Depiction

Edited by Ben Blumson (National University of Singapore)
About this topic
Summary Depiction is a distinctive kind of representation. The paradigm examples are figurative painting and drawing. Other purported examples are photography, figurative sculpture and maps. The three main competitors to the traditional resemblance theory of depiction are experiential theories, such as the illusion and seeing-in theories, structural theories, which focus on syntactic and semantic properties of pictures such as analogicity, and recognition theories, which focus on subpersonal aspects of picture processing.
Key works The contemporary debate began with Goodman 1968, who argued for replacing the resemblance theory with a structural theory. V. Kulvicki 2006 defends a revised structural theory. The original source of the seeing-in theory is contained in Wollheim 1980. Walton 1990 defends a version according to which seeing-in is imagined seeing and Hopkins 1998 defends a version according to which it is experienced resemblance. Schier 1986 is the original source of the recognition theory. Currie 1995, Lopes 1996 and Newall 2011 defend similar accounts. Novitz 1977, Hyman 2006, Abell 2009 and Blumson 2014 defend the resemblance theory, whereas Greenberg 2013 is a recent criticism. Abell & Bantinaki 2010 is a recent anthology.
Introductions Kulvicki 2006 Kulvicki 2013
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765 found
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1 — 50 / 765
  1. Philosophical Pictures From Philosopher Portraits.John Dilworth - manuscript
    Portraits of Wittgenstein and Hume are used as test cases in some preliminary investigations of a new kind of philosophical picture. Such pictures are produced via a variety of visual transformations of the original portraits, with a final selection for display and discussion being based on the few results that seem to have some interesting relevance to the character or philosophical views of the philosopher in question.
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  2. Depicting Movement.Solveig Aasen - forthcoming - Tandf: Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
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  3. The Limits of Art. On Borderline Cases of Artworks and Their Aesthetic Properties.Jiri Benovsky - forthcoming - Springer.
    This book is about exploring interesting borderline cases of art. Jiri Benovsky discusses the cases of gustatory and olfactory artworks (focusing on food), proprioceptive artworks (dance, martial arts, and rock climbing qua proprioceptive experiences), intellectual artworks (philosophical and scientific theories), as well as the vague limits between painting and photography. This book is then about what counts as art and what does not, as well as about the nature of these limits. Overall, Benovsky defends a very inclusive view, 'extending' the (...)
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  4. Depiction, Imagination, and Photography.Jiri Benovsky - forthcoming - In Keith Moser & Ananta Sukla (eds.), Imagination and Art: Explorations in Contemporary Theory. Brill.
    Imagination plays an important role in depiction. In this chapter, I focus on photography and I discuss the role imagination plays in photographic depiction. I suggest to follow a broadly Waltonian view, but I also depart from it in several places. I start by discussing a general feature of the relation of depiction, namely the fact that it is a ternary relation which always involves "something external." I then turn my attention to Walton's view, where this third relatum of the (...)
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  5. Mirrors, Windows and Paintings.Calabi Clotilde, Huemer Wolfgang & Santambrogio Marco - forthcoming - Estetika.
    What do we see in a mirror? There is an ongoing debate whether mirrors present us with images of objects or whether we see, through the mirror, the objects themselves. Roberto Casati has recently argued that there is a categorical difference between images and mirror-reflections. His argument depends on the observation that mirrors, but not paintings, are sensitive to changes in the observer’s prospective. In our paper we scrutinize Casati’s argument and present a modal argument that shows that it cannot (...)
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  6. Twofold Pictorial Experience.René Jagnow - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    Richard Wollheim famously argued that figurative pictures depict their scenes, in part, in virtue of their ability to elicit a unique type of visual experience in their viewers, which he called seeing-in. According to Wollheim, experiences of seeing-in are necessarily twofold, that is, they involve two aspects of visual awareness: when a viewer sees a scene in a picture, she is simultaneously aware of certain visible features of the picture surface, the picture’s design, and the scene depicted by the picture. (...)
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  7. Photo Mensura.Patrick Maynard - forthcoming - In Nicola Moeßner & Alfred Nordmann (eds.), The Epistemology of Measurement: Representational and Technological Dimensions. Routledge.
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  8. Aesthetic Truth Through the Ages: A Lonerganian Theory of Art History.Ryan Miller - forthcoming - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 94 (2020).
    Classical authors were generally artistic realists. The predominant aesthetic theory was mimesis, which saw the truth of art as its successful representation of reality. High modernists rejected this aesthetic theory as lifeless, seeing the truth of art as its subjective expression. This impasse has serious consequences for both the Church and the public square. Moving forward requires both, first, an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the high modernist critique of classical mimetic theory, and, second, a theory of truth (...)
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  9. Seeing Depicted Space (or Not).Mikael Pettersson - forthcoming - In Anna Bergqvist & Robert Cowan (eds.), Evaluative Perception. Oxford University Press.
    What is it to see something in a picture? Most accounts of pictorial experience—or, to use Richard Wollheim’s term, ‘seeing-in’—seek, in various ways, to explain it in terms of how pictures somehow display the looks of things. However, some ‘things’ that we apparently see in pictures do not display any ‘look.’ In particular, most pictures depict empty space, but empty space does not seem to display any ‘look’—at least not in the way material objects do. How do we see it (...)
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  10. The Standard of Correctness and the Ontology of Depiction.Enrico Terrone - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper develops Richard Wollheim’s claim that the proper appreciation of a picture involves not only enjoying a seeing-in experience but also abiding by a standard of correctness. While scholars have so far focused on what fixes the standard, thereby discussing the alternative between intentions and causal mechanisms, the paper focuses on what the standard does, that is, establishing which kinds, individuals, features and standpoints are relevant to the understanding of pictures. It is argued that, while standards concerning kinds, individuals (...)
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  11. Depicting Movement.Solveig Aasen - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (1):34-47.
    ABSTRACT The paper addresses an underexplored puzzle about pictorial representation, a puzzle about how depiction of movement is possible. One aim is to clarify what the puzzle is. It might seem to concern a conflict between the nature of static surfaces and the dynamic things that they can depict. But the real conflict generating the puzzle is between the pictorial mode of presentation and what can be seen in pictures. A second aim of the paper is to solve the puzzle. (...)
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  12. Semantics of Pictorial Space.Gabriel Greenberg - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1.
    A semantics of pictorial representation should provide an account of how pictorial signs are associated with the contents they express. Unlike the familiar semantics of spoken languages, this problem has a distinctively spatial cast for depiction. Pictures themselves are two-dimensional artifacts, and their contents take the form of pictorial spaces, perspectival arrangements of objects and properties in three dimensions. A basic challenge is to explain how pictures are associated with the particular pictorial spaces they express. Inspiration here comes from recent (...)
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  13. La Densité des Images.Alexis Anne-Braun - 2020 - Dialogue 59 (1):123-143.
    RÉSUMÉCet article est une défense de la position exposée par Nelson Goodman dans Langages de l'art. Goodman affirme que les images fonctionnent dans des systèmes symboliques denses. La différence entre texte et image ne se situe pas là où nous l'aurions spontanément cherchée : dans l'expérience perceptuelle que nous avons des images. Une telle théorie de la dépiction peut sembler iconoclaste, voire complètement fausse, et ce, parce que nous y voyons à tort une explication de la représentation picturale. Elle offre (...)
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  14. How Pictures Complete Us: The Beautiful, the Sublime, and the Divine.Paul Crowther - 2020 - Stanford University Press.
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  15. Pictures, Propositions, and Predicates.Dominic Gregory - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (2):155-170.
    Do representational pictures have propositional contents? The current paper argues that the characteristic contents of pictures are predicative rather than propositional: pictures characterise things as looking certain ways, and they thereby express properties of visual perspectives. The paper argues that the characteristic predicative contents of pictures are nonetheless able to feature in fully-fledged propositional contents once they are combined with contents of other suitable sorts. Various facts about communicative uses of pictures are then explained. The paper concludes by considering the (...)
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  16. Modeling the Meanings of Pictures: Depiction and the Philosophy of Language.John Kulvicki - 2020 - Oxford University Press.
