Time and the Static Image

Philosophy 72 (280):175- (1997)
Photographs, paintings, rigid sculptures: all these provide examples of static images. It is true that they change—photographs fade, paintings darken and sculptures crumble—but what change they undergo is irrelevant to their representational content. A static image is one that represents by virtue of properties which remain largely unchanged throughout its existence. Because of this defining feature, according to a long tradition in aesthetics, a static image can only represent an instantaneous moment, or to be more exact the state of affairs obtaining at that moment'. It cannot represent movement and the passage of time. This traditional view mirrors a much older one in metaphysics: that change is to be conceived of as a series of instantaneous states and hence that an interval of time is composed of extensionless moments. The metaphysical view has been involved in more controversy than its aesthetic counterpart. Aristotle identified it as one of the premises of Zeno's arrow paradox and Augustine employed it in his proof of the unreality of time
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100056837
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