Gabriel Greenberg is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of California, Los Angeles. He is interested in the variety of representation, from symbols to images, and everything in between. He is the author of “Beyond Resemblance,” Philosophical Review 122/2 (2013).
- What are your intuitive judgements about these puzzles?
- How does your favorite theory of depiction come down on these issues?
- Is there an analogous issue in the philosophy of perception, and how has it been resolved or debated there?
|“Lady Gaga” by Vania|
Context. Here is a fan-art portrait of Lady Gaga. For the sake of argument, let’s suppose it was drawn from life.
Puzzle. Does this portrait of Lady Gaga depict her as…
- having nose, eyes, and mouth?
- having lungs?
- having feet?
- being a person?
- sitting for a portrait?
- being a musician?
having sung the song “Telephone”?having sung the song “Pokerface”?
If no, then what grounds the difference in content between the two pictures? If yes, then I invite you to the next puzzle…
Context. I’ve got a favorite cube and a favorite rectangular box.
Here they are:
Context. I have occasionally unsteady hands. I set out to draw my favorite cube perfectly accurately, and do pretty well, but add one superfluous curve to an otherwise accurate drawing.
7. The Absent Cube
- The picture depicts Ponyo as walking across the street.
- The picture depicts the president as waving her hand.
- The picture depicts the cube as being a cube.
[picture] depicts [object] as [property]