•  8
    Pictures let us see what is not there. Or rather, since what pictures depict is not really there, we do not really see the things they are pictures of. Ever since Richard Wollheim introduced the notion of seeing-in into philosophical aesthetics, as part of his theory of depiction, there has been a lively debate about how, precisely, to understand this experience. However, one (alleged) feature of seeing-in that Wollheim pointed to has been almost completely absent in the subsequent discussion, n…Read more
  • Thought Experiments in Aesthetics
    with Paisley Livingston
    In K. Brownlee, D. Coady & K. Lippert-Rasmussen (eds.), A Companion to Applied Philosophy, Wiley-blackwell. 2016.
    In the burgeoning literature on thought experiments (e.g., Cohen 2005; Freese 1995; Gendler 2000; Häggqvist 1996, 2009; Ierodiakonou and Roux 2011; Sorensen 1992), examples are drawn from almost all areas of philosophy. One exception, however, is aesthetics. There are good reasons why this is so: there are very few interesting theory‐ oriented thought experiments in aesthetics, which is unsurprising since there are few well‐developed theories to test in this field (see Chapter 34, Applied Aesthe…Read more
  •  83
    Shot in the Dark: Notes on Photography, Causality, and Content
    Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249): 759-776. 2012.
    Photography is often said to be an essentially causal medium. This paper addresses the role of causality in photography and argues for three main claims: (i) a causal theory of photography does not force us to say that images of backlit objects are photographs of the back surfaces of the said objects (as Roy Sorensen would have it); rather, (ii), such images, I suggest, are photographs of the objects and what Alva Noë would call their ‘looks’; (iii) the notion of ‘looks’ furnishes us with a way …Read more
  • Seeing Depicted Space (or Not)
    In Anna Bergqvist & Robert Cowan (eds.), Evaluative Perception, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    What is it to see something in a picture? Most accounts of pictorial experience—or, to use Richard Wollheim’s term, ‘seeing-in’—seek, in various ways, to explain it in terms of how pictures somehow display the looks of things. However, some ‘things’ that we apparently see in pictures do not display any ‘look.’ In particular, most pictures depict empty space, but empty space does not seem to display any ‘look’—at least not in the way material objects do. How do we see it in pictures, if we do? In…Read more
  •  49
    Capturing Shadows: On Photography, Causation, and Absences
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2): 256-269. 2017.
    Many photographs seem to be images of absences: for instance, a photograph of a shadow seems to be an image of an absence, as shadows are plausibly thought of as being absences of light. Absence photography is puzzling, however, as, first, it is a common idea that photographs can only be images of things that have caused them, and, second, it is unclear whether absences can cause anything. In this paper, I look at various ways to unravel the puzzle. Along the way, I also hope to cast some light …Read more
  •  242
    Depictive Traces: On the Phenomenology of Photography
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (2): 185-196. 2011.
    Ever since their invention, photographic images have often been thought to be a special kind of image. Often, photography has been claimed to be a particularly realistic medium. At other times, photographs are said to be epistemically superior to other types of image. Yet another way in which photographs apparently are special is that our subjective experience of looking at photographs seems very different from our experience of looking at other types of image, such as paintings and drawings. Wh…Read more