Title: The Power of Pictures

7 December 2016; 1600-18:00

Senate House – Room 234


Most of the conversation about pictures in contemporary analytic
philosophy of art concerns issues pertaining to depiction (the form of
representation that is peculiar to pictures). But there is much more to
pictures than their semantic content. Pictures are made and used to
accomplish all sorts of things. This talk crosses into the area of what
one might call pictorial pragmatics and develops a concept of pictorial
rhetoric to explain how pictures persuade in the affective realm; for
instance, how they can condemn or celebrate, entice or disgust, parody or
flatter, and so on. The title is a nod to art historian David Freedberg
and his 1989 book, The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory
of Response (U Chicago Press).