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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747 found
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  1. added 2020-04-28
    Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts.J. M. Moravcsik - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):440.
  2. added 2020-03-04
    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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  3. added 2020-03-04
    On the Epistemic Status of Prenatal Ultrasound: Are Ultrasound Scans Photographic Pictures?Maddalena Favaretto, Danya F. Vears & Pascal Borry - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (2):231-250.
    Medical imaging is predominantly a visual field. In this context, prenatal ultrasound images assume intense social, ethical, and psychological significance by virtue of the subject they represent: the fetus. This feature, along with the sophistication introduced by three-dimensional ultrasound imaging that allows improved visualization of the fetus, has contributed to the common impression that prenatal ultrasound scans are like photographs of the fetus. In this article we discuss the consistency of such a comparison. First, we investigate the epistemic role of (...)
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  4. added 2020-03-04
    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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  5. added 2020-03-04
    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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  6. added 2020-03-04
    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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  7. added 2020-03-04
    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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  8. added 2020-03-04
    Pictures, Emotions, and the Dorsal/Ventral Account of Picture Perception.Gabriele Ferretti - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (3):595-616.
    Everyday life suggests that picture seeing is sometimes infused by an emotional charge. However, nobody has addressed the importance of explaining this emotional charge in picture perception. Even our best model of picture perception, the dorsal/ventral account of picture perception, which integrates the most important empirical results coming from our best model on vision in neuroscience, the two visual systems model, lacks a reference to this emotional charge. The aim of the present paper is to offer an account of picture (...)
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  9. added 2020-03-04
    Perception and Art.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2015 - In Mohan Matthen (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception. Oxford: pp. 871-884.
    Pictures are valuable partly because they engage perception in distinctive ways. This chapter surveys recent accounts of depiction, of the distinctive content and phenomenology of our experiences of images, and of the artistic or aesthetic value that these experiences afford. Particular attention is paid to recent research on the relationship between seeing a flat image surface and having an experience as of the scene it represents.
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  10. added 2020-03-04
    Las Meninas and the Illusion of Illusionism.John Veldeman & E. Myin - 2008 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (9):124-130.
    There is a popular view on depiction which holds that convincingly realistic paintings depict their subjects through evoking in the spectator the illusion of seeing these very subjects face to face. There is, as it were, an exact 'match' between the visual experience of seeing something in a picture and the corresponding visual experience one would entertain if one were to stand in front of the real thing. This view, which we shall call 'illusionism', supports the widespread assumption that some (...)
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  11. added 2020-03-04
    Are There Emotional Responses When Understanding Visual Pictures?Paulina Lindström - unknown
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  12. added 2020-03-04
    Resemblance As Repleteness: A Solution To Goodman’s Problem.Daniel Barnes - 2006 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 3 (2):59-65.
    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 (...)
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  13. added 2020-03-04
    Pictorial Representation And Moral Knowledge.Katerina Bantinaki - 2004 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 1 (2):69-76.
    The idea that pictorial art can have cognitive value, that it can enhance our understanding of the world and of our own selves, has had many advocates in art theory and philosophical aesthetics alike. It has also been argued, however, that the power of pictorial representation to convey or enhance knowledge, in particular knowledge with moral content, is not generalized across the medium.
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  14. added 2020-03-04
    Vision and Cognition in Picture Perception.Robert Schwartz - 2001 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):707-719.
    In recent papers [1997, in press] I have explored how two seemingly conflicting paradigms inform the conception and study of picture perception. The dominant paradigm, one especially favored by vision theorists, claims that seeing a pictorial representation of an object is, with qualifications, like seeing the object itself. The picture, being a geometrically sanctioned projection of its object, resembles it, or otherwise serves as a mimetic surrogate, “re-presenting” what it depicts [Danto, 1982]. Accordingly, pictorial representation is at its best when, (...)
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  15. added 2020-03-04
    Transforming Pictures Into Language.Jana Holsanova - unknown
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  16. added 2020-03-04
    Photography and Ontology.Joel Snyder - 1983 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 19 (1):21-34.
    Numerous writers on photography and motion pictures have claimed that photographically originated pictures are essentially different from handmade pictures. Arguments made on behalf of the essential difference of photographs from other kinds of pictures generally depend upon one or another of two models of the photographic process: the visual model claims that photographs are closely allied to vision and show what we would have seen from the standpoint of the camera at the time of exposure; the mechanical or automatic model (...)
