Varieties of Pictorial Judgement: A Functional Account

Norman H. Freeman

in The Aesthetic Mind

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199691517
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731815 | DOI:
Varieties of Pictorial Judgement: A Functional Account

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Psychological aesthetics involves accounting for why viewers engage with a picture or disengage, professing indifference or even antipathy. Both engagement and disengagement yield evidence on how viewing history bears on judgement; and on viewers’ reasoning about whether an unattractive scene could inspire a good picture, or who to consult when you cannot be sure of recognizing what is being represented. Viewers’ assumptions come to centre on a plurifunctional conception of pictures. Everyday pictorial reasoning involves three functions governing representation, expressiveness and beauty, operating over a net of four entities: picture, artist, viewer, scene. That characterization is the minimum necessary to explain why pictorial reasoning has to take the forms it does. For that explanation to form part of the natural sciences, a functional approach would tessellate with the other traditional levels of analysis, especially causal and ontogenetic.

Keywords: pictorial judgement and reasoning; empirical psychology; causal and ontogenetic analysis

Chapter.  6175 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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