    John Kulvicki explores the many ways in which pictures can be meaningful, taking inspiration from the philosophy of language. Pictures are important parts of communicative acts. They express a variety of thoughts, and they are also representations. Kulvicki shows how the meanings of pictures let us put them to a wide range of communicative uses.
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  17. Is Iconic Memory Iconic?Jake Quilty‐Dunn - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):660-682.
    Short‐term memory in vision is typically thought to divide into at least two memory stores: a short, fragile, high‐capacity store known as iconic memory, and a longer, durable, capacity‐limited store known as visual working memory (VWM). This paper argues that iconic memory stores icons, i.e., image‐like perceptual representations. The iconicity of iconic memory has significant consequences for understanding consciousness, nonconceptual content, and the perception–cognition border. Steven Gross and Jonathan Flombaum have recently challenged the division between iconic memory and VWM by (...)
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  18. Seeing-in an Image: Husserl and Wollheim on Pictorial Representation Revisited.Rodrigo Yllaric Sandoval - 2020 - Kunstiteaduslikke Uurimusi 29 (3-4):31-55.
    This paper proposes a parallel between the theories of pictorial representation put forward by Edmund Husserl and Richard Wollheim. By doing so, it aims to facilitate a dialogue that can provide some new elements for an appropriate understanding of threefold seeing-in. The first section offers a comprehensive interpretation of Husserl’s theory of image-consciousness. This experience is considered a threefold perceptual phantasy, different from perception and sign-consciousness. The second section presents a review of Wollheim’s theory of twofold seeing-in and addresses a (...)
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  19. The World and the Will: On the Problem of Photographic Agency.John Schwenkler - 2020 - Nonsite 32.
    This essay is my contribution to a symposium responding to several papers by Walter Benn Michaels that bring the work of Elizabeth Anscombe to bear on philosophical problems of artistic representation. In it, I take Benn Michaels's side in a dispute with Dominic McIver Lopes over the difference between Anscombe's view of intentional agency and that of Donald Davidson. I also critique Benn Michaels's reading of a difficult passage in section 29 of Anscombe's INTENTION, where she presents the famous case (...)
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  20. Sense and Reference of Pictures.Maarten Steenhagen - 2020 - British Journal of Aesthetics (1):1-5.
    John Hyman insists that Frege-style cases for depiction show that any sound theory of depiction must distinguish between the ‘sense’ and the ‘reference’ of a picture. I argue that this rests on a mistake. Making sense of the cases does not require the distinction.
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  21. The Polarized Image: Between Visual Fake News and “Emblematic Evidence”.Emanuele Arielli - 2019 - Politics and Image.
    In this paper, a particular case of deceptive use of images – namely, misattributions – will be taken in consideration. An explicitly wrong attribution (“This is a picture of the event X”, this not being the case) is obviously a lie or a mistaken description. But there are less straightforward and more insidious cases in which a false attribution is held to be acceptable, in particular when pictures are also used in their exemplary, general meaning, opposed to their indexical function (...)
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  22. Pictorial (Conversational) Implicatures.Tibor Bárány - 2019 - In Andras Benedek & Kristof Nyiri (eds.), Image and Metaphor in the New Century. Budapest, Magyarország: pp. 197-208.
    The philosophical problem of pictorial conversational implicatures can be summarized as follows: We have three propositions that are independently plausible and jointly inconsistent. -/- (Non-P) Anti-propositionalism: pictures do not have context-independent, conventionally encoded propositional content (propositional function). -/- (C) Only those representations can be used to convey conversational implicatures which have associated with them a context-independent, conventionally encoded propositional content (function). -/- (I) Pictures can be used to convey conversational implicatures. -/- There are three ways of responding to the problem: (...)
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  23. Picturing Words: The Semantics of Speech Balloons.Emar Maier - 2019 - In Proceedings of the 22nd Amsterdam Colloquium. Amsterdam: pp. 584-592.
    Semantics traditionally focuses on linguistic meaning. In recent years, the Super Linguistics movement has tried to broaden the scope of inquiry in various directions, including an extension of semantics to talk about the meaning of pictures. There are close similarities between the interpretation of language and of pictures. Most fundamentally, pictures, like utterances, can be either true or false of a given state of affairs, and hence both express propositions (Zimmermann, 2016; Greenberg, 2013; Abusch, 2015). Moreover, sequences of pictures, like (...)
