Philosophical Studies

, Volume 173, Issue 1, pp 187–203 | Cite as

Pictures, presence and visibility

  • Solveig Aasen


This paper outlines a ‘perceptual account’ of depiction. It centrally contrasts with experiential accounts of depiction in that seeing something in a picture is understood as a visual experience of something present in the picture, rather than as a visual experience of something absent. The experience of a picture is in this respect akin to a veridical rather than hallucinatory perceptual experience on a perceptual account. Thus, the central selling-point of a perceptual account is that it allows taking at face value the intuitive claim that we see things in pictures. Preserving this claim has a potential cost, however: we need to postulate that some kind of thing, T, is present in the realm of the picture, and it is not straightforward to find a plausible type of entity to play this role. The paper examines three alternative choices of T; T may be a material object, a visual appearance or a universal.


Depiction Pictorial representation Perception Universals Appearance Seeing-in 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature (CSMN)University of OsloOsloNorway

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