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  17. added 2020-03-04
    Art, Perception, and Reality. [REVIEW]A. F. W., J. Hochberg & E. H. Gombrich - 1973 - Review of Metaphysics 26 (3):525-526.
    This book contains three essays: "The Mask and the Face: The Perception of Physiognomic Likeness in Life and Art" by Gombrich, the renowned art historian and critic; "The Representation of Things and People" by psychologist, Julian Hochberg; and "How Do Pictures Represent" by philosopher, Max Black. The book is based upon lectures delivered in the Johns Hopkins 1970 Thalheimer Lectures, where, taking off from the question "how there can be an underlying identity in the manifold and changing facial expression of (...)
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  18. added 2020-02-18
    Depicting Movement.Solveig Aasen - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    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...
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  19. added 2020-02-12
    The Objective Eye: Color, Form, and Reality in the Theory of Art.Zed Adams - 2007 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 65 (4):417-419.
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  20. added 2020-01-19
    Picture Perception and the Two Visual Subsystems.Bence Nanay - 2008 - Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
    I aim to give a new account of picture perception: of the way our visual system functions when we see something in a picture. My argument relies on the functional distinction between the ventral and dorsal visual subsystems. I propose that it is constitutive of picture perception that our ventral subsystem attributes properties to the scene, whereas our dorsal subsystem attributes properties to the surface. Keywords: picture perception; dorsal subsystem;.
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  21. added 2020-01-18
    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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  22. added 2020-01-18
    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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  23. added 2020-01-13
    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. added 2019-09-14
    Le immagini e la mente rappresentazionale.Dominic Lopes - 2005 - Discipline Filosofiche 15 (2).
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  25. added 2019-08-14
    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. added 2019-07-29
    Antinomies of Representation: Anthropology as an Ekphrastic Process.David Zeitlyn - 2014 - HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4:341–362.
    This article addresses a profound anthropological issue: how do representation and the represented relate? What motivates or warrants the inevitable disconnection? It is a mistake to dismiss representation as misguided, oppressive, or misleading. Representation is part of cognition generally and natural language in particular. As such it is inescapable and part of how we think and talk about the world. Moving between visual and linguistic anthropology I suggest that photographs and portraits provide a rich basis for thinking about the particular (...)
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  27. added 2019-07-27
    Is Iconic Memory Iconic?Jake Quilty‐Dunn - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    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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  28. added 2019-07-09
    An Empathic Eye.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2011 - In Amy Coplan & Peter Goldie (eds.), Empathy. Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford Univerity Press. pp. 118-133.
    What you see can shape how you feel, and the route from seeing to feeling sometimes involves empathy – as you might empathize with a woman you see grieving the death of her child. But empathy also comes from what you see in pictures. Bellini's Pieta? is one among many paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs that evoke empathy – and are designed to do so. Going further, it seems that episodes of empathy triggered by pictures can help build up a (...)
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  29. added 2019-07-09
    Picture This: Image-Based Demonstratives.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2010 - In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Depiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 52-80.
    Settling down after the big meal at the family reunion brings on a little nostalgia. Out come the photo albums. As the pages turn, you see familiar faces as they looked long ago. One photo shows a surprisingly sexy young woman, and you exclaim, "That's Aunt Jane!" What you say is true. The explanation is this: what you say is true in part because the picture puts you in the same kind of position with respect to Aunt Jane as the (...)
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  30. added 2019-06-28
    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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  31. added 2019-06-14
    Аналіз композиції «світове дерево» на рушнику: як статистично визначити зміст зображення.Samara Oksana - 2017 - NaUKMA Research Papers. History and Theory of Culture 191:63-67.
    У статті обговорено принципи кількісного дослідження в культурології, а саме можливості статистики та структурно-семіотичного методу в аналізі явищ традиційної культури. Метод застосовано до композиції українського рушника. Структурно-семіотичний аналіз композиції на рушнику може допомогти відрізнити обов’язкові елементи зображення від декоративних і встановити зв’язок між частинами. Нині вважають, що всі контури композиції мають однакову семантику. Але проведений аналіз показав, що однакову семантику мають орнаментальна смуга і рослинний орнамент. Інші елементи потрібні для того, щоб відділити їх від верхнього поля зображення і світового дерева. (...)
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  32. added 2019-06-06
    On Images: Their Structure and Content. [REVIEW]Zed Adams - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (3):336-339.
