I develop Schopenhauerian musical formalism. First, I present a Schopenhauerian account of music with a background of his metaphysical framework. Then, I define meaningfulness as an analog to a Kantian notion of purposiveness and argue that, in light of Schopenhauer, music is meaningful as a direct manifestation of the universal will. Given the ineffable nature of what music points to, its form lacks any representation of meaning. Music is therefore the mere form of meaningfulness, and it is precisely this mere (...) form that gives rise to the infinite possibilities to ascribe it with a variety of musical meaning. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to see how mental and language representations are unique from a video-game perspective, using two main criteria. First, I will posit that the level of being both an interactive work of fiction and a self-involving interactive fiction belongs to a fuzzy interval and that some works – and, therefore, some video games – are more immersive than others. Second, I will observe how propositions tie the player’s representations of the real world and the game (...) world. Starting from psychological theories of pretense in children’s make-believe games, I will then expand Nichols and Stich’s cognitive theory of pretense to include an extra layer related to the game world, i.e., player-specific representations that govern player-specific propositions. The representations dealing with the work world are the socially shared ones, while the possible-world representations, dealing with most of the game world, are player-specific and tied to unique language use. (shrink)
What is objectionable about “blacking up” or other comparable acts of imagining involving unethical attitudes? Can such imaginings be wrong, even if there are no harmful consequences and imaginers are not meant to apply these attitudes beyond the fiction? In this article, we argue that blackface—and imagining in general—can be ethically flawed in virtue of being oppressive, in virtue of either its content or what imaginers do with it, where both depend on how the imagined attitudes interact with the imagining’s (...) context. We explain and demonstrate this using speech act theory alongside a detailed case study of blackface. (shrink)
Despite the centrality of ideology critique in the works of Louis Althusser and his students, the Marxian concept of “appearance” as constitutive of the necessary obfuscation of social modes of exchange has not been sufficiently explicated. Furthermore, perceived incompatibility between ideology and commodity fetishism by this group of philosophers has amounted to a critical lacuna in the shape of a materialist theory of the valueform. This essay articulates the concept of appearance as framed by Gilles Deleuze’s concept of expression in (...) an attempt to foreground the structuring relations that immanently determine capital, appearance, and value. By carefully reformulating Marx’s value-form theory through the rationalist metaphysics of Baruch Spinoza, this essay endeavors to produce a value-form theory compatible with the Spinozist Marxist tradition. (shrink)
The recent proliferation of deepfakes and other digitally produced deceptive representations has revived the debate on the epistemic robustness of photography and other mechanically produced images. Authors such as Rini (2020) and Fallis (2021) claim that the proliferation of deepfakes pose a serious threat to the reliability and the epistemic value of photographs and videos. In particular, Fallis adopts a Skyrmsian account of how signals carry information (Skyrms, 2010) to argue that the existence of deepfakes significantly reduces the information that (...) images carry about the world, which undermines their reliability as a source of evidence. In this paper, we focus on Fallis’ version of the challenge, but our results can be generalized to address similar pessimistic views such as Rini’s. More generally, we offer an account of the epistemic robustness of photography and videos that allows us to understand these systems of representation as continuous with other means of information transmission we find in nature. This account will then give us the necessary tools to put Fallis’ claims into perspective: using a richer approach to animal signaling based on the signaling model of communication (Maynard-Smith and Harper, 2003), we will claim that, while it might be true that deepfake technology increases the probability of obtaining false positives, the dimension of the epistemic threat involved might still be negligible. (shrink)
How does the compositional arrangement of elements in a complex image, like a diagram, a picture or a map, represent the structural features of its content? In this paper I argue that they do so iconically, through the exploitation of relations of visual similarity and dissimilarity. I develop the general claim that our interpretation of this sort of images is guided by the implicit defeasible assumption that things that are patently related represent things that are relevantly related in a similar (...) way. I also identify the usual intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms we use to represent structural features and illustrate them with an example from real life: a recent infographic from a popular science magazine. (shrink)
Contribution for the Nordic Journal of Aesthetics' Special Issue no. 30 on "The Changing Ontology of the Image". The image’s power is a power of appearing without fully being what it allows to appear. In its strange relationship to what is lacking, the image also and simultaneously displays a remarkable excess—a phenomenal excess.
