American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):185 - 197 (2005)

Authors
Catharine Abell
Oxford University
Abstract
In this paper, I discuss the influential view that depiction, like language, depends on arbitrary conventions. I argue that this view, however it is elaborated, is false. Any adequate account of depiction must be consistent with the distinctive features of depiction. One such feature is depictive generativity. I argue that, to be consistent with depictive generativity, conventionalism must hold that depiction depends on conventions for the depiction of basic properties of a picture’s object. I then argue that two considerations jointly preclude depiction from being governed by such conventions. Firstly, conventions must be salient to those who employ them. Secondly, those parts of pictures that depict basic properties of objects are not salient to the makers and interpreters of pictures.
Keywords depiction  convention  representation  generativity
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References found in this work BETA

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Languages of Art.Nelson Goodman - 1970 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (1):62-63.
Truth by Convention.W. V. Quine - 1936 - In Philosophical Essays for Alfred North Whitehead. London: Longmans, Green & Co.. pp. 90–124.

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Citations of this work BETA

Canny Resemblance.Catharine Abell - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (2):183-223.
Pictorial Realism.Catharine Abell - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):1 – 17.
Depiction and Convention.Ben Blumson - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (3):335-348.
Idealist Origins: 1920s and Before.Martin Davies & Stein Helgeby - 2014 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), History of Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 15-54.
Interpreting Images.Ben Blumson - 2014 - In Resemblance and Representation. Open Book Publishers. pp. 118-138.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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