The Monist 58 (2):236-254 (1974)

Kendall Walton
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The representational arts seem friendly territory for “symbol” theories of aesthetics. Much of the initial resistance one may feel to the idea that a Mondrian composition or a Scarlatti sonata is a symbol evaporates when we switch to a portrait of Mozart, Michelangelo’s Pietá, or Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. These representational works have reference to things outside themselves. The portrait is a picture of Mozart; the Pietá is a sculpture of Christ and his Mother; A Tale of Two Cities is about London, Paris, and the French Revolution. It is natural enough to consider the relation between these works and what they are of or about a semantic one. And if the representational is to be understood in terms of this semantic relation it is reasonable to hold that to be representational is to be a symbol of a certain kind.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist197458216
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