Philosophical analysis of metaphor in the non-linguistic arts has been biased towards what I call the ‘aesthetic metaphor’: metaphors in non-linguistic art are normally understood as being completely formed by the work'sinternalcontent, that is, by its perceptual and aesthetic properties such as its images. I aim to unearth and analyse a neglected type of metaphor also used by the non-linguistic arts: the ‘artistic metaphor’, as I call it. An artistic metaphor is composed by an artwork's internal content, but also by (...) itsexternalcontent, which is provided by the work's artistic properties such as its history. The artistic metaphor has been gestured at but not afforded a considered analysis; I aim to do this. Identifying the artistic metaphor has at least two benefits. It shows how curation plays a role in generating metaphors in artworks, which has been overlooked, and it illuminates a potentially powerful tool to interpret and understand ‘conceptual’ art. (shrink)
Pseudo-profound language is a stylistic means in many different contexts, like advertising, politics, economics, or even science. Contemporary visual art is notoriously known for its variant: artspeak. We develop a syntactical analysis and show how artspeak is constructed. We point out that it is “evocative” bullshit in that it aims at contextualizing art with traditional art myths (i.e., artists are, among other adjectives, autonomous, critical, or free). Furthermore, we argue that artspeak should be regarded as a particular type of bullshit (...) as it features a unique relation to truth. (shrink)
In a chapter that hones in on certain Renaissance portraits by Hans Holbein, Giorgione, and Jan van Scorel, Hans Maes examines how it is that we can be deeply moved by such portraits, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that we don’t know anything about their sitters. Standard explanations in terms of the revelation of an inner self or the recreation of a physical presence prove to be insuffi cient. Instead, Maes provides a more rounded account of what makes (...) said portraits moving and memorable, thereby relying on Barthes’ notion of ‘punctum,’ James Elkins’ account of why people cry in front of paintings, and a phenomenological exploration of the parallel between portraiture and the tradition of the Vanitas painting. (shrink)
Disgust has been a perennial feature of art from medieval visions of hell to postmodern travesties. The purpose of this chapter is to chart various ways in which disgust functions in artworks both in terms of content and style, canvassing cases in which the content and/or style is literally disgusting in contrast to cases where the disgust serves to characterize the content, often for moral or political or broader cultural purposes.
Only Imagine is a wonderful book. Clear and tersely written, it provides a compelling defence of a rather unpopular view : namely, extreme intentionalism about the determination of fictional content and the nature of fictionality. It thus unquestionably advances the philosophical debate. It is also a pleasure to read for those of us who like fictions and not just the philosophy thereof: Stock discusses for her arguments many examples from real fictions, systematically making perceptive remarks. Here I will respond to (...) an objection that she makes to the normative account that I have defended in previous work, arguing that it has explanatory advantages grounded on the subordination on that account of author-intentions to fictional contents independently determined by social practices. (shrink)
The current debate concerning musical profundity was instigated, and set up by Peter Kivy in his book Music Alone (1990) as part of his comprehensive defense of enhanced formalism, a position he championed vigorously throughout his entire career. Kivy’s view of music led him to maintain utter skepticism regarding musical profundity. The scholarly debate that ensued centers on the question whether or not (at least some) music can be profound. In this study I would like to take the opportunity to (...) relate Wittgenstein’s ideas on music to this current debate, thereby achieving a twofold goal: not only to reintroduce Wittgenstein’s ideas into the current debate, but also to use the current debate as a foil to better appreciating Wittgenstein’s otherness as a philosopher of music. I argue that Wittgenstein’s unique philosophical response to the Romantic framing of the discourse concerning musical profundity —specifically, its threefold emphasis on the specificity, aboutness, and artistically exalted status of music— occasioned a view, which was bound to be glossed over by a philosophical tradition, whose origins had made it inimical to Wittgenstein’s original philosophical insights. I conclude that, in a sense, Wittgenstein occasions a paradigm shift by his philosophical thrust to undo the gravitational forces which form the current debate: the very idea of aboutness pertaining to music, and the very idea that a clear line could ever be drawn between music and language. (shrink)
Desde una respuesta tentativa a la pregunta qué es una imagen se busca establecer el modo en que pensamos en, con y contra las imágenes. Se concentra la indagación en dos tipos particulares de imágenes, las generadas por el aparato digital, con el fin de articular conceptualmente el modo en que las imágenes cobran sentido y cómo dicho sentido surge desde el estatuto ontológico que encierra dicho aparato en particular. Desde una respuesta operativa y desde el concepto de modo de (...) imaginar se propone que el modo de pensar en, con y contra las imágenes es una disputa política por controlar el modo de aparecer en las imágenes, es decir, por el control del plano estético y ontológico que encierra dicho aparecer. Dicha disputa política en el aparato digital se instala contemporáneamente en torno al objeto fascista de la representación. (shrink)
Durante los últimos decenios la utilidad se ha convertido en uno de los elementos más importantes de nuestra sociedad, hasta el punto de medir no sólo las cosas, sino a los seres humanos por su utilidad. No se trata de demostrar la utilidad de la cosas “inútiles”, sino de reivindicar que hay cosas que son valiosas por sí mismas. Esta es la perspectiva que me gustaría tratar en este artículo. Para ello, en primer lugar me detendré en explicar brevemente el (...) auge y expansión de la utilidad desde la modernidad hasta nuestros días, centrándome en una de sus vertientes contemporáneas: el transhumanismo. En segundo lugar, frente a esta corriente presentaré una defensa de lo inútil como aquello que nos caracteriza como humanos. Por último, me centraré en exponer cómo el arte nos enseña, por excelencia, a valorar lo inútil y, en este sentido, nos ayuda a comprender mejor al ser humano. (shrink)
In his paper “Obras de ficción, formas de conciencia y literatura”, Josep Corbí raises a few sharp objections to my distinction between fiction and non-fiction, as I formulate it in my recently published Relatar lo ocurrido como invención. In this response, I present first in a compact form such ideas, and then I try to answer to Corbí’s criticisms.
En su discusión “Obras de ficción, formas de conciencia y literatura”, Josep Corbí formula una serie de críticas certeras a mis ideas sobre la distinción que he hecho entre ficción y no ficción en Relatar lo ocurrido como invención. En esta nota de respuesta expongo primero de forma sucinta el núcleo de esas ideas y después proporciono las que considero las razones más decisivas para adoptarlas, a pesar de las dificultades que señala Corbí.
In this paper, I present the beginnings of a resemblance theory of representation. I start by surveying the contemporary philosophical debate surrounding musical representation and reveal that its main interlocutors share a conception of artistic representation as a mode of meaningful communication. I then show how conceiving of artistic representation in this way severely limits music’s possibilities as a medium for representation. Next, I propose an alternative conception of representation that, despite its widespread acceptance outside of the philosophy of art, (...) has been largely denigrated within it: namely, that representation fundamentally depends on structural resemblance. Finally, I demonstrate how conceiving of artistic representation as grounded upon structural resemblances, rather than as a mode of meaningful communication, provides us with a more accurate picture of both (a) how music represents and (b) how we perceive and appreciate musical representations. (shrink)
The present work has a central question: how a certain media distinguishes itself from the other communicational and linguistic apparatuses of the world. And with that, he turns on the big question of what each media practice would be. The hypothesis defended here is that each type of media, in its definition, is a language and not an apparatus. Using the concepts of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard and John R. Searle, the concepts of parergon and ergon are discussed. (...) Thus, there is the consideration that if the study of the parergon is a logical study, close to the philosophical debates of the Analytical Philosophy and of authors of Continental Philosophy that quoted Wittgenstein, the study of ergon is a pragmatic study, focused on the speech acts. Logic and Pragmatics do not enter here as competitors, but rather as analytical partners in the definition and study of a language. While the first one analyzes the clipping modes, the second analyzes the action made possible by its clipping. (shrink)
This paper argues that within the class of aesthetic judgments, interesting variations occur depending on whether the judgment refers to an artwork or not. Additionally, it is suggested that in order to understand and satisfactorily explain these variations, one needs a convincing specification of the notion of “art”. Thus, the main thesis of this paper is that a general theory of aesthetic judgments needs to be supplemented by a convincing and theoretically fruitful theory of art.
