Professor A. W. Eaton, Philosophy Department, delivers a lecture as 2017-2018 Institute for the Humanities Faculty Fellow.
This paper is about pictures. My focus is not the usual philosophical questions about how pictures represent, or how to conceive of their depictive content. Instead, I am interested in the moral character of pictures. What makes a picture the proper object of moral judgment in the first place? In virtue of which features can we judge a picture to be, for instance, racist or sexist or ableist? I develop an account of the morality of pictures that focuses on how they shape their audiences’ affective life (including feelings, desires, and pleasures). To this end I outline a model of pictorial rhetoric as that cluster of features in virtue of which pictures can be said to have a moral character, and I consider the application of this model to areas as seemingly diverse as pornography, advertising, high art, and propaganda.
A reception will follow.
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