First and still only philosophy treatise on drawing, explaining the bases of meaning in all kinds of drawings, including technical and informational, design, child, and art drawings--depictive and nondepictive, East and West--engaging cognitive and developmental psychology, philosophy, art history and criticism. Ca 290 double-columned pp., 92 illus. Reviews include: Philosophy--David Hills, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 65, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 235-237. Aesthetics--Michael Podro, British Journal of Aesthetics 48, no. 3 (July 2008): 346-347. Art history--Svetlana Alpers, Phi Bet Kappa (...) Society Key Reporter (Summer 2006): 14 http://www.pbk.org/documents/tkrpdf/TKRSummer2006.pdf. General--Amy Ione, Leonardo On-line Reviews: http://www.leonardo.info/reviews/jan2007/draw_ione.html . (shrink)
First ever philosophy treatise on photography, analytic in approach but sensitive to photo-history, not confined to aesthetics or art (illus.), Walker Evans photo on cover. Papercover printing, Dec. 2000.
For philosophical readers, a review of biology Nobel laureate Eric R. Kandel’s Age of Insight historical thesis, that today’s ‘neuroaesthetics’ is a continuation of Vienna’s great contributions to modernism from 1900 on, becomes a ‘critical study’, by closely examining Kandel’s valuable account of E.H. Gombrich’s psychology, then, broadly, his own case for the validity of ‘neuroaesthetics’. The article much credits Kandel for recognising and explaining—unlike most philosophers, with their epistemological and metaphysical perspectives—why Gombrich’s Art and Illusion is subtitled ‘Psychology’, since (...) it is about what its author termed throughout ‘convincing’ depiction. But, while holding that Kandel’s case for ‘neuroaesthetics’ is, at least in tone, superior to Ramachandran’s, the study broadens still further into a critical examination of it, with at first standard—since Aristotle—arguments against reductivism, as a materialism that neglects first formal then final causes or purposes. Original to the critique is an additional argument, that so-called ‘neuroaesthetics’ is not only inconsistent with the ‘reductionist’—not reductivist—principles of Kandel’s own science, as explained in his earlier account of them, In Search of Memory, but also contradicts a basic Darwinian principle underlying all modern biology, that genuine novelty can arise from rearrangement of older materials. The conclusion is that although neuroscience may make important contributions to aesthetics and appreciation, there is as yet no basis for holding that it could produce an aesthetics. (shrink)
Can we ever claim to understand a work of art or be objective about it? Why have cultures thought it important to separate out a group of objects and call them art? What does aesthetics contribute to our understanding of the natural landscape? Are the concepts of art and the aesthetic elitist? Addressing these and other issues in aesthetics, this important new Oxford Reader includes articles by authors ranging from Aristotle and Xie-He to Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Michael Baxandall, and Susan Sontag. (...) It focuses on why art and a variety of aesthetics matter to us, and on how perceivers participate in and contribute to the experience of appreciating a work of art. With its multicultural and multidisciplinary scope, this volume shows how anthropology, art history, Chinese theories of painting, and other perspectives both enrich and provide alternatives to classic philosophical accounts of art and the aesthetic. (shrink)
'Photo-credit: David Hume': a dialogue showing how application of Hume's three vivacity principles of resemblance, contiguity and causation--even his illustrations of them--not only immediately clarify the main sources of interest in photography, but locate photography in the broad and fascinating history of various functions that images serve us, thereby dispelling ongoing mystification about it. (In the dialogue, Veronica represents our contiguity and causal interests, Miranda [named for a Japanese camera company] our depictive ('resemblance') interests, while Clara serves as philosophical moderator.).
“Public” is here treated by its three extensions: most broadly, from the merely extrasomatic, where users of representations are initially distinguished from makers, through ‘published’ or for the general public, to the governmental, official—where the discussion begins, before turning in its second half to the more common, middle meaning. What is public in these ways, “spatial representation”, also has the different meanings of representation of space or representation by spatial means, and there are several kinds of space to be considered. (...) The styles of the two halves contrast, that of the first being an inductive mapping of neglected conceptual terrain of directive representations, that of the second linear: a continuous argument in answer to a question regarding descriptive spatial representation in the digital age. The common thread is the public as users of all such cognitive artifacts, and this use as interactive, with a range of implications for social collectivity. (shrink)
Philosophy's only celebration of photography's 150th, the long-neglected philosophical job of clarification: drawing basic distinctions and defining basic conceptions, including photographic depiction, photographic detection, 'photograph of', 'documentary'. More than a lexicon, it explains why photography is important, by historically characterizing it through its uses for depiction, detection, reproduction, all of which have shaped the modern world. By consideration of it as 'mechanical', the paper explains photography's differences from practices with which it shares these functions. Happy birthday, photography.
Recent advances in paleoarchaeology show why nothing in the Tate Modern, where a conference on "Agency & Automatism" took place, challenges the roots of 'the idea of the fine arts' (Kristeller) as high levels of craft, aesthetics, mimesis and mental expression, as exemplifying cultures: it is by them that we define our species. This paper identifies and deals with resistances, early and late, to photographic fine art as based on concerns about automatism reducing human agency--that is, mental expression--then offers the (...) fuller account of agency lacking in such discussions. But fine art is not the only value classification we use. (shrink)
Introduces philosophers to John Willats' effective new drawing systems vocabulary for describing drawings and related images, also stresses topological-space values in pictures, vs psychology's projective tendencies (illus).
Review of literature and independent essay on the 1989 sesquicentennial of photography, winner of Canadian Association for American Studies 1991 award for paper that "best exemplifies the discipline of American Studies".
Extensive revision of 1998 entry (for expanded new edition of Encyclopedia of Aesthetics) to include, besides mini-essays on technology, art, depiction and the aesthetic, a development of the last in terms of facture--the materials of a work and their working there, as perceivable in the work.
Cynthia Freeland’s investigation of four kinds of ‘fidelity’ in portraiture is cut across by more general philosophical concerns. One is about what might be called the expression of persons--the persons or ‘inner selves’ of portrait subjects and of portrait artist: whether either is possible across each of the four kinds of fidelity, and whether these two kinds of expression are in tension. More fundamental is the problem of telling how self-expression is at all possible in any of these forms. Finally, (...) she wonders how photography affects all these questions. This comment addresses portraiture not so much in terms of the four fidelities, but with another quartet of concepts: four ordinary types of ‘display’, in terms of which we see how artists’ self-expression is possible in all these forms, also including photography. Its key idea is that portraits are displays simply by being pictures or sculptures, which are kinds of artifacts, hence things that we perceive as having intentional affordance: that is, as being intentionally made ‘for’ something. (shrink)
From a perceptual psychology and philosophy conference on linear perspective: points out standard fallacies about perspective, then challenges psychology's and philosophy's widespread assumption that a satisfactory understanding of depiction in any medium can be reached via theories of spatial--or any other kind of--visual perception.