Studies show that people we judge to have good character we also evaluate to be more attractive. I argue that in these cases, evaluative perceptual experiences represent morally admirable people as having positive (often intrinsic) value. Learning about a person's positive moral attributes often leads us to feel positive esteem for them. These feelings of positive esteem can come to partly constitute perceptual experiences. Such perceptual experiences evaluate the subject in an aesthetic way and seem to attribute aesthetic qualities like (...) 'beauty' to the object of perception. Moreover, these aesthetic qualities like 'beauty' represent the perceived to have various kinds of value. (shrink)
In this paper, I appeal to a distinction made by David Lewis between identifying and determining semantic content in order to defend a complementarity thesis expressed by Anjan Chakravartty. The thesis states that there is no conflict between informational and functional views of scientific modeling and representation. I then apply the complementarity thesis to well-received theories of pictorial representation, thereby stressing the fruitfulness of drawing an analogy between the nature of fictions in art and in science. I end by attending (...) to the problem of depicting impossible fictions. It is suggested that progress can be made by understanding the role of impossible fictions in science, namely, allowing researchers to probe into the possible structure and representational capacities of scientific theory. (shrink)
The genre to which an artwork belongs affects how it is to be interpreted and evaluated. An account of genre and of the criteria for genre membership should explain these interpretative and evaluative effects. Contrary to conceptions of genres as categories distinguished by the features of the works that belong to them, I argue that these effects are to be explained by conceiving of genres as categories distinguished by certain of the purposes that the works belonging to them are intended (...) to serve. (shrink)
In this study we offer a new way of applying Kendall Walton’s theory of make-believe to musical experiences in terms of psychologically inhibited games of make-believe, which Walton attributes chiefly to ornamental representations. Reading Walton’s theory somewhat against the grain, and supplementing our discussion with a set of instructive examples, we argue that there is clear theoretical gain in explaining certain important aspects of composition and performance in terms of psychologically inhibited games of make-believe consisting of two interlaced game-worlds. Such (...) complex games can accommodate a continuous rich spectrum of congruent modes of listening, which broaches both the formalist-type and the narrativist-type. We conclude that this sort of oblique reading of Walton’s original theory actually complements and completes Walton’s recent theoretic angle concerning thoughtwriting in music by way of affording it with a suitable conception for a mechanism of appropriation for music. (shrink)
Kierkegaard's preoccupation with a separation between the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ runs through his work and is widely thought to belong to his rejection of Hegel's idealist monism. Focusing on The Concept of Irony and Either/Or, I argue that although Kierkegaard believes in various metaphysical distinctions between inside and outside, he nonetheless understands the task of the philosopher as that of making outside and inside converge in a representation. Drawing on Hegel's philosophy of art, I show that Kierkegaard's project in (...) both of these books is the aesthetic project of revealing the inner essence of something in its outward appearance. Kierkegaard's portrait of Socrates in The Concept of Irony is a phenomenology of the spirit of irony. My interpretation adds a new dimension to our understanding of Kierkegaard's aesthetics and his relation to Hegel; it presents him as a follower of Plato, whom he is usually thought to have dismissed; and it uncovers a deep connection between Kierkegaard's first two books, which are never read in conjunction. (shrink)
The way in which a schema represents something is precisely by abstracting from some of its features; in a schema, representation and abstraction are thus not opposed to each other but rather internally related. The first part of this paper investigates this internal relation by delineating Kant’s concept of schema as the term mediating concept and intuition. Due to its pivotal position, however, the schema tends to collapse either into the conceptual or into the intuitive. The second part of the (...) paper turns to Heidegger who tries to overcome this difficulty: he does not conceive the schema as a supplementary representation that connects already determinate concepts and intuitions, but rather locates schematization immanently in the very articulation of concept and intuition themselves. The third part of the paper proposes that the schematicity of our representations can be reflected in three pictorial strategies that are important for contemporary art: reduction, serialization, and reconstruction. These strategies are exemplified in certain images which put us in a position to see through our own representational form, as it were, and observe the procedures of figuration involved in that very form. (shrink)
