Pictorial Syntax

Mind and Language (forthcoming)
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It is commonly assumed that images, whether in the world or in the head, do not have a privileged analysis into constituent parts. They are thought to lack the sort of syntactic structure necessary for representing complex contents and entering into sophisticated patterns of inference. I reject this assumption. “Image grammars” are models in computer vision that articulate systematic principles governing the form and content of images. These models are empirically credible and can be construed as literal grammars for images. Images can have rich syntactic structure, though of a markedly different form than sentences in language.

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Kevin J. Lande
York University


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