•  2534
    Explaining depiction
    Philosophical Review 104 (3): 425-455. 1995.
    An account of depiction should explain its key features. I identify six: that depiction is from a point of view; that it represents its objects as having a visual appearance; that it depictive content is always reasonably detailed; that misrepresentation is possible, but only within limits; and that the ability to interpret depictions co-varies, given general competence with pictures, with knowledge of what the depicted objects look like. All this suggests that picturing works by capturing appea…Read more
  •  1328
    The Spectator in the Picture
    In Rob Van Gerwen (ed.), Richard Wollheim on the Art of Painting. Art as Representation and Expression, Cambridge University Press. pp. 215-231. 2001.
    This paper considers whether pictures ever implicitly represent internal spectators of the scenes they depict, and what theoretical construal to offer of their doing so. Richard Wollheim's discussion (Painting as an Art, ch.3) is taken as the most sophisticated attempt to answer these questions. I argue that Wollheim does not provide convincing argument for his claim that some pictures implicitly represent an internal spectator with whom the viewer of the picture is to imaginatively identify. in…Read more
  •  1200
    What Perky did not show
    Analysis 72 (3): 431-439. 2012.
    Some philosophers take Perky's experiments to show that perceiving can be mistaken for visualizing and so that the two sometimes match in phenomenology. On Segal’s alternative interpretation Perky’s subjects did not consciously perceive the stimuli at all. I argue that even setting this alternative aside, Perky's results do not prove what the philosophers think. She showed her subjects, not the objects they were asked to visualise, but pictures of them. What they mistook for visualizing was not …Read more
  •  868
    What is it for a film to be realistic? Of the many answers that have been proposed, I review five: that it is accurate and precise; that is has relatively few prominent formal features; that it is illusionistic; that it is transparent; and that, while plainly a moving picture, it looks to be a photographic recording, not of the actors and sets in fact filmed, but of the events narrated. The number and variety of these options raise a deeper question: what is realism, if these are all to count as…Read more
  •  819
    The Real Challenge to Photography (as Communicative Representational Art)
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2): 329-348. 2015.
    I argue that authentic photography is not able to develop to the full as a communicative representational art. Photography is authentic when it is true to its self-image as the imprinting of images. For an image to be imprinted is for its content to be linked to the scene in which it originates by a chain of sufficient, mind-independent causes. Communicative representational art (in any medium: photography, painting, literature, music, etc.) is art that exploits the resources of representation t…Read more
  •  766
    How to Be a Pessimist about Aesthetic Testimony
    Journal of Philosophy 108 (3): 138-157. 2011.
    Is testimony a legitimate source of aesthetic belief? Can I, for instance, learn that a film is excellent on your say-so? Optimists say yes, pessimists no. But pessimism comes in two forms. One claims that testimony is not a legitimate source of aesthetic belief because it cannot yield aesthetic knowledge. The other accepts that testimony can be a source of aesthetic knowledge, yet insists that some further norm prohibits us from exploiting that resource. I argue that this second form of pessimi…Read more
  •  661
    Sculpture and Space
    In Matthew Kieran & Dominic Lopes (eds.), Imagination, Philosophy, and the Arts, Routledge. pp. 272-290. 2003.
    What is distinctive about sculpture as an artform? I argue that it is related to the space around it as painting and the other pictorial arts are not. I expound and develop Langer's suggestive comments on this issue, before asking what the major strengths and weaknesses of that position might be.
  •  602
    Imagining the Past: on the nature of episodic memory
    In Fiona MacPherson Fabian Dorsch (ed.), Memory and Imagination, Oxford University Press. 2018.
    What kind of mental state is episodic memory? I defend the claim that it is, in key part, imagining the past, where the imagining in question is experiential imagining. To remember a past episode is to experientially imagine how things were, in a way controlled by one’s past experience of that episode. Call this the Inclusion View. I motive this view by appeal both to patterns of compatibilities and incompatibilities between various states, and to phenomenology. The bulk of the paper defends the…Read more
  •  493
    Episodic Memory as Representing the Past to Oneself
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (3): 313-331. 2014.
    Episodic memory is sometimes described as mental time travel. This suggests three ideas: that episodic memory offers us access to the past that is quasi-experiential, that it is a source of knowledge of the past, and that it is, at root, passive. I offer an account of episodic memory that rejects all three ideas. The account claims that remembering is a matter of representing the past to oneself, in a way suitably responsive to how one experienced the remembered episode to be. I argue that episo…Read more
  •  481
    Aesthetics, experience, and discrimination
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (2). 2005.
