Depicting Depictions

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):453-479 (2017)
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Abstract

How is it possible for a picture to depict a picture? Proponents of perceptual theories of depiction, who argue that the content of a picture is determined, in part, by the visual state it elicits in suitable viewers, that is, by a state of seeing-in, have given a plausible answer to this question. They say that a picture depicts a picture, in part, because, under appropriate conditions of observation, a suitable viewer will be able to see a picture in the picture. In this article, I first argue that this answer is in conflict with the way in which some of the most influential perceptual theories of depiction – Robert Hopkins's version of the experienced resemblance theory and Dominic Lopes's version of the recognition theory – construe seeing-in. I then formulate a version of the recognition theory that avoids this conflict and show how it can explain the depiction of pictures.

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Rene Jagnow
University of Georgia

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