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  24. Shifting Perspectives in Pictorial Narratives.Emar Maier & Sofia Bimpikou - 2019 - In Uli Sauerland & Stephanie Solt (eds.), Proceeding of Sinn und Bedeutung 23. Barcelona: Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS).
    We propose an extension of Discourse Respresentation Theory (DRT) for analyzing pictorial narratives. We test drive our PicDRT framework by analyzing the way authors represent characters’ mental states and perception in comics. Our investigation goes beyond Abusch and Rooth (2017) in handling not just free perception sequences, but also a form of apparent perspective blending somewhat reminiscent of free indirect discourse.
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  25. Otherness and Identity: The Aesthetics of Men Faced with Toxic Masculinity.Adrian Mróz - 2019 - Kultura I Historia 35 (1):75-90.
    The dynamism between otherness and differences with identity and equivalence provides key ideas for analyzing the process of gender individuation by artistic works. In this article I discuss the problem of artistic and aesthetic reactions to homogeneous cultural patterns of masculinity, which is characterized by the concept of "toxic masculinity" in pop-cultural, sociological, psychological and gender studies discourses. One common theme is that "toxic masculinity" encompasses harmful standards that generate antagonisms and diminish multi-figure masculinity to a singular "socially acceptable" level (...)
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  26. Portraits of People Not Present.Bence Nanay - 2019 - In Hans Maes (ed.), Portraits and Philosophy. London: Routledge.
    The aim of this paper is to explore what could be meant by modernist portraiture. On the face of it, there is a real tension about the very idea of modernist portraiture inasmuch as one key idea of modernism is negativity and self-negation, whereas portraiture is, in some very obvious sense, not negation. It is the depiction of the sitter. So there are reasons to think that modernist portraiture, in the strong sense of the term, is a contradiction in terms. (...)
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  27. Art and the Approval of Nature: Philosophical Reflections on Tom Roberts, Holiday Sketch at Coogee (1888).Michael John Newall - 2019 - Curator: The Museum Journal 62 (1):53-60.
    This paper, based on a talk given at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, is presented as an example of philosophy done in an art gallery. Its subject is Tom Roberts’ painting Holiday Sketch at Coogee (1888), and as well as responding directly to the painting in the environment of the gallery, it draws on the author's memories of seeing that painting in other times and places. It draws on these personal experiences to relate Roberts’ painting to a controversial (...)
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  28. Are Hybrid Pictorial Metaphors Perceived More Strongly Than Pictorial Similes?Amitash Ojha, Elisabetta Gola & Bipin Indurkhya - 2019 - Metaphor and Symbol 33 (4):253-266.
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  29. New Approaches to Plastic Language: Prolegomena to a Computer-Aided Approach to Pictorial Semiotics.Everardo Reyes & Göran Sonesson - 2019 - Semiotica 2019 (230):71-95.
    In this paper we summarize observations bridging the declared aspirations of pictorial semiotics and its real achievements. Pictorial semiotics is here understood as the general study of pictures as signs and it constituted a fundamental step beyond the art historical captivation with individual images. In the first part of our contribution we present a review of the most important methods that have been proposed as an answer to deal with several pictorial problems. In the second part, we offer some positive (...)
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  30. Substitution by Image: The Very Idea.Jakub Stejskal - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (1):55-66.
    The aim of this article is to provide a plausible conceptual model of a specific use of images described as substitution in recent art-historical literature. I bring to light the largely implicit shared commitments of the art historians’ discussion of substitution, each working as they do in a different idiom, and I draw consequences from these commitments for the concept of substitution by image—the major being the distinction between nonportraying substitution and substitution by portrayal. I then develop an argument that (...)
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  31. Lying with Pictures.Emanuel Viebahn - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (3):243-257.
    Pictures are notably absent from the current debate about how to define lying. Theorists in this debate tend to focus on linguistic means of communication and do not consider the possibility of lying with photographs, drawings and other kinds of pictures. The aim of this paper is to show that such a narrow focus is misguided: there is a strong case to be made for the possibility of lying with pictures and this possibility allows for insights concerning the question of (...)
