Title

Seeing what is not there : pictorial experience, imagination and nonlocalization

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

British Journal of Aesthetics

Publication Date

7-1-2011

Volume

51

Issue

3

First Page

279

Last Page

294

Abstract

Pictures let us see what is not there. Or rather, since what pictures depict is not really there, we do not really see the things they are pictures of. Ever since Richard Wollheim introduced the notion of seeing-in into philosophical aesthetics, as part of his theory of depiction, there has been a lively debate about how, precisely, to understand this experience. However, one (alleged) feature of seeing-in that Wollheim pointed to has been almost completely absent in the subsequent discussion, namely that seeing-in allows for non-localization. When looking at a picture, Wollheim says, there is not always an answer to the question of where one sees a certain thing in a picture. If Wollheim is right in this, pictures indeed let us see what is not there: we see things in pictures, but there is no ‘there’ where we see those things. In this paper I argue against Wollheim's claim that object-seeing-in allows for non-localization. But there is, I argue, a pictorial experience, which is closely tied to seeing-in and which is non-localized, namely (what I call) pictorial perceptual presence.

DOI

10.1093/aesthj/ayr014

Print ISSN

00070904

E-ISSN

14682842

Publisher Statement

Copyright © British Society of Aesthetics 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society of Aesthetics. All rights reserved.

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Recommended Citation

Pettersson, M. (2011). Seeing what is not there: Pictorial experience, imagination and nonlocalization. British Journal of Aesthetics, 51(3), 279-294. doi: 10.1093/aesthj/ayr014