There is not one but many ways to picture the world--Australian "x-ray" pictures, cubish collages, Amerindian split-style figures, and pictures in two-point perspective each draw attention to different features of what they represent. Understanding Pictures argues that this diversity is the central fact with which a theory of figurative pictures must reckon. Lopes advances the theory that identifying pictures' subjects is akin to recognizing objects whose appearances have changed over time. He develops a schema for categorizing the different ways pictures (...) represent--the different kinds of meaning they have--and argues that that depiction's epistemic value lies in its representational diversity. He also offers a novel account of the phenomenology of pictorial experience, comparing pictures to visual prostheses like mirrors and binoculars. (shrink)
The question "what is art?" is often said to be venerable and vexing. In fact, the following answer to the question should be obvious: (R) item x is a work of art if and only if x is a work in practice P and P is one of the arts. Yet (R) has appeared so far from obvious that nobody has given it a moment's thought. The trouble is not that anyone might seriously deny the truth of (R), but rather (...) that they will find it uninformative. After all, the vexing question is pressed upon us by radical changes in art of the avant-garde, and (R) offers no resources to address these changes. With that in mind, here is the case for (R). The challenges posed by the avant-garde are real enough and they need to be addressed, but the vexing question is the wrong question to ask to address them. It does not follow that the question has no good answer. On the contrary, (R) is all the answer we need, if we do not need an answer that addresses the challenges posed by the avant-garde. Moreover, (R) points to a question that we do need answered. So, not only is it true but, in addition, (R) is as informative as we need. (shrink)
Representational theories of mind cannot individuate the sense modalities in a principled manner. According to representationalism, the phenomenal character of experiences is determined by their contents. The usual objection is that inverted qualia are possible, so the phenomenal character of experiences may vary independently of their contents. But the objection is inconclusive. It raises difficult questions about the metaphysics of secondary qualities and it is difficult to see whether or not inverted qualia are possible. This paper proposes an alternative test (...) of representationalism. Do experiences in different sense modalities have the same phenomenal character when they share content? Psychological work on the perception of shape through vision and spatial hearing is discussed. This work shows that visual and auditory experiences differ in phenomenal character even in so far as they represent similar properties. This objection to representationalism does not invite questions about secondary qualities or depend on establishing metaphysical possibilities. (shrink)
Art works realize many values. According to tradition, not all of these values are characteristic of art: art works characteristically bear aesthetic value. Breaking with tradition, some now say that art works bear artistic value, as distinct from aesthetic value. I argue that there is no characteristic artistic value distinct from aesthetic value. The argument for this thesis suggests a new way to think about aesthetic value as it is characteristically realized by works of art.
Images have power - for good or ill. They may challenge us to see things anew and, in widening our experience, profoundly change who we are. The change can be ugly, as with propaganda, or enriching, as with many works of art. Sight and Sensibility explores the impact of images on what we know, how we see, and the moral assessments we make. Dominic Lopes shows how these are part of, not separate from, the aesthetic appeal of images. His book (...) will be essential reading for anyone working in aesthetics and art theory, and for all those intrigued by the power of images to affect our lives. '...tightly focused and carefully argued... an exceptionally interesting contribution to the philosophy of art: it contains subtle, concise, and convincing discussions of a number of difficult concepts and contentious doctrines... lucid and meticulous'. (shrink)
If good taste is a virtue, then an account of good taste might be modelled on existing accounts of moral or epistemic virtue. One good reason to develop such an account is that it helps solve otherwise intractable problems in aesthetics. This paper proposes an alternative to neo-Aristotelian models of good taste. It then contrasts the neo-Aristotelian models with the proposed model, assessing them for their potential to contend with otherwise intractable problems in aesthetics.
A theory of aesthetic value should explain the performance of aesthetic experts, for aesthetic experts are agents who track aesthetic value. Aesthetic empiricism, the theory that an item's aesthetic value is its power to yield aesthetic pleasure, suggests that aesthetic experts are best at locating aesthetic pleasure, especially given aesthetic internalism, the view that aesthetic reasons always have motivating force. Problems with empiricism and internalism open the door to an alternative. Aesthetic experts perform a range of actions not aimed at (...) pleasure. Yet their reasons for acting are aesthetic. Since aesthetic values figure in aesthetic reasons, we can read a nonempiricist theory of aesthetic value off aesthetic experts’ reasons for acting. (shrink)
Everybody assumes (1) that musical performances are sonic events and (2) that their expressive properties are sonic properties. This paper discusses recent findings in the psychology of music perception that show that visual information combines with auditory information in the perception of musical expression. The findings show at the very least that arguments are needed for (1) and (2). If music expresses what we think it does, then its expressive properties may be visual as well as sonic; and if its (...) expressive properties are purely sonic, then music expresses less than we think it does. And if the expressive properties of music are visual as well as sonic, then music is not what we think it is—it is not purely sonic. (shrink)
_Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts_ is the first comprehensive collection of papers by philosophers examining the nature of imagination and its role in understanding and making art. Imagination is a central concept in aesthetics with close ties to issues in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language, yet it has not received the kind of sustained, critical attention it deserves. This collection of seventeen brand new essays critically examines just how and in what form the notion of imagination (...) illuminates fundamental problems in the philosophy of art. (shrink)
When we look at photographs we literally see the objects that they are of. But seeing photographs as photographs engages aesthetic interests that are not engaged by seeing the objects that they are of. These claims appear incompatible. Sceptics about photography as an art form have endorsed the first claim in order to show that there is no photographic aesthetic. Proponents of photography as an art form have insisted that seeing things in photographs is quite unlike seeing things face-to-face. This (...) paper argues that the claims are compatible. While seeing things in photographs is quite unlike seeing things face-to-face, nevertheless seeing things in photographs is one way of seeing things. The differences between seeing things by means of photographs and by means of the naked eye provide the elements of an account of the aesthetic interests photographs engage. (shrink)
What is computer art? Do the concepts we usually employ to talk about art, such as ‘meaning’, ‘form’ or ‘expression’ apply to computer art? _A Philosophy of Computer Art_ is the first book to explore these questions. Dominic Lopes argues that computer art challenges some of the basic tenets of traditional ways of thinking about and making art and that to understand computer art we need to place particular emphasis on terms such as ‘interactivity’ and ‘user’. Drawing on a wealth (...) of examples he also explains how the roles of the computer artist and computer art user distinguishes them from makers and spectators of traditional art forms and argues that computer art allows us to understand better the role of technology as an art medium. (shrink)
It is widely assumed that the art media can be individuated with reference to the sense modalities. Different art media are perceived by means of different sense modalities, and this tells us what properties of each medium are aesthetically relevant. The case of pictures appears to fit this principle well, for pictures are deemed purely and paradigmatically visual representations. However, recent psychological studies show that congenitally and early blind people have the ability to interpret and make raised‐line drawings through touch. (...) This shows that pictures are not essentially visual representations. The view that pictures are essentially visual follows from influential views of the nature of depiction and of the nature of vision that are mistaken. By rooting out the mistake, we learn something about pictures, something about vision, and something about the doctrine that art media are individuated by the sense modalities. (shrink)
Scientific images represent types or particulars. According to a standard history and epistemology of scientific images, drawings are fit to represent types and machine-made images are fit to represent particulars. The fact that archaeologists use drawings of particulars challenges this standard history and epistemology. It also suggests an account of the epistemic quality of archaeological drawings. This account stresses how images integrate non-conceptual and interepretive content.
This book offers a bold new approach to the philosophy of art. General theories of art don't work: they can't deal with problem cases. Instead of trying to define art, we should accept that a work of art is nothing but a work in one of the arts. Lopes's buck passing theory works well for the avant garde, illuminating its radical provocations.
Hypotheses in aesthetics should explain appreciative failure as well as appreciative success. They should state the general conditions under which people fail to understand and value works as works of art. This stricture is all the more important when the typical response to conceptual art is one of resistance. Some philosophers explain this by claiming that conceptual art violates traditional theories of art. Others say that it violates folk ontologies of art. In fact, the appreciative failure to which conceptual art (...) is prone is a consequence of the fact that it is not visual art, as it appears to be; rather it is an entirely new art form. Works in new art forms pose special challenges to appreciation. Identifying these challenges enriches theorizing about art. (shrink)
The third edition of the acclaimed _Routledge Companion to Aesthetics_ contains over sixty chapters written by leading international scholars covering all aspects of aesthetics. This companion opens with an historical overview of aesthetics including entries on Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin, Foucault, Goodman, and Wollheim. The second part covers the central concepts and theories of aesthetics, including the definitions of art, taste, the value of art, beauty, imagination, fiction, narrative, metaphor and pictorial representation. Part three is devoted to (...) issues and challenges in aesthetics, including art and ethics, art and religion, creativity, environmental aesthetics and feminist aesthetics. The final part addresses the individual arts, including music, photography, film, videogames, literature, theater, dance, architecture and design. With ten new entries, and revisions and updated suggestions for further reading throughout, _The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics_ is essential for anyone interested in aesthetics, art, literature, and visual studies. (shrink)
Some argue that there is no art in some non-Western cultures because members of those cultures have no concept of art. Others argue that members of some non-Western cultures have concepts of art because they have art. Both arguments assume that if there is art in a given culture, then some members of the culture have a concept of art. There are reasons to think that this assumption is false; and if it is false, there are lessons to learn for (...) cross-cultural studies of art both in anthropology and philosophy. (shrink)
Pictures are principally descriptive. Advertising images highlight features of potential purchases; cartoons open portals to scenes in fictional worlds; snapshots in the family photo album remind us of our past selves and landmark events in our personal histories; works of pictorial art express thoughts or feelings about depicted scenes. In addition, pictures serve a directive or action-guiding function that, though not taken into account by theorists, deserves no less attention than their descriptive one. Theories of depiction and the appreciation of (...) pictures stand to benefit by taking "directive pictures" into account, as do theories of representation in general and mental representation in particular. (shrink)
This paper examines a form of pictorial realism that has epistemic import. Gombrich and Schier claim that some pictures are realistic because they convey accurate information. The difficulty is that judgments of realism vary across cultural and historical contexts. Goodman counters that pictures belong to different systems and realistic pictures belong to familiar systems. However, this does not explain the revelatory realism' of pictures in novel systems. I propose that two views can be combined: a realistic picture is one which (...) belongs to a system that conveys the kind of information that suits the needs of users in a context. (shrink)
Aesthetic values give agents reasons to perform not only acts of contemplation, but also acts like editing, collecting, and conserving. Moreover, aesthetic agents rarely operate solo: they conduct their business as integral members of networks of other aesthetic agents. The consensus theory of aesthetic value, namely that an item’s aesthetic value is its power to evoke a finally valuable experience in a suitable spectator, can explain neither the range of acts performed by aesthetic agents nor the social contexts in which (...) they operate. This paper proposes a new theory of aesthetic value specifically to explain facts about the sociality of aesthetic agents. (shrink)
Pictures belong to stylistic systems that vary historically and culturally. This variation suggests that styles are conventional. However, styles are not conventional. Styles have perceptual functions that make them apt for use in some contexts and not others.
Since blind people can draw and interpret raised-line drawings, depiction is not an essentially visual medium. Neither is the art of pictures an essentially visual art form. The reasons given for evaluating a picture aesthetically may advert to its tactile qualities insteadof its visual qualities.In particular, a raised-line picture canbe valued for the tactile experience it elicits of the scene it depicts, just as a visual picture is sometimes valuedfor eliciting a visual experience of its subject. The argument for this (...) claim responds to some objections recently put forward by Robert Hopkins. (shrink)
Japan's Ise Jingu shrine has been taken down and rebuilt every twenty years for more than a millenium - a practice called "shikinen sengu." A standard ontology of architecture, according to which buildings are material particulars, implies that Ise Jingu is no more than twenty years old. However, a correct ontology of architecture is implicit in practices of architecture appreciation. The Japanese appreciation of Ise Jingu and other buildings in its architectural tradition implies both that it is no more than (...) twenty years old and that it is more than a thousand years old. Two ontologies are considered that reconcile this paradox. A general lesson is also drawn, that ontology of art can profit from cross-cultural studies. (shrink)