Inflected and Uninflected Experience of Pictures

Bence Nanay

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 and Uninflected Experience of Pictures

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It has been argued that picture perception is sometimes, but not always, ‘inflected’. Sometimes each of the two aspects of the twofold experience of seeing‐in influences the other such that the picture's design ‘inflects’, or is ‘recruited’ into, the depicted scene. The aim of this chapter is to cash out what is meant by these metaphors. Our perceptual state is different when we see an object face to face or when we see it in a picture. But there is also a further distinction: our perceptual state is very different if we perceive objects in pictures in an inflected or uninflected manner. The question is what this difference amounts to. The answer put forward in this chapter is that it is a difference of attention. In the case of inflected, but not uninflected, picture perception, we are consciously attending to certain properties: to ‘design‐scene properties’: relational property that cannot be fully characterized without reference to both the picture's design and the depicted object. I defend this way of interpreting inflected picture perception from some important objections and emphasize the importance of this, inflected, way of perceiving pictures.

Keywords: picture perception; seeing‐in; inflection; attention; twofoldness; design; design‐scene properties

Chapter.  10564 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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