    Can indistinguishable objects differ aesthetically? Manifestationism answers ‘no’ on the grounds that (i) aesthetically significant features of an object must show up in our experience of it; and (ii) a feature—aesthetic or not—figures in our experience only if we can discriminate its presence. Goodman’s response to Manifestationism has been much discussed, but little understood. I explain and reject it. I then explore an alternative. Doubles can differ aesthetically provided, first, it is possi…Read more
  •  382
    This paper summarises the main claims I have made in a series of publications on depiction. Having described six features of depiction that any account should explain, I sketch an account that does this. The account understands depiction in terms of the experience to which it gives rise, and construes that experience as one of resemblance. The property in respect of which resemblance is experienced was identified by Thomas Reid, in his account of ‘visible figure’. I defend the account against ce…Read more
  •  335
    What is special about photographs? Traditional photography is, I argue, a system that sustains factive pictorial experience. Photographs sustain pictorial experience: we see things in them. Further, that experience is factive: if suchandsuch is seen in a photograph, then suchandsuch obtained when the photo was taken. More precisely, photographs are designed to sustain factive pictorial experience, and that experience is what we have when, in the photographic system as a whole, everything works a…Read more
  •  329
    Inflected Pictorial Experience: Its Treatment and Significance
    In Catharine Abell & Katerina Bantinaki (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Depiction, Oxford University Press. pp. 151. 2010.
    Some (Podro, Lopes) think that sometimes our experience of pictures is ‘inflected’. What we see in these pictures involves, somehow, an awareness of features of their design. I clarify the idea of inflection, arguing that the thought must be that what is seen in the picture is something with properties which themselves need characterising by reference to that picture’s design, conceived as such. I argue that there is at least one case of inflection, so understood. Proponents of inflection have c…Read more
  •  252
    How To Form Aesthetic Belief: Interpreting The Acquaintance Principle
    Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 3 (3): 85-99. 2006.
    What are the legitimate sources of aesthetic belief? Which methods for forming aesthetic belief are acceptable? Although the question is rarely framed explicitly, it is a familiar idea that there is something distinctive about aesthetic matters in this respect. Crudely, the thought is that the legitimate routes to belief are rather more limited in the aesthetic case than elsewhere. If so, this might tell us something about the sorts of facts that aesthetic beliefs describe, about the nature of o…Read more
  •  246
    Kant, quasi-realism, and the autonomy of aesthetic judgement
    European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2). 2001.
    Aesthetic judgements are autonomous, as many other judgements are not: for the latter, but not the former, it is sometimes justifiable to change one's mind simply because several others share a different opinion. Why is this? One answer is that claims about beauty are not assertions at all, but expressions of aesthetic response. However, to cover more than just some of the explananda, this expressivism needs combining with some analogue of cognitive command, i.e. the idea that disagreements over…Read more
  •  242
    Perspective, Convention and Compromise
    In Heiko Hecht, Margaret Atherton & Robert Schwartz (eds.), Looking Into Pictures: an interdisciplinary approach to pictorial space, Mit Press. pp. 145-165. 2003.
    What is special about picturing according to the rules of perspectival drawing systems? My answer is at once both radical and conciliatory. I think that depiction essentially involves a distinctive experience, an experience of resemblance. More precisely, the picture must be seen as preserving what Thomas Reid (Enquiry 1764) called the "visible figure" of what is represented. It follows from this, and from some other plausible premises, that if a picture is to depict detailed spatial arrangement…Read more
  •  225
    What is wrong with moral testimony?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (3): 611-634. 2007.
    Is it legitimate to acquire one’s moral beliefs on the testimony of others? The pessimist about moral testimony says not. But what is the source of the difficulty? Here pessimists have a choice. On the Unavailability view, moral testimony never makes knowledge available to the recipient. On Unusability accounts, although moral testimony can make knowledge available, some further norm renders it illegitimate to make use of the knowledge thus offered. I suggest that Unusability accounts provide th…Read more
  •  215
    Sartre
    In Amy Kind (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Imagination, Routledge. pp. 82-93. 2016.
    In The Imaginary Sartre offers a systematic, insightful and heterodox account of imagining in many forms. Beginning with four ‘characteristics’ he takes to capture the phenomenology of imagining, he draws on considerations both philosophical and psychological to describe the deeper nature of the state that has those features. The result is a view that remains the most potent challenge to the Humean orthodoxy that to this day dominates both philosophical and psychological thinking on the topic.
  •  208
    Imagination and affective response
    In Jonathan Webber (ed.), Reading Sartre: On Phenomenology and Existentialism, Routledge. pp. 100-117. 2010.
    What is the relation between affective states, such as emotions and pleasure, and imagining? Do the latter cause the former, just as perceptual states do? Or are the former merely imagined, along with suitable objects? I consider this issue against the backdrop of Sartre’s theory of imagination, and drawing on his highly illuminating discussion of it. I suggest that, while it is commonly assumed that imaginative states cause affective responses much as do perceptions, the alternatives merit more…Read more
  •  193
    Critical Reasoning and Critical Perception
    In Matthew Kieran & Dominic Lopes (eds.), Knowing Art, Springer. pp. 137-153. 2006.
    The outcome of criticism is a perception. Does this mean that criticism cannot count as a rational process? For it to do so, it seems it would have to be possible for there to be an argument for a perception. Yet perceptions do not seem to be the right sort of item to serve as the conclusions of arguments. Is this appearance borne out? I examine why perceptions might not be able to play that role, and explore what would have to be true of critical discourse for those obstacles to be circumvented…Read more
  •  188
    Beauty and testimony
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 47 209-236. 2000.
    Kant claims that the judgement of taste, the judgement that some particular is beautiful, exhibits two ‘peculiarities’. First: [t]he judgement of taste determines its object in respect of delight with a claim to the agreement of every one , just as if it were objective
  •  180
    What do we see in film?
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (2). 2008.
    Many films are made by a two-tier process: the photographing of events which themselves represent the story the film tells. The latter representation is often illusionistic. I explore two consequences. The first concerns what we see in film. I argue that we sometimes see in such films, not events representing the story told, but simply the events composing that story. The way is thereby opened to a unified aesthetic of film, whether made the two-tier way or not. The second consequence is that, s…Read more
  •  173
    Seeing-in and seeming to see
    Analysis 72 (4): 650-659. 2012.
    When we see something in a picture, do we enjoy visual experience as of the depicted object? Gombrichians say yes: when viewing ordinary pictures we simultaneously see the picture and seem to see its object. But why, then, isn’t seeing-in contradictory, and how are these two elements somehow integrated into a single experience? Gombrichians’ attempts to answer appeal either to our awareness of the picture’s design, or to the idea that picture and object are not given as in the same place. I argu…Read more
  •  161
    Molyneux’s Question
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (3): 441-464. 2005.
    What philosophical issue or issues does Molyneux’s question raise? I concentrate on two. First, are there any properties represented in both touch and vision? Second, for any such common perceptible, is it represented in the same way in each, so that the two senses support a single concept of that property? I show that there is space for a second issue here, describe its precise relations to Molyneux’s question, and argue for its philosophical significance. I close by arguing that Gareth Evans …Read more
  •  157
    Sculpture
    In Jerrold Levinson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics, Oxford University Press. pp. 572-582. 2003.
    What, if anything, is aesthetically distinctive about sculpture? Some think that sculpture differs from painting in being a specially tactile art. Different things might be meant by this, but it is anyway unhelpful to focus on our means of access to sculpture’s aesthetic properties, rather than those properties themselves. A more promising idea is that, while painting provides its own space, sculpture exists in the space of the gallery. To pursue this thought, I expound and develop the views of …Read more
  •  147
    Resemblance and misrepresentation
    Mind 103 (412): 421-438. 1994.
    One problem faced by resemblance views of depiction is posed by the misrepresentation. Another is to specify the respect in which pictures resemble their objects. To isolate the first, I discuss resemblance in the context of sculpture, where the solution to the second is, prima facie, obvious. The point of appealing to resemblance is to explain how the representation has the content it does. In the case of misrepresenting sculptures, this means appealing to resemblance, not between the sculpture…Read more
  •  145
    Picture, Image and Experience: A Philosophical Inquiry
    Cambridge University Press. 1998.
    How do pictures represent? In this book Robert Hopkins casts new light on an ancient question by connecting it to issues in the philosophies of mind and perception. He starts by describing several striking features of picturing that demand explanation. These features strongly suggest that our experience of pictures is central to the way they represent, and Hopkins characterizes that experience as one of resemblance in a particular respect. He deals convincingly with the objections traditionally …Read more
  •  141
    Moving because Pictures? Illusion and the Emotional Power of Film
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 34 (1): 200-218. 2010.
    Why does cinema exert such power over our emotions? Many have wanted to answer by appeal to the idea that film sustains some illusion concerning the events it narrates. I compare three such views: that film sustains the illusion that those events are before us; that it sustains that illusion, but only partially; and that, though viewers are always fully aware of seeing pictures, those pictures are experienced as the moving photographic record of the narrated events. I identify these positions’ s…Read more
  •  126
    Painting, History, and Experience
    Philosophical Studies 127 (1): 19-35. 2006.
    Two themes run through Wollheim’s work: the importance of history to the practice and appreciation of the arts, and the centrality of experience in appreciation. Prima facie, these are in tension. Reconciling them requires two steps. First, we should follow Wollheim in adopting a notion of experience on which features can be experienced even if we must have experience-independent access to the fact that the work exhibits them. Second, we need to state what makes a particular experience appropria…Read more