Jean Baudrillards Kulturphilosophie läßt sich durch die Behauptung charakterisieren, daß die Medien in der modernen Kultur vorherrschend geworden sind. Seine These, die Medien hätten jeden Bezug zu einer von ihnen unabhängigen Realität verloren, haben zahlreiche Autorinnen und Autoren nihilistisch genannt. Das Zutreffende dieser Kennzeichnung verdankt sich im Wesentlichen einem eingeschränkten, auf das 19. Jahrhundert zurückweisenden Begriff des Nihilismus. Allerdings nimmt Baudrillard auf Phänomene Bezug, die er historisch später verortet und die sich ihrer Struktur nach kategorial von den Funktionen der Medien (...) im 19. Jahrhundert unterscheiden. Es gelingt ihm hierbei nicht, den allgemeinen Realitätsverlust, den er vor allem auf den wachsenden Einfluß von Wissenschaft und Technik im 20. Jahrhundert zurückführt, überzeugend nachzuweisen. -/- Als wolle er diesen Mangel beheben, führt Baudrillard in späteren Schriften weitere Struktureigenschaften der kulturellen Mediendominanz ein. Zu diesen Fortentwicklungen gehört die durch Medienmacht erzeugte „Transparenz“, die nicht zuletzt die restlose Durchsichtigkeit aller Zustände und Prozesse meint. Es ist dieses Merkmal, das Baudrillard 1981 selbst mit einem Nihilismusbegriff in Verbindung bringt. Der Nihilismus der Transparenz beansprucht, das spezifisch Neue der Sinnlosigkeit in zunehmend wissenschafts- und technikbestimmten Gesellschaften zu erfassen. Obwohl sich die Schwächen der Medientheorie in seiner Auffassung des Nihilismus reflektieren, gelingt es ihm, Phänomene der Nichtigkeit zu beschreiben, für die man gute Gründe hat anzunehmen, daß sie sich durch keinen Werte- oder Einstellungswandel mehr aufheben lassen. Um diese Einsicht zu begründen, muß man Baudrillards Medientheorie allerdings gleichsam vom Kopf auf die Füße stellen. Nicht auf einen evidenten, alles umfassenden Realitätsverlust, sondern umgekehrt auf einen Teil der vermutlichen Realitätsgehalte der Medien läßt sich die drohende Ausdehnung der Transparenz zurückführen. (shrink)
I argued in 2000 that the French artist ORLAN may have moved away from her Reincarnation performances toward her Self-Hybridizations because she thought that in the latter she would be more transparently obvious in meaning and less frequently misunderstood. I may have overstated the ability of audiences to comprehend, however. In this essay I argue that the virtual beauty that ORLAN unfolds in her ongoing series Self-Hybridizations is not a real or actual beauty but rather a fake beauty, causally disembodied, (...) based on the effects she intends to create from an imaginative use of combined hybrid imagery. Subverting the familiar philosophical notions of aesthetic distance and aesthetic appreciation, hers is not a monstrous beauty (as some feminist art theorists contend) but rather a fake beauty that still has aesthetic features worth assessing. I suggest the possibility of generational differences in understandings of the term 'feminist', i.e., shifts in meaning from early feminist theory of the 1970s to ever-evolving, twenty-first century notions of the term, all of which add to the confusion. As I negotiate this terrain, I hope to steer both critics and viewers more directly to the words of the artist herself, "I have tried to make my Self-Hybridations as 'human' as possible, like mutant beings, but I still did not think that the confusion could be possible.". (shrink)
There are two aspects to Wittgenstein’s method of deconstructing pseudo-philosophical problems that need to be distinguished: (1) describing actual linguistic practice, and (2) constructing hypothetical ‘language-games’. Both methods were, for Wittgenstein, indispensable means of clarifying the ‘grammar’ of expressions of our language -- i.e., the appropriate contexts for using those expressions – and thereby dissolving pseudo-philosophical problems. Though (2) is often conflated with (1), it is important to recognize that it differs from it in important respects. (1) can be seen (...) as functioning as a direct method of ‘proof’ (i.e., attempt to convince the reader of some thesis), and (2) as an indirect method of ‘proof’ -- proof by reductio ad absurdum. This essay will be devoted to clarifying (2) by forging an analogy with surrealism in art. (shrink)
