Representation in Art

Alan H. Goldman

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577239 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Representation in Art

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Of all the long-standing debates that raise doubts about progress in philosophy, that concerning the nature of representation in the arts stands out. For Plato's analysis, charitably interpreted and amplified, holds up remarkably well in the face of strong criticism earlier in this century and yet more recent revisions. And the question that he raised about the value of representation as he analysed it, while less prominent as a philosophical topic, proves still difficult to answer, although here it is much clearer that Plato is wrong in the negative answer he gave. At the centre of the former debate is the question whether representation depends essentially on resemblance, but this is just part of Plato's analysis, and the other parts, while only implicit, have been unduly neglected.

Keywords: representation in the arts; Plato's analysis; resemblance; causal element; painting

Article.  9413 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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