Depiction and plastic perception. A critique of Husserl’s theory of picture consciousness

Continental Philosophy Review 40 (2):171-185 (2007)

Authors
Christian Lotz
Michigan State University
Abstract
In this paper, I will present an argument against Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness. Husserl’s analysis of picture consciousness (as it can be found primarily in the recently translated volume Husserliana 23) moves from a theory of depiction in general to a theory of perceptual imagination. Though, I think that Husserl’s thesis that picture consciousness is different from depictive and linguistic consciousness is legitimate, and that Husserl’s phenomenology avoids the errors of linguistic theories, such as Goodman’s, I submit that his overall theory is unacceptable, especially when it is applied to works of art. Regarding art, the main problem of Husserl’s theory is the assumption that pictures are constituted primarily as a conflict between perception/physical picture thing and imagination/picture object. Against this mentalist claim, I maintain, from a hermeneutic point of view, that pictures are the result of perceptual formations [Bildungen]. I then claim that Husserl’s theory fails, since it does not take into account what I call “plastic perception” [Bildliches Sehen], which plays a prominent role not only within the German tradition of art education but also within German art itself. In this connection, “plastic thinking” [Bildliches Denken] was prominent especially in Klee, in Kandinsky, and in Beuys, as well as in the overall doctrine of the Bauhaus. Ultimately, I argue that Husserl’s notion of picture consciousness and general perceptive imaginary consciousness must be replaced with a more dynamic model of the perception of pictures and art work that takes into account (a) the constructive and plastic moment, (b) the social dimension and (c) the genetic dimension of what it means to see something in something (Wollheim).
Keywords Edmund Husserl  Roland Barthes  Hans-Georg Gadamer  Richard Wollheim  Paul Klee  Phenomenology  Semiotics  Culturalism  Seeing-in  Image  Picture  Depiction  Picture Consciousness  Perception  Plastic Perception  Mentalism  Gestalt  Gebilde  Formation   Shaping Power  Vision  Visibility  Feuerquelle  Spring of Fire
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11007-007-9049-2
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,665
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Languages of Art.Nelson Goodman - 1968 - Bobbs-Merrill.
Review Of: Painting as an Art by Richard Wollheim. [REVIEW]Joseph Margolis - 1989 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 47 (3):281-284.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Image Consciousness and the Horizonal Structure of Perception.Walter Hopp - 2017 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 41 (1):130-153.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Unconscious Consciousness in Husserl and Freud.Rudolf Bernet - 2002 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1 (3):327-351.
Thinking Time.Jane Chamberlain - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:281-299.
Inner Time-Consciousness and Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness.Dan Zahavi - 2003 - In Donn Welton (ed.), The New Husserl: A Critical Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 157-180.
The Consciousness of Succession.Michael R. Kelly - 2009 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 83 (1):127-139.
Pictures and Singular Thought.John Zeimbekis - 2010 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (1):11-21.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
63 ( #122,470 of 2,242,821 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #499,634 of 2,242,821 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature