•  579
    Beyond Resemblance
    Philosophical Review 122 (2): 215-287. 2013.
    What is it for a picture to depict a scene? The most orthodox philosophical theory of pictorial representation holds that depiction is grounded in resemblance. A picture represents a scene in virtue of being similar to that scene in certain ways. This essay presents evidence against this claim: curvilinear perspective is one common style of depiction in which successful pictorial representation depends as much on a picture's systematic differences with the scene depicted as on the similarities; …Read more
  •  305
    Conventions of Viewpoint Coherence in Film
    with Samuel Cumming and Rory Kelly
    Philosophers' Imprint 17. 2017.
    This paper examines the interplay of semantics and pragmatics within the domain of film. Films are made up of individual shots strung together in sequences over time. Though each shot is disconnected from the next, combinations of shots still convey coherent stories that take place in continuous space and time. How is this possible? The semantic view of film holds that film coherence is achieved in part through a kind of film language, a set of conventions which govern the relationships between …Read more
  •  117
    Semantics of Pictorial Space
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1. 2021.
    A semantics of pictorial representation should provide an account of how pictorial signs are associated with the contents they express. Unlike the familiar semantics of spoken languages, this problem has a distinctively spatial cast for depiction. Pictures themselves are two-dimensional artifacts, and their contents take the form of pictorial spaces, perspectival arrangements of objects and properties in three dimensions. A basic challenge is to explain how pictures are associated with the parti…Read more
  •  109
    Introduction: Varieties of Iconicity
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1): 1-25. 2015.
    This introduction aims to familiarize readers with basic dimensions of variation among pictorial and diagrammatic representations, as we understand them, in order to serve as a backdrop to the articles in this volume. Instead of trying to canvas the vast range of representational kinds, we focus on a few important axes of difference, and a small handful of illustrative examples. We begin in Section 1 with background: the distinction between pictures and diagrams, the concept of systems of repres…Read more
  •  56
    Content and Target in Pictorial Representation
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5. 2018.
    This essay argues for a model of pictorial representation which aims to explain the relationship between pictorial content and pictorial accuracy. Focusing on cases where pictures are intended to convey accurate information, the model distinguishes between two fundamental representational relations: on one hand, a picture expresses a content; on the other, it aims at a target scene. Such a picture is accurate when the content it expresses fits the target scene it aims at. In addition, the model …Read more
  •  52
    Counterfactuals and modality
    Linguistics and Philosophy 1 1-26. 2021.
    This essay calls attention to a set of linguistic interactions between counterfactual conditionals, on one hand, and possibility modals like could have and might have, on the other. These data present a challenge to the popular variably strict semantics for counterfactual conditionals. Instead, they support a version of the strict conditional semantics in which counterfactuals and possibility modals share a unified quantificational domain. I’ll argue that pragmatic explanations of this evidence …Read more
  •  24
    The Semiotic Spectrum
    Dissertation, . 2011.
    Because humans cannot know one another’s minds directly, every form of communication is a solution to the same basic problem: how can privately held information be made publicly accessible through manipulations of the physical environment? Language is by far the best studied response to this challenge. But there are a diversity of non-linguistic strategies for representation with external signs as well, from facial expressions and fog horns to chronological graphs and architectural renderings. T…Read more