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Seeing What Is Not There: Pictorial Experience, Imagination, and Non-localization
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2011 (English)In: British Journal of Aesthetics, ISSN 0007-0904, E-ISSN 1468-2842, Vol. 51, no 3, 279-294 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pictures let us see what is not there. Or rather, since what pictures depict is not really there, we do not really see the things they are pictures of. Ever since Richard Wollheim introduced the notion of seeing-in into philosophical aesthetics, as part of his theory of depiction, there has been a lively debate about how, precisely, to understand this experience. However, one (alleged) feature of seeing-in that Wollheim pointed to has been almost completely absent in the subsequent discussion, namely that seeing-in allows for non-localization. When looking at a picture, Wollheim says, there is not always an answer to the question of where one sees a certain thing in a picture. If Wollheim is right in this, pictures indeed let us see what is not there: we see things in pictures, but there is no ‘there’ where we see those things. In this paper I argue against Wollheim’s claim that object-seeing-in allows for non-localization. But there is, I argue, a pictorial experience, which is closely tied to seeing-in and which is non-localized, namely (what I call) pictorial perceptual presence

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 51, no 3, 279-294 p.
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-65445DOI: 10.1093/aesthj/ayr014ISI: 000293718600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-65445DiVA: diva2:463774
Note
authorCount :1Available from: 2011-12-11 Created: 2011-12-11 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Seeing What Is Not There: Essays on Pictures and Photographs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Seeing What Is Not There: Essays on Pictures and Photographs
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Pictures—paintings, etchings, photographs, CGI—let us see what is not there. Or, rather, since what pictures depict is not really there, we do not really see the pictorial contents. But we seem to see the depicted things: we “see” them “in” the pictures. One kind of picture—photographs— would seem to have a special capacity to yield this experience of “seeming-to-see.” Over the last couple of decades, the question of what it is to see something in a picture—photographic or otherwise—has been lively discussed. The papers in this thesis are all attempts at contributing to this discussion.

Essay I treats the special subjective experience one undergoes in looking at photographs (as opposed to “handmade” images). I argue that this experience is (in part) due to our taking photographs as a certain kind of trace. Along the way, it is also argued that Kendall Walton’s “transparency thesis”—the thought that one literally, actually, sees photographed objects when one sees photographs of them—cannot explain the phenomenology of photography.  Behind Walton’s transparency thesis lies a view of photography as an essentially causal medium; it is the merely causal process of photography that, on Walton’s view, makes photographs transparent. In Essay II, I offer an account of the role of causality in photography, and discuss its implications for the possible contents of photographs. Essays III and IV discuss pictorial perception in general. Essay III treats Richard Wollheim’s notion of non-localisation, and (what I call) pictorial perceptual presence, how things, which are strictly speaking not seen in an image, are still part of our apprehension of the picture. Essay IV gives an account of the seeing of states of affairs in pictures, and points to the significance of such seeing. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University, 2011. 49 p.
Keyword
depiction, photography, pictorial experience, perception, phenomenology
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-65446 (URN)978-91-7447-422-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-01-20, Hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2011-12-29 Created: 2011-12-11 Last updated: 2012-09-12Bibliographically approved

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