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The Treachery of Images: Why Images Do not Exist and There Are Only Flat Objects

Riccardo Manzotti    Università IULM, Italia    



Do images exist? In this paper I argue that the notion of an image is ontologically empty – i.e., images are no more than a cultural invention akin to epicycles in astronomy. There are only flat objects engaged in various causal roles. In this paper I will defend the thesis that in visual culture, in the neurosciences, and in philosophy of mind, there is no convincing evidence in favor of their existence. Moreover, I will outline a series of arguments aiming at showing that images do not exist. I will discuss briefly discuss why many authors – from the iconic turn to the neurosciences – use the notion of image as though it were something real. I will conclude suggesting to drop the subject-object divide and to consider a completely flat ontology made only of (relative) objects.

June 30, 2021
March 16, 2021

Keywords: Philosophy of MindMind-Object IdentityImagesBodyPictures

Copyright: © 2021 Riccardo Manzotti. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.