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By A. Voltolini

What's depiction? a brand new resolution is given to this venerable query via offering a syncretistic idea of depiction that attempts to mix the advantages of the former theories at the subject whereas shedding their defects. therefore, not just perceptual, but additionally either traditional and causal components give a contribution in making whatever an image of whatever else.

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Extra resources for A Syncretistic Theory of Depiction

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According to this paradigm, depictions are representations that belong to a specific representational system, whose specificity accounts for their being representations of a particular kind. Goodman (1968) and Kulvicki (2006) are the main representatives of this theoretical group. On the other hand, there is the majoritarian paradigm, the perceptualist Depictions aka Pictures 17 paradigm, according to which either perceptually relevant properties or perceptually relevant mental states are crucial in order to understand how depictions are a pictorial kind of representation.

So, provided that one simply takes transparent and opaque pictures as two species of the same representational kind, which pictorial representations as a whole instantiate, one may easily amend the semiotic paradigm with regards Semiotic Theories of Depiction 29 to this concern: the intentionality of a figurative image is established either conventionally or causally. 13 For, although a causal relation may well be taken to belong to the natural order of the world independently of human transactions, one may still say that even in such a case one cannot read off from the picture what its subject is.

50 So far, so good; by so appealing to bare bone content, Kulvicki’s semiotic theory relinquishes the strict minimalism that characterizes Goodman’s account and allows for the representational content of a pictorial representation to be constrained by its figurative content. Yet at this point a new question arises: where can the line be drawn between cases in which the difference in syntactically relevant properties affects the syntactic identity of a representation, hence the structural transparency of the system it belongs to, and cases in which this does not happen?

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