Art and Representation: Contributions to Contemporary Aesthetics

By Ananta Ch. Sukla | Go to book overview
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8

A Causal Theory of Pictorial Representation
T. R. QUIGLEY
I
In a paper entitled “Two Theories of Representation” Jenefer Robinson raises the question whether Fregean and Kripkean theories of reference can be used to construct a theory of pictorial representation. 1 Robinson develops a descriptive theory out of Frege’s notions of sense and reference, and a genetic or causal theory from Saul Kripke’s account of reference of names and natural kind terms. She concludes that neither theory alone nor a pooling of the best features of both theories can provide necessary and sufficient conditions for all kinds of pictorial representation. In particular, the combined theory fails to provide an adequate account of metaphor and misrepresentation. In what follows, I attempt to show how causal theories of linguistic representation forwarded by Dennis Stampe can offer further insight into those problems of pictorial representation raised originally by Robinson and left unsolved by subsequent analyses. It is generally acknowledged that Goodman’s Languages of Art provides a basis for all subsequent discussions on pictorial representation. So before looking at Robinson’s attempt at filling in the details of his theory, let’s review the general structure of Goodman’s view as found in chapter 1 of Languages of Art.
II
An account of pictorial representation must address two general questions:
1. What, if anything, is represented by a given picture?
2. How is the putative object represented, which amounts on Goodman’s view to asking what kind of representation it is. (This characterization will be modified somewhat in the second half of the chapter.)

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