Jeffrey Strayer is an artist and philosopher. His research in philosophy is concentrated in philosophy of art, with attention given to issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and value theory that are relevant to that focus. He is the author of Subjects and Objects: Art, Essentialism, and Abstraction (Brill, 2007) and Haecceities: Essentialism, Identity, and Abstraction (Brill, 2017). Essentialism and Its Objects: Identity and Abstraction in Language, Thought, and Action is a work in progress.
Because the art that he produces is based on the necessary conditions of making and apprehending works of art, Strayer identifies his work as Essentialism. In particular, the focus of Essentialism is on thisness, or the particular identity of an artwork, and how that identity can be constructed or otherwise determined by using objects that are addressed to consciousness and agency to explore the identity-difference relation that pertains to the origination, apprehension, and fact of particular identity. A further concern is to explore how a work’s particular identity can be made to reflect the things on which it depends to have that particular identity.
Because of their investigation of thisness in relation to the fundamental conditions noted, his ongoing series of artworks is called the Haecceities series. Working with the things cited according to the concerns identified means that the works of this body of work investigate the limits of Abstraction in art – or the possibilities of the most extreme forms of reductionism – and kinds of artistic identify that Strayer calls ‘radical identity,’ as they explore the conceptual and aesthetic possibilities of Essentialism.
Strayer’s work in art and philosophy is an interactive and mutually supportive exploration of fundamental issues relevant to each.
Jeffrey Strayer is a Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Philosophy at Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA.