On Images: Their Structure and Content

On Images: Their Structure and Content

by John V. Kulvicki


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On Images: Their Structure and Content by John V. Kulvicki

Whether it was the demands of life, leisure, or a combination of both that forced our hands, we have developed a myriad of artifacts—maps, notes, descriptions, diagrams, flow-charts, photographs, paintings, and prints—that stand for other things. Most agree that images and their close relatives are special because, in some sense, they look like what they are about. This simple claim is the starting point for most philosophical investigations into the nature of depiction.

On Images, by contrast, argues that what it is to be a picture does not fundamentally concern how such representations can be perceived. What matters is not how we perceive representations but how they relate to one another. This kind of approach, first championed by Nelson Goodman in his Languages of Art, has not found many supporters, in part because of weaknesses with Goodman's account. On Images shows that a properly crafted structural account of pictures has many advantages over the perceptual accounts that dominate the literature on this topic. In particular, it explains the close relationship between pictures, diagrams, graphs and other kinds of non-linguistic representation. Kulvicki undermines the claim that pictures are essentially visual by showing how many kinds of non-visual representations, including audio recordings and tactile line drawings, are genuinely pictorial. Part Two shows that the structural account of depiction can help to explain why pictures seem so perceptually special, rather than taking that fact for granted. Based on these results, Part Three provides a new account of pictorial realism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199561674
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2009
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

John V. Kulvicki is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

Table of Contents

Introduction: Alberti's Window, Leonardo's Mirror, and van Gogh's Room
Part One: Image Structure
1. Goodman's Progress
2. Repleteness, Sensitivity, and Richness
3. Transparency
4. Mimesis
5. Other Visibilia and Other Media
Part Two: Image Content
6. Bare Bones Content
7. Understanding Commitments
8. Sense Data and Bare Bones Content
9. Fleshing-out and Seeing-in
10. Perceiving Pictures
Part Three: Realism and Variety
11. Verity
12. Information, Imitation, and Inculcation

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