Some Photographic Images Are Transparent

Won-Leep Moon


Kendall Walton argued that photographs are transparent, that we literally see things through them. This claim provoked many objections, and one line of argument has focused on the fact that when we see objects in ordinary situations we see their approximate location with respect to us, whereas in typical photographs we do not. The author argues, however, that this egocentric spatial information is not what distinguishes literal seeing from typical photograph seeing. Instead of it, the author proposes two conditions for normal, literal seeing. One is that the seeing be real-time, and the other is that the image be “empty”. Some photographic images meet these conditions.


Kendall Walton; photographic Images; transparency

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