Varieties of Pictorial Illusion

Katie Tullmann
University of Missouri, St. Louis
This article focuses on a potentially perplexing aspect of our interactions with pictorial representations : in some cases, it seems that visual representations can play tricks on our cognitive faculties. We may either come to believe that objects represented in pictures are real or perhaps perceive them as such. The possibility of widespread pictorial illusions has been oft discussed, and discarded, in the aesthetics literature. I support this stance. However, the nature of the illusion is more complicated than is usually considered. I argue that there are five different types of potential illusions and present reasons for rejecting each. I also explore in detail the most persistent illusion: the “object recognition perceptual illusion thesis,” which states that we undergo a perceptual illusion while viewing pictorial representations simply in virtue of seeing objects in the representation. I contend that a rejection of this thesis depends on the nature of perceptual content, an issue with far-reaching consequences in aesthetics.
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DOI 10.1111/jaac.12285
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References found in this work BETA

Alief and Belief.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.
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Citations of this work BETA

Experiencing Gendered Seeing.Katherine Tullmann - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (4):475-499.
Art as Alchemy: The Bildobjekt Interpretation of Pictorial Illusion.Jens Dam Ziska - 2018 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 76 (2):225-234.

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