Resemblance and Representation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Pictures - cover image

Copyright

Ben Blumson

Published On

2014-09-21

ISBN

Paperback978-1-78374-072-7
Hardback978-1-78374-073-4
PDF978-1-78374-074-1
HTML978-1-80064-473-1
EPUB978-1-78374-075-8
MOBI978-1-78374-076-5

Language

  • English

Print Length

222 pages (x + 212 )

Dimensions

Paperback156 x 12 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.47" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 14 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.56" x 9.21")

Weight

Paperback703g (24.80oz)
Hardback1082g (38.17oz)

Media

Illustrations7
Tables1

OCLC Number

993960652

LCCN

2019467787

BIC

  • CFA
  • HPN
  • HPM

BISAC

  • PHI001000
  • PHI038000
  • PHI015000

LCC

  • B105.R4

Keywords

  • Depiction
  • Representation
  • Resemblance
  • Pictorial Representation
  • Pictures
  • Language
  • Intentionality
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Resemblance and Representation

An Essay in the Philosophy of Pictures

  • Ben Blumson (author)
It’s a platitude – which only a philosopher would dream of denying – that whereas words are connected to what they represent merely by arbitrary conventions, pictures are connected to what they represent by resemblance. The most important difference between my portrait and my name, for example, is that whereas my portrait and I are connected by my portrait’s resemblance to me, my name and I are connected merely by an arbitrary convention. The first aim of this book is to defend this platitude from the apparently compelling objections raised against it, by analysing depiction in a way which reveals how it is mediated by resemblance. It’s natural to contrast the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance, which emphasises the differences between depictive and descriptive representation, with an extremely close analogy between depiction and description, which emphasises the similarities between depictive and descriptive representation. Whereas the platitude emphasises that the connection between my portrait and me is natural in a way the connection between my name and me is not, the analogy emphasises the contingency of the connection between my portrait and me. Nevertheless, the second aim of this book is to defend an extremely close analogy between depiction and description. The strategy of the book is to argue that the apparently compelling objections raised against the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance are manifestations of more general problems, which are familiar from the philosophy of language. These problems, it argues, can be resolved by answers analogous to their counterparts in the philosophy of language, without rejecting the platitude. So the combination of the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance with a close analogy between depiction and description turns out to be a compelling theory of depiction, which combines the virtues of common sense with the insights of its detractors.

Endorsements

In Resemblance and Representation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Pictures, Ben Blumson argues compellingly against the view that depictions and descriptions function in fundamentally different ways. Throughout the book, he uses a broadly Gricean approach to representation in order to stress the parallels between language and depiction. This original and fruitful framework enables him to reconcile the widely held assumption that depictive representations are grounded in resemblance with the view that they are elements of symbolic systems. Most impressive is Blumson's attention to both artistic and non-artistic depictions, such as maps and diagrams. This study makes a unique contribution to the existing literature on the nature of depiction.

Rene Jagnow

Associate Professor in Philosophy, University of Georgia

Reviews

One must also recognize the amount of excellent work Blumson has done in order to, precisely, produce a very systematic, well-articulated and well-defended theory. An impressive list of objections is answered in an impressively detailed and rigorous way. This book is an excellent source of thought for anyone who is interested in depiction, and Blumson's comparison with the way language represents is both inspiring and compelling.

Jiri Benovsky

"Ben Blumson, Resemblance and Representation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Pictures". Dialectica (1746-8361), vol. 69, no. 2, 2015. doi:10.1111/1746-8361.12102

Full Review

Contents

1. Introduction

(pp. 9–29)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.01

2. Defining Depiction

(pp. 31–49)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.02

3. Depiction and Intention

(pp. 51–66)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.03

4. Depiction and Convention

(pp. 67–83)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.04

5. Symbol Systems

(pp. 85–98)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.05

6. Depiction and Composition

(pp. 99–115)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.06

7. Interpreting Images

(pp. 117–138)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.07

8. Intentionality and Inexistence

(pp. 139–158)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.08

9. Perspective and Possibility

(pp. 159–178)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.09

10. Pictures and Properties

(pp. 179–198)
  • Ben Blumson
https://doi.org/10.11647/obp.0046.10

Contributors

Ben Blumson

(author)
Assistant Professor of Philosophy at National University of Singapore