Chiara Ambrosio

Chiara Ambrosio is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London.

Visit Chiara Ambrosio’s website here.


Representative Practices: Lessons from Art and Science
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
16:00-18:00 at Senate House Room 264

Abstract: Recent philosophical accounts of scientific representations tend to draw on comparisons with artistic representations (French 2003; Suarez 2010; Toon 2012). These comparisons have been largely motivated by considerations from aesthetics and philosophy of art. This talk provides a new and alternative account of representations which is rooted in a historical analysis of the practice of representing in art and science. Drawing on case-studies from the early history of photography, I explore how “correct” or “accurate” ways of representing arise first and foremost as practices shared among epistemic communities in art as well as in the sciences. In the first part of the paper, I address the specific case of photography across art and science, which proves illuminating as it offers – among other things – a precious opportunity to reconsider the problematic concept of indexicality. In the second part of the paper, I trace the roots of the concept of indexicality back to the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce and suggest that Peirce’s primarily pragmatic concern for indexical representations offers a productive ground to reconcile historical and philosophical accounts of photographic representations.