A Picture Held us Captive: The Later Wittgenstein and Visual Argumentation

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The issue of whether or not there are visual arguments has been an issue in informal logic and argumentation theory at least since 1996. In recent years, books, sections of prominent conferences and special journals issues have been devoted to it, thus significantly raising the profile of the debate. In this paper I will attempt to show how the views of the later Wittgenstein, particularly his views on images and the no- tion of “picturing”, can be brought to bear on the question of whether there are such things as “purely visual” arguments. I shall draw on Wittgenstein’s remarks in the Blue and Brown Books and in Philosophical Investigations in order to argue that al- though visual images may occur as elements of argumentation, broadly conceived, it is a mistake to think that there are purely visual arguments, in the sense of illative moves from premises to conclusions that are conveyed by images alone, without the support or framing of words.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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