Belief, Experience and the Act of Picture-Making

Cavedon-Taylor, Dan (2014). Belief, Experience and the Act of Picture-Making. Philosophical Explorations, 17(1) pp. 35–48.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13869795.2013.814802

Abstract

Which mental states are involved in representing the world via pictures? According to the Belief-Involving View, belief is necessary. According to the Mere Experience View, belief is dispensable; one can depict objects for which one does not possess concepts, so the mere experience of an object is sufficient. I examine Dominic Lopes' defence of, and Berys Gaut's objections to, the Mere Experience View. I argue Gaut's objections are unsuccessful since they (i) require the defender of the Mere Experience View to endorse a theory of action that is optional, at best; (ii) undermine Gaut's own positive claims and (iii) are question-begging. I argue that the real problem with the Mere Experience View is that it is too permissive in circumscribing situations in which one can depict objects. I further argue, contra Lopes, that the fact that one can depict objects for which one does not possess concepts supplies no argument for or against either view.

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