Diarmuid Costello
University of Warwick
This article considers the shift currently taking place in philosophical thinking about photography. What I call “new” theory departs from philosophical orthodoxy with respect to when a photograph comes into existence, a difference with far-reaching consequences. I trace this to Dawn Wilson on the “photographic event.” To assess the new theory's newness one needs a grip on the old. I divide this between “skeptical” and “nonskeptical” orthodoxy, where this turns on the theory's implications for photography's standing as art. New theory emerges as a response to skeptical orthodoxy in particular. I divide new theory in turn between “restrictive” and “permissive” responses to skeptical orthodoxy and raise challenges for both. The restrictive version arguably divides what does and does not count as strictly photographic in arbitrary ways; the permissive version rules in images that are not obviously photographs and faces two difficulties individuating photographs. I conclude by noting several questions that need to be addressed before new theory clearly has the upper hand over orthodoxy. These concern its ability to account for photography's epistemic capacities, the extent to which it constitutes an advance over “nonskeptical” orthodoxy, and whether new theorists have yet to be new enough when it comes to photographic agency.
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DOI 10.1111/jaac.12404
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References found in this work BETA

The Artworld.Arthur Danto - 1964 - Journal of Philosophy 61 (19):571-584.
Understanding Pictures.Dominic Lopes - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):398-400.

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Citations of this work BETA

Costello on the New Theory of Photography.Scott Walden - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (3):307-311.
New Theory Reconsidered: Reply to Scott Walden and Dominic McIver Lopes.Diarmuid Costello - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (3):313-320.
Go Social! Replies to Abell and Atencia-Linares.Catharine Abell, Paloma Atencia-Linares, Dominic McIver Lopes & Diarmuid Costello - 2018 - Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 11 (2):207-234.
An Argument for the New Theory of Photography: Reply to Costello.Dominic Mciver Lopes - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (3):311-313.

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