Pictures Have Propositional Content

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):151-163 (2015)
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Although philosophers of art and aesthetics regularly appeal to a notion of ‘pictorial content’, there is little agreement over its nature. The present paper argues that pictures have propositional contents. This conclusion is reached by considering a style of argument having to do with the phenomenon of negation intended to show that pictures must have some kind of non-propositional content. I first offer reasons for thinking that arguments of that type fail. Second, I show that when properly understood, such arguments can in fact be turned on their heads and shown to support the propositionalist position.

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Alex Grzankowski
Birkbeck, University of London