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  32. Gombrich and the Duck-Rabbit.Robert Eamon Briscoe - 2018 - In Michael Beaney (ed.), Aspect Perception After Wittgenstein: Seeing-as and Novelty. Routledge. pp. 49-88.
  33. Iconic Representation: Maps, Pictures, and Perception.Tyler Burge - 2018 - In Wuppuluri Shyam & Francisco Antonio Dorio (eds.), The Map and the Territory: Exploring the Foundations of Science, Thought and Reality. Springer. pp. 79-100.
    Maps and realist pictures comprise prominent sub-classes of iconic representations. The most basic, most important sub-class is perception. Other types are drawings, photographs, musical notations, diagrams, bar graphs, abacuses, hieroglyphs, and color chits.
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  34. How Pictures Complete Us: The Beautiful, the Sublime, and the Divine by Paul Crowther.Caroline Walker Bynum - 2018 - Common Knowledge 24 (1):171-171.
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  35. Husserl and Dufrenne on the Temporalization of the Pictorial Space.Javier Enrique Carreño Cobos - 2018 - Anuario Filosófico 51 (2):301-323.
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  36. Forma E Immagine: Una Lettura Critica.Filippo Contesi - 2018 - Rivista di Estetica 69:124-130.
    In a recent book, Immagine, Alberto Voltolini offers a rich and carefully written discussion of theories of depiction, which have drawn so much attention in recent Anglophone philosophy. Although Voltolini’s book has indisputable virtues, it also makes some questionable formal choices. The present essay presents a formal analysis of the book.
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  37. Language as Description, Indication, and Depiction.Lindsay Ferrara & Gabrielle Hodge - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  38. Content and Target in Pictorial Representation.Gabriel Greenberg - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    This essay argues for a model of pictorial representation which aims to explain the relationship between pictorial content and pictorial accuracy. Focusing on cases where pictures are intended to convey accurate information, the model distinguishes between two fundamental representational relations: on one hand, a picture expresses a content; on the other, it aims at a target scene. Such a picture is accurate when the content it expresses fits the target scene it aims at. In addition, the model follows the traditional (...)
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  39. On Looking Through Wollheim’s Bifocals: Depiction, Twofolded Seeing and the Trompe-L’Œil.Gary Kemp - 2018 - British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (4):435-447.
    Richard Wollheim was hardly alone in supposing that his account of pictorial depiction implies that a trompe-l’œil is not a depiction. I recommend removing this apparent implication by inserting a Kant-style version of aspect-perception into his account. I characterize the result as Neo-Wollheimian and retain the centrality of Wollheim’s notion of twofoldedness in the theory of depiction, but I demote it to a contingent feature of depictions and I criticize his employment of it for determining the category of both the (...)
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  40. Art Made for Pictures.John Kulvicki & Bence Nanay - 2018 - Phenomenology and Mind 14:120-134.
    Over the last fifteen years, communication has become pictorial in a manner that it never was before. Billions of people have smart phones that enable them to take, edit, and share pictures easily whenever they choose to do so. This has created expressive niches within which new activities, with their own norms, continue to develop. Ready availability of these pictorial modes of communication, we claim, not only constitutes a change in the range of our communicative practices, but also changes the (...)
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  41. Pictures: Their Power in Practice.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2018 - In Jérôme Pelletier & Alberto Voltolini (eds.), The Pleasure of Pictures: Pictorial Experience and Aesthetic Appreciation. London: Routledge. pp. 36-51.
    What are pictures good for? “Nothing” recurs as the apparently irrepress- ible reply of a motley collection iconophobes from Plato to the mediaeval iconoclasts, to parents concerned about comic books, to postmoderns in a lather over “scopic regimes”. In the aftermath of Nelson Goodman’s Languages of Art (1976), philosophers doubled down on theories of depiction and pictorial experience, but they have not rushed to work on the value of pictures. Those few who have written about pictorial value have taken for (...)
