Pictorial Aesthetics and Two Kinds of Inflected Seeing-In
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Inflected seeing-in is a special experience of the vehicle and subject of a picture, which are experienced as related to each other. Bence Nanay recently defended the idea that inflected picture perception is central to the aesthetic appreciation of pictures. Here I critically discuss his characterization of inflection, and advance a new one, that better accounts for the structure and content of inflected experience in terms of properties of the pictures themselves and also clarifies the distinctive contribution of inflection to pictorial aesthetics. Two kinds of inflected seeing-in are distinguished in terms of two functions the design properties of a picture can realize. One kind of inflected seeing-in allows us to experience how the picture design sustains what is seen in the picture and is responsible for the representation of the picture subject. The second kind, which is only supported by some pictures, also captures how properties of the vehicle alter or enrich the picture content so as to elicit an experience of the depicted subject as having properties it could not be seen as having in face-to-face experience. This inflected experience is distinctively associated with our visual experience of the aesthetically valuable relations between vehicle and content which are unique to pictorial representation.
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