Document Type

Article

Department/Program

Art & Art History

Journal Title

Critical Inquiry

Pub Date

Fall 2014

Volume

41

Issue

1

First Page

167

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Abstract

We believe that some of the key challenges for the philosophy of photography remain: i) giving a satisfactory account of the automatism or mechanicity that is widely taken to be the distinctive basis of photography; ii) clarifying the relation between causation and intentionality in photography; and iii) explaining the realism of photographic images—their relation to what they are of—in a way that leaves room for fictional depiction.

As Diarmuid Costello and Dawn M. Phillips explain, the relation of photography’s “automatism or mechanicity” is routinely seen as reason for viewing photography as “mind-independent, agent-less, natural, causal, physical, unmediated” (“ACR,” p. 2). So challenge i is really also a big part of challenge ii. Further, on the accounts of photography’s realism they consider the most advanced, the independence of photography (its special modes of detection and depiction) from the mind (beliefs, knowledge, intention) of its practitioner turns out to be especially important, so challenge i turns out to be important to challenge iii, too.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1086/678165

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