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  33. added 2019-06-06
    On Images: Their Structure and Content: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Alon Chasid - 2007 - British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (3):326-328.
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  34. added 2019-06-06
    Is a Picture Really Worth a 1,000 Words&Quest.Merlin Donald - 2004 - History and Theory 43 (3):379-385.
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  35. added 2019-06-06
    Picture, Image, and Experience: A Philosophical Inquiry. [REVIEW]Kirk Pillow - 2003 - International Studies in Philosophy 35 (2):147-148.
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  36. added 2019-06-06
    Picture, Image and Experience: A Philosophical Inquiry. [REVIEW]David N. Beauregard - 2000 - International Philosophical Quarterly 40 (3):382-383.
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  37. added 2019-06-06
    Drawing Distinctions I: The First Projects.Patrick Maynard - 1997 - Philosophical Topics 25 (1):231-253.
    Introduces philosophers to John Willats' effective new drawing systems vocabulary for describing drawings and related images, also stresses topological-space values in pictures, vs psychology's projective tendencies (illus).
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  38. added 2019-06-06
    The Logic Of Representation.Gabriella Ujlaki - 1993 - British Journal of Aesthetics 33 (2):121-131.
  39. added 2019-06-05
    Figuring Out Figurative Art: Contemporary Philosophers on Contemporary Paintings.Derek Matravers & Damien Freeman - 2014 - Acumen Publishing.
    In 1797 Friedrich Schlegel wrote philosophy of art usually lacks one of two things: either the philosophy, or the art. This collection of essays contains both the philosophy and the art. It brings together an international team of leading philosophers to address diverse philosophical issues raised by recent works of art. Each essay engages with a specific artwork and explores the connection between the image and the philosophical content and how philosophy can aid interpretation of the artwork. The discussion ranges (...)
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  40. added 2019-06-03
    Introduction: Varieties of Iconicity.Valeria Giardino & Gabriel Greenberg - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):1-25.
    This introduction aims to familiarize readers with basic dimensions of variation among pictorial and diagrammatic representations, as we understand them, in order to serve as a backdrop to the articles in this volume. Instead of trying to canvas the vast range of representational kinds, we focus on a few important axes of difference, and a small handful of illustrative examples. We begin in Section 1 with background: the distinction between pictures and diagrams, the concept of systems of representation, and that (...)
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  41. added 2019-05-08
    The Sublime Aesthetic And Nineteenth-Century Representations Of The Victoria Falls.John Mcaleer - 2004 - Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 1 (3).
    Recent academic fashions have posited visual images of colonial landscape space as forming part of a network of intellectual influences that promoted both a culture of imperialism and an imperial culture in the nineteenth century. Frequently these analyses concentrate on constructing an overarching socio-political interpretation into which to place this art, thereby ignoring the influence of artistic and aesthetic theory in the creation, assessment and reception of these images.
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  42. added 2019-04-10
    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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  43. added 2019-04-10
    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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  44. added 2019-04-10
    The Pleasure of Pictures: Pictorial Experience and Aesthetic Appreciation.Jérôme Pelletier & Alberto Voltolini (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
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  45. added 2019-04-10
    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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  46. added 2019-04-10
    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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  47. added 2019-04-10
    "Pictures, Models, and Measures" A Contribution to Invited Symposium: "Wittgenstein's Picture Theory" at the 2015 Pacific APA Meeting.S. G. Sterrett - unknown
    Putting Wittgenstein's writing into an historical context that includes scientific and technological developments as well as cultural and intellectual works can be helpful in understanding some of Wittgenstein's works. I focus on the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in particular in this paper, and on topics related to pictures and models: the development of audio recording technologies, the development of miniature scale models that were both aesthetically pleasing and scientifically useful, particularly in the forensics of traffic accidents, and the culmination of a centuries-long (...)
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  48. added 2019-03-25
    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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  49. added 2019-03-25
    Comprendre les images: Une théorie de la représentation iconique.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2014 - Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.
    French translation of Understanding Pictures (1996).
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  50. added 2019-03-18
    Once Removed: The Nature of Representation.Tanya Kelley - manuscript
    James Prosek paints flora and fauna, but first became known for his paintings of trout. This essay situates Prosek's paintings, especially those at the Lowe Museum exhibit, within the long tradition of the depiction of nature. The essay comments on the relationship between the representation of nature and the nature of representation.
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