Pictorial Diversity

John Kulvicki

in Philosophical Perspectives on Depiction

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199585960
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723490 | DOI:

Series: Mind Association Occasional Series

Pictorial Diversity

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  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art


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There are undeniably many ways of depicting things, but it is unclear what the diversity of depictive representational systems consists in. What is a way of depicting something, and how many ways of depicting things are there? Pictorial diversity starts to seem interesting and confusing when one tries to fix a picture's content while varying its surface features, or vice versa. This chapter seeks to explain what is at issue in discussing pictorial diversity and to introduce two tools for understanding it: the notions of syntactic competition and semantic competition. The fact that pictures compete neither syntactically nor semantically places important constraints on picture interpretation.

Keywords: depiction; representational system; syntactic competition; semantic competition; interpretation

Chapter.  10869 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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