Inflected Pictorial Experience

Robert Hopkins

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

Inflected Pictorial Experience

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Some (Podro, Lopes) think that sometimes our experience of pictures is ‘inflected’. What we see in these pictures involves, somehow, an awareness of features of their design. This chapter clarifies the idea of inflection, arguing that the thought must be that what is seen in the picture is something with properties which themselves need characterizing by reference to that picture's design, conceived as such. It argues that there is at least one case of inflection, so understood. Proponents of inflection have claimed great significance for the phenomenon. But what might that significance be? Inter alia, the chapter considers Lopes's proposal that inflection solves a central problem in pictorial aesthetics concerning the value of pictures, the ‘puzzle of mimesis’. It argues that the puzzle, and the proposed solution, both turn on aspects of Lopes's conception of seeing‐in. Other accounts of seeing‐in can make no sense of either. It further argues that the phenomenon of inflection itself puts pressure on the sort of account Lopes offers. Thus, it is hard to offer a view which both holds that inflection occurs and is able to make clear sense of why it matters.

Keywords: pictorial aesthetics; value; inflection; seeing‐in; Lopes; Podro

Chapter.  12097 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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