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  42. Creating Images With the Stroke of a Hand: Depiction of Size and Shape in Sign Language.Jenny C. Lu & Susan Goldin-Meadow - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  43. How to Paint Nothing? Pictorial Depiction of Levinasian Il y a in Vilhelm Hammershøi’s Interior Paintings.Harri Mäcklin - 2018 - Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 5 (1):15-29.
    Contemporary phenomenological discussions on relationship between painting and nothingness have mainly employed Sartrean and Heideggerian notions of nothingness. In this paper, I propose another perspective by discussing the possibility of pictorially depicting Levinas’s notion of the nothingness of being, which he develops in his early works in terms of the il y a. For Levinas, the il y a intimates itself in moments like insomnia, where the world as a horizon of possibilities slips away and all there is left is (...)
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  44. The Problem of Thick Representation.Rafe McGregor - 2018 - Contemporary Aesthetics 16 (1).
    The purpose of this paper is twofold: to define the problem of thick representation and to show that the problem is a puzzle for representation rather than a puzzle for a specific art form or art, in general, as has previously been suggested. In the course of identifying and formulating the problem, I shall demonstrate why the solution proposed thus far fails to solve either the artistic problem at which it is aimed or the representational problem I define. I conclude (...)
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  45. Threefold Pictorial Experience and Aesthetic Attitude.Regina-Nino Mion - 2018 - In Jérôme Pelletier & Alberto Voltolini (eds.), The Pleasure of Pictures: Pictorial Experience and Aesthetic Appreciation. Routledge. pp. 107–124.
    The paper discusses Edmund Husserl’s threefold pictorial experience and the threefold aesthetic experience of pictures accordingly. It aims to show what the advantages are of the threefold account of pictorial experience, in contrast to the twofold account, to explain aesthetic experience. More specifically, it explains the role of the image object’s fold in aesthetic experience. The paper is divided into three parts. The first part explains and defends Husserl’s theory of threefold pictorial experience, which is an experience of seeing-in or, (...)
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  46. Threefoldness.Bence Nanay - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):163-182.
    Theories of picture perception aim to understand our perceptual relation to both the picture surface and the depicted object. I argue that we should talk about not two, but three entities when understanding picture perception: the picture surface, the three dimensional object the picture surface visually encodes and the three dimensional depicted object. As and can come apart, we get a more complex picture of picture perception than normally assumed and one where the notion of twofoldness, which has played an (...)
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  47. Art and Ambiguity: A Gestalt-Shift Approach to Elusive Appearances.John O'Dea - 2018 - In Fabian Dorsch & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Phenomenal Presence.
    I defend a solution to a long-standing problem with perceptual appearances, brought about by the phenomenon of perceptual constancy. The problem is that in conditions which are non-ideal, yet within the range that perceptual constancy works, we see things veridically despite an “appearance” which is traditionally taken to be non-veridical. For example, a tilted coin is often taken to have an “elliptical appearance”, shadowed surfaces a “darker appearance”. These appearances are puzzling for a number of reasons. I defend and elaborate (...)
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  48. Mimesis and Clinical Pictures: Thinking with Plato and Broekman Through the Production and Meaning of Images of Disease.Marjolein Oele - 2018 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 21 (4):507-515.
    This paper contends, following Plato and Broekman, that seeing images as images is crucial to theorizing medicine and that considering clinical pictures as images of images is a much-needed epistemic complement to the domineering view that sees clinical pictures as mirrors of disease. This does not only offer epistemic, but also ethical benefits to individual patients, especially in those cases where patients suffer from chronic, debilitating, and terminal illnesses and where medicine provides no, or limited, answers in terms of treatment, (...)
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  49. The Pleasure of Pictures: Pictorial Experience and Aesthetic Appreciation.Jérôme Pelletier & Alberto Voltolini (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
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  50. Wollheim, Wittgenstein, and Pictorial Representation. Seeing-as and Seeing-In. [REVIEW]Matteo Ravasio - 2018 - British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (2):209-212.
    Wollheim, Wittgenstein, and Pictorial Representation. Seeing-as and Seeing-in KempGary and MrasGabriel M. Routledge. 2016. pp. 308. £110.00.
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