Wittgenstein and the Visual Experience of Depiction

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s discussion of aspect perception in the latter part of the Philosophical Investigations is generally credited with inspiring an important strand in contemporary explanations of depiction in which the visual experience of perceivers of pictures has a key role in the explanation. Although theorists working in this tradition have modified his concept of ‘seeing-as’, perceptual concepts related to seeing-as continue to have an important role in visual experience theories of depiction. A close examination of Wittgenstein’s scattered remarks on perceptual concepts and experience, however, shows that he had far more to offer to those seeking a perceptual theory of depiction. The central aim of this paper is to bring these neglected features of his thought to the fore, and to indicate in outline how they might be developed into a theory of depiction.

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