Skip to main content
Michigan State University

Visualize This: On the Apparent Limits of Visual Representation by Ian Dove

South Kedzie Hall, Online Event

November 10, 2023

Talks, Panels, and Presentations

Visit This Event Page


How is print advertising effective even in the absence of associated verbal copy? How do static geometrical diagrams teach hundreds of thousands of US 10th graders about geometrical theorems each semester? The answer, according to visual argument denialism (hereafter just “denialism”) must be either a complete mystery or a case of linguistic-replacement akin to fantastical legerdemain. Denialism is the view that pictures cannot be arguments themselves, nor can pictures participate in arguments in any essential or non-eliminable way. Although philosophical preference for words over images may be longstanding, recent denialism relies on resemblance accounts of pictorial content. Sometimes this reliance is explicitly attributed to C.S. Peirce’s icon-account of visual signs. Against this denialism, I will also appeal to (one of) C.S. Peirce’s account of visual signs. However, I show that there is room for more content than the denialists allow.

About the Speaker: Ian J. Dove is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Logic and Critical Thinking at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Passcode: Levels