The Nonconceptual Content of Paintings

Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 48 (1):29-45 (2011)
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This article argues that paintings have a nonconceptual content unlike that of mechanically produced images. The first part of the article outlines an information-theory approach modelled on the camera and based on the idea that pictures convey information about what they depict. Picture structure is conceived of as contentful by virtue of a supposed causal link with what is depicted and as nonconceptual because it is independent of observers’ understanding. The second part introduces an embodied depiction approach based on Merleau-Ponty’s view of style and the act of painting. It is argued that because of bodily mediation the nonconceptual content of paintings cannot be assimilated to the information-theory approach; painted configurations are contentful by virtue of being the product of intelligent activity, but are nonconceptual because they differ from concepts in their representational function



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Andrew Inkpin
University of Melbourne

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References found in this work

Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Mind and World.John Mcdowell - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):99-109.
A Study of Concepts.Christopher Peacocke - 1992 - Studia Logica 54 (1):132-133.
The Nonconceptual Content of Experience.Tim Crane - 1992 - In The Contents of Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 136-57.
Understanding pictures.Dominic Lopes - 1996 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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