Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

September 7, 2013
by Aesthetics for Birds

Seven Puzzles of Pictorial Content

What follows is a guest post by Gabriel Greenberg. Gabriel 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). In this post I want to pose seven puzzles about the representational content of pictures.  By “pictures” I mean, roughly, perspectival images like architectural and figurative drawings, photographs, or maps.  All the puzzles here presuppose that pictures have content.   This is a natural idea: a picture represents the world as being a certain way; how it represents the world as being is its content.  The fact that pictures have content is what makes them useful for communication, problem solving, and entertainment. The puzzles here focus especially on the kinds of properties that are attributed in pictorial content.  The very first puzzle brings to the fore how … Continue reading