Knowing Content in the Visual Arts
My objective is to explain how we know what a painting, or any work of visual art, is like. This knowledge of what the work of art is like is knowledge of the content of the work of art. I use the concept of content in a way similar to the use of the concept of meaning, and construe content as having a functional role, though not merely a functional role, in the mentality of the viewer. When we know what the work of art is like, we know its content in a special way, by incorporating the experience of the work of art into a state of understanding and knowledge. We cannot know the content of the work of art without experiencing the work, because the experience is used to represent the content of the work and is part of the content. The representation of the content incorporates the experience, including thephenomenology of the work of art, into the representational understanding of its content. My project is to explain how we can know the content of the work of art.
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