This is basically a paper about artistic evaluation and how multiple interpretations can give rise to inconsistent and conflicting meanings. Images like Joel-Peter Witkin’s First Casting for Milo (2004) challenge the viewer to look closely, understand the formal properties at work, and then extract a meaning that ultimately asks, Is the model exploited or empowered? Is Karen Duffy, pictured here, vulnerable and “enfreaked” or is she potentially subversive, transgressive, and perhaps self-empowered? I will offer an argument in agreement with artist/author/ (...) performer Ann Millett-Gallant that favors the latter interpretation, but will augment and complicate the issue by also introducing a pointed question or two taken from a recent analysis by Cynthia Freeland on objectification. I judge the works by photographer Joel-Peter Witkin to be representations of disabled persons who are empowered through agency and pride, but I also worry about the risk of multiple, conflicting interpretations on the part of viewers who do not, or cannot, entertain such enlightened readings. Like second wave feminist views about pornography that depicted women in demeaning ways, or feminist critiques of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party , Witkin’s photos can be judged as potentially offensive. But they are also objects of beauty—both in terms of aesthetic properties (they are magnificent studies in black and white, shadows, the human body, with many classical references) and because of the feeling of beauty and pride felt by the posers, who become performers of their own beauty and pride. I argue that beauty trumps offensiveness. Pride wins. But I’m not sure that everyone will agree. (shrink)
There is a variety of epistemic roles to which photographs are better suited than non-photographic pictures. Photographs provide more compelling evidence of the existence of the scenes they depict than non-photographic pictures. They are also better sources of information about features of those scenes that are easily overlooked. This chapter examines several different attempts to explain the distinctive epistemic value of photographs, and argues that none is adequate. It then proposes an alternative explanation of their epistemic value. The chapter argues (...) that photographs play the epistemic roles they do because they are typically rich sources of depictively encoded information about the scenes they depict, and reliable depictive representations of those scenes. It then explains why photographs differ from non-photographic pictures in both respects. (shrink)
Ornamentality is pervasive in the new media and it is related to their essential characteristics: dispersal, hypertextuality, interactivity, digitality and virtuality. I utilize Kendall Walton's theory of ornamentality in order to construe a puzzle pertaining to the new media. the ornamental erosion of information. I argue that insofar as we use the new media as conduits of real life, the excessive density of ornamental devices which is prevalent in certain new media environments, forces us to conduct our inquiries under conditions (...) of neustic uncertainty, that is, uncertainty concerning the kind of relationship we, the users, have to the propositional content mediated. I suggest that this puzzle calls upon us to consider what would be a viable logic of virtual discovery. (shrink)
Written over the course of two months in early 2008, Art as "Night" is a series of essays in part inspired by a January 2007 visit to the Velázquez exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, London, with subsequent forays into related themes and art-historical judgments for and against theories of meta-painting. Art as "Night" proposes a type of a-historical dark knowledge crossing painting since Velázquez, but reaching back to the Renaissance, especially Titian and Caravaggio. As a form of formalism, (...) this "night" is also closely allied with forms of intellection that come to reside in art as pure visual agency or material knowledge while invoking moral agency, a function of art more or less bracketed in modern art for ethical and/or political agency. Not a theory of meta-painting, Art as "Night" restores coordinates arguably lost in painting since the separation of natural and moral philosophy in the Baroque era. It is with Velázquez that we see a turning point, an emphasis on the specific resources of painting as a form of speculative intellect, while it is with contemporary works by Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer that we see the return of the same after the collapse of modernism, and after subsequent postmodern maneuvers to make art discursive yet without the austerities of the formal means present in Art as Art. Art as "Night" argues for a nondiscursive form of intellection fully embodied in the work of art – and, foremost, painting. A synoptic and intentionally elusive and allusive survey of painting, through the collapse of the art market in late 2007, Art as "Night" suggests by way of this critique of an elective "night" crossing painting that the art world is an endlessly deferred version of pleroma , a fully synthetic world given to an exploration and appropriation of the given through classical mimesis and epistemology and its complete incorporation and transfiguration in a theory of knowledge and art as pure speculative agency. In effect, Art as "Night" is an incarnational theory of art as absolute knowledge. (shrink)
This dissertation defends the place of representation in music. Music’s status as a representational art has been hotly debated since the War of the Romantics, which pitted the Weimar progressives (Liszt, Wagner, &co.) against the Leipzig conservatives (the Schumanns, Brahms, &co.) in an intellectual struggle for what each side took to be the very future of music as an art. I side with the progressives, and argue that music can be and often is a representational medium. Correspondence (or resemblance) theories (...) of representation, such as the one I offer, have been much maligned in philosophy since the 1960s. Most theories assimilate representation under “meaning,” which has usually been thought to belong primarily to language. As a result, representational content has been taken to be purely conventional in the way that sentential meaning is. People want to know what music “means,” and these theories interpret this as “what does it refer to?” or “what propositions does it express?” I argue that propositional communication is only one (small) part of the issue. Once we overcome the bias of conceiving of musical works as essentially linguistic items, speech acts (performed) or sentence tokens (written), we can begin to take music on its own terms to discover how it represents—one way in which it “means.” The first step is to “naturalize” music’s representational content. Influenced by recent discussions in the philosophies of mind and science, I argue in Chapter 1 that composers represent extra-musical objects, events, and states of affairs through their works by exploiting antecedent relations (such as similarities in pitch, timbre, and structure) in order to secure reference to them. In Chapter 2, I survey and respond to the main challenges that those skeptical of music’s representational possibilities would raise against my theory of musical representation. In Chapter 3, I explore a number of ways through which music has been claimed to represent in order to show how my theory accounts for these diverse phenomena better than its conventionalist rivals, both in terms of the metaphysics and the epistemology. Chapter 4 extends this discussion by offering an account of how we perceive, understand, appreciate, and interpret sophisticated musical representations. I conclude by teasing out some of my theory’s implications and suggesting areas for further research. (shrink)
Será tarea del pensamiento crítico recuperar la imagen para un discurso de la resistencia como un discurso efectivo frente a la inoperancia del objeto artístico difuso. A esto debe convocar al análisis crítico de la imagen hegemonizada por la superficie-referente. La radicalidad de dicha tarea debe buscar sus fuentes en el desplazamiento constante hacia la descripción de lo opaco en la estrategia representacional de una superficie-referente para la instalación del objeto fascista estetizante. Dicha radicalidad debe recuperar conceptualmente el desmantelamiento crítico (...) para la reapropiación de la imagen, de lo visual; debe desactivar la radicalidad de lo espectacular. Este análisis de la superficie-referente en la retórica radical del objeto fascista representacional es la tarea necesaria para situar adecuadamente una crítica que se distancie de dicha retórica que no hace más que tornar al objeto representado en un objeto estetizante y fascista en su exceso de real. La resistencia debe centrarse en el análisis permanente de una imagen en constante readecuación al interior de la lógica global del capitalismo. Cualquier nueva articulación de las humanidades debe atender, primero que nada, a la pregunta por cuál es el estatuto de lo visual en dicha lógica antes de emprender cualquier definición de cómo se deben conformar los discursos de resistencia. Es tarea e intento de este trabajo situar la descripción de las estrategias de la imagen en tiempos de su hiper- reproductibilidad- técnica antes de cualquier replanteamiento de las humanidades, esto para comprender cuáles son propiamente las retóricas de lo radical en el capitalismo cultural. (Párrafo extraído del texto a modo de resumen). (shrink)
In this clearly written and well argued book, Mark Johnson presents a theory of embodied cognition and discusses the implications it has for theories of meaning, language and aesthetics. His pragmatist foundations are on show when he writes that ‘The so-called norms of logical inference are just the patterns of thinking that we have discovered as having served us well in our prior inquiries, relative to certain values, purposes, and types of situations’ (p.109). Johnson’s particular contribution to theories of meaning (...) and language is that he grounds ‘inference’ even at the most abstract level in patterns of sensorimotor experience (p.279). He rejects traditional analytic theories of language on the basis that their central concept of reference is grounded in an erroneous and unfounded distinction between transcendent universals and bodily particulars (p.89-91). (shrink)
I present and analyze J.G. Herder’s aesthetics of sculpture, as an art form directed toward and appreciated by the sense of touch. I argue that Herder is unsuccessful in his attempt so to define sculpture, but his account is nonetheless fruitful, both in making salient and explaining signal aspects of sculptural appreciation and criticism and, more broadly and quite innovatively, in proposing an aesthetics of touch, even an embodied aesthetics.
Nelson Goodman and, following him, Catherine Z. Elgin and Keith Lehrer have claimed that sometimes a sample is a symbol that stands for the property it is a sample of. The relation between the sample and the property it stands for is called 'exemplification' (Goodman, Elgin) or 'exemplarisation' (Lehrer). Goodman and Lehrer argue that the notion of exemplification sheds light on central problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of mind. However, while there seems to be a phenomenon to be captured, (...) Goodman's account of exemplification has several flaws. In this paper I will offer an alternative account of exemplification that is inspired by Grice's idea that one can communicate something by providing one's audience with intention-independent evidence and letting them draw the obvious conclusion for themselves. This explication of exemplification will solve the problems that arose for Goodman's theory in the spirit of his approach.1. (shrink)
British art historian Charles Harrison presumes the existence of a patriarchal world with power in the hands of men who dominate the representation of women and femininity. He applauds the ground-breaking work of feminist theorists who have questioned this imbalance of power since the 1970s. He stops short, however, of accepting their claims that all women have been represented by male artists as images of “utter passivity” (p. 4), routinely reduced by the male gaze to the status of exploited sexual (...) objects, or that women’s subjectivity is eroded by the visual treatment they receive at the hands of male artists such as Manet and Picasso. He wants to show that what is depicted in the picture plane by the (typically male) artist and enjoyed by the (typically male) spectator is more nuanced than just a simple privileged understanding between two men. He adds a third (and possibly fourth or more) party to the mix when he significantly redefines and expands our concept of the gaze: “A gaze may also be conceived of as a function of a painting’s represented content” (p. 9). In other words, a gaze may be “addressed outward by a represented figure,” and regardless of who and where, “the assumption conveyed by the term [‘gaze’] is that some differential and usually asymmetrical relation will be at stake in any exchange between one who directs the gaze and another at whom it is directed. In fact, it is just this difference—in age, in sex, in class, in interest, in power —that the operation of the gaze tends to mark” (p. 9). Referring to a woman depicted within the picture plane, he asks us to consider, “What does it feel like to look like this?” (p. 21) in order to entertain our many emotional responses and interpretations. When he adds, “What does it feel like to whom?” the sexual difference of the spectator also clearly comes into play. (shrink)
My concern in this paper is what, in Art and Illusion, Gombrich calls "the riddle of style". This is the problem of why people at different times and in different cultures have depicted objects in very different ways. An adequate solution to this problem will comprise an explanation of why depiction has a history. The problem seems intractable because of three common assumptions about the history of depiction that, while independently plausible, are inconsistent. First, we assume that this history is (...) a history of realism. Artists from a wide range of cultures and ages seem to have shared the common goal of capturing the visual appearances of the objects they depicted. Secondly, we assume that depictive styles differ from context to context in part because of features internal to the contexts in which they emerged. Finally, we are loathe to accept the claim that differences of style necessarily result from differences in technical capacity. However, these assumptions are in conflict. If artists throughout history sought to capture the appearances of the things they depicted and did not differ markedly in their technical capacities, then surely the pictures each produced should not depend on features internal to the contexts in which they emerged and should instead look more alike. -/- I argue that the history of style is not, in its entirety, a history of realism. Throughout history, pictures have been used to inform viewers about a wide variety of things other than their objects' appearances. Investigating the purposes for which pictures were used in particular historical and cultural contexts will help us to understand why certain styles were appropriate to those contexts. Nevertheless, it will not help us to understand why certain styles were appropriate to just one among a number of contexts in which pictures were used for a single purpose. To understand this, we need to know what cognitive environment was shared by the members of the relevant community. This will enable us to understand why, given the purpose for which pictures were used in that community, a certain style was more informative than another. In addition to cataloguing stylistic changes, therefore, the historian of art has two further tasks: to investigate both the various purposes for which pictures have been used and the cognitive environments of those who used them. (shrink)
In this paper I consider the view that Goodman altogether rejects the notion of resemblance in depiction. I argue that, although Goodman’s case seems to be a decisive challenge, he can in fact hold a positive view of resemblance if we weaken the standard usage of the word ‘resemblance’. The result of this is that Goodman’s commitment to the notion of repleteness enables him to say that pictures can and do resemble their subjects, as resemblance relies on the relative complexity (...) of the depiction. (shrink)
In a previous Philo article, it was shown how properties could be ontologically dispensed with via a representational analysis: to be an X is to comprehensively represent all the properties of an X. The current paper extends that representationalist (RT) theory by explaining representation itself in parallel epistemic rather than ontological terms. On this extended RT (ERT) theory, representations of X, as well as the real X, both may be identified as providing information about X, whether partial or comprehensive. But (...) that information does not match ontological, property-based analyses of X, so it is epistemically fundamental–hence supporting a broadly conceptualist rather than nominalist metaphysics. (shrink)
This paper develops Wittgenstein’s view of how experiences of ethical value contribute to our understanding of the world. Such experiences occur when we perceive certain intrinsic attributes of a particular being, object, or location as valuable irrespective of any concern for personal gain. It is shown that experiences of ethical value essentially involve a characteristic ‘listening’ to the ongoing transformations and actualizations of a given form of life—literally or metaphorically speaking. Such immediate impressions of spontaneous sympathy and agreement reveal ethics (...) and aesthetics as transcendental. Ultimately, I will attempt to show that from this point of view, forms of life are transcendental determinants of meaning and, as such, the principal objects of ethical value. Descriptive ontological grounding is thereby provided for the ethical value of species, languages, and cultures. (shrink)