Alexandra King

Associate Professor

Undergraduate Chair


  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, Brown University 
  • B.A. in Philosophy with Honors, Minor in Mathematics, University of Chicago


My research is generally concerned with moral and aesthetic oughts, reasons, and normativity.

I have written extensively about the 'ought implies can' principle, according to which we (roughly) can do anything we are morally obligated to do. I have argued against this in a few articles and in my monograph, What We Ought and What We Can (Routledge, 2019).

Currently, I am thinking through what aesthetic normativity looks like: the shape it takes, its parallels and interactions with other varieties of normativity (like the moral and epistemic), and whether it can be said to exist at all.

Within aesthetics, I am also interested in an assortment of issues, including subtlety, high and low art, aesthetic/artistic agency, and applied arts.

I also own, run, and regularly write for the aesthetics and philosophy of art blog Aesthetics for Birds, which aims to make concepts and arguments in academic aesthetics accessible to a wide, public audience.



Below is a list of selected publications. For a full list, please see my website.


What We Ought and What We Can, Routledge, 2019


“Metaethics and Meta-aesthetics” in the Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Art (ed. James Harold), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023

“Universalism and the Problem of Aesthetic Diversity”, Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 2023

“Response-Dependence and Aesthetic Theory” in Fittingness (eds. Chris Howard and R.A. Rowland), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023

“Reasons, Normativity, and Value in Aesthetics”, Philosophy Compass 17:1, 1-17, 2023


This instructor is currently not teaching any courses.