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Pictorial representation: when cognitive science meets aesthetics

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Pictorial representation is a subject of interest to both cognitive science and aesthetics. Standard theories of depiction often draw on vision science, and vision science must give an account of picture perception. I offer a critical overview of standard theories of depiction and argue that none of them is adequate. I then describe ways in which new theories of perception blend elements of representationalism with an emphasis on attention and motor control. Such theories, in effect, limit the reliance on mental representation in perceptual tasks. This work provides the basis for a theory of depiction in which pictorial representation is explained in terms of both mental representations and perceptual strategies. I argue that, in the case, the mental representations are most plausibly individuated by the functional and conceptual roles, rather than by causal links to the external world.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1999

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