Rebecca Traynor, winner of the SWIP-Analytic 2015 Graduate Student Essay Prize, will present “Accurate Representation is Accurate Distortion” at SWIP-Analytic Monday, April 20, 2015 in room 202 in the NYU Philosophy Department. We encourage attendees to read the winning paper in advance of the presentation. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
ABSTRACT: Picasso’s ‘Woman Ironing’ captures the drudgery of ironing in virtue of depicting a woman so grey and emaciated she fails to correspond to the visual appearance of any actual woman. The painting distorts visual appearance in order to accurately represent a feature of the world—drudgery—for which we have no independent sense. I hypothesize that perception can similarly distort but accurately represent the external world. Orthodox accounts of representation split perceiving subjects from perceived objects; they take mental representation to represent the external world as it is in itself such that the former is transparent to the latter. But this means perceptual content is often in error. For example, researchers found that participants standing at the base of a hill while carrying a heavy backpack regularly overestimate steepness (Proffitt, et al. 1995). I argue that exaggerating steepness is accurate insofar as it corresponds to a relational feature of the world—arduousness—for which we have no independent sense. I argue that representational content admits of accurate distortions because accuracy is a matter of capturing relational facts about the world.
I argue artistic and mental representations admit of accurate distortions. However, distortions in artistic representation differ from those in mental representation because they aim at aesthetic goals. This means that the two cases admit of different functions. And it means that instances of artistic distortions are frequently—though not always—a result of conscious deliberation. I propose that when artists distort the external world, the choices they make exploit and thereby highlight cases of accurate distortion in mental representation. I hypothesize that cases of accurate distortion in art are parasitic on cases of accurate distortion in mental representation and that artistic skill is correlated with the ability to manipulate perceptual distortions.
SWIP-Analytic organizers Marilynn Johnson, Lisa Miracchi, Kate Pendