant and Philosophy in a Cosmopolitan Sense: Proceedings of the XI International Kant Congress 2010). Stefano Bacin (Ed.), Alfredo Ferrarin (Ed.), Claudio La Rocca (Ed.) and Margit Ruffing (Ed.). Boston: De Gruyter (2013).

Book Reviews

Review of James Young, Radically Rethinking Copyright in the Arts (Routledge, 2020), Philosophy in Review (forthcoming).

Review of Tiziana Andina, The Philosophy of Art: The Question of Definition (Bloomsbury, 2013), Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74.1 (Winter 2016), p. 106-8.

Review of Christy Mag Uidhir, Art & Art-Attempts (Oxford University Press, 2013), Philosophy in Review 35.3 (June 2015), p. 182-4.

Essay Prize Winner, British Society of Aesthetics, 2018.

Essay Prize Runner-up, 2018 Journal of Social Ontology, 2018.