Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):463-480 (2010)

Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp
It has been claimed that photographs are transparent: we see through them; we literally see the photographed object through the photograph. Whether this claim is true depends on the way we conceive of seeing. There has been a controversy about whether localizing the perceived object in one's egocentric space is a necessary feature of seeing, as if it is, then photographs are unlikely to be transparent. I would like to propose and defend another, much weaker, necessary condition for seeing: I argue that it is necessary for seeing that there is at least one way for me to move such that if I were to move this way, my view of the perceived object would change continuously as I move. Since this condition is not satisfied in the case of seeing objects in photographs, photographs are not transparent
Keywords Picture perception  Depiction  Photograph  Transparency  Sensorimotor contingencies
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0114.2010.01380.x
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Perceiving Pictures.Bence Nanay - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (4):461-480.
Are Pictures Peculiar Objects of Perception?Gabriele Ferretti - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (3):372-393.
Seeing Through Eyes, Mirrors, Shadows and Pictures.Helen Yetter-Chappell - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):2017-2042.
Do Trompe l'Oeils Look Right When Viewed From the Wrong Place?Gabriele Ferretti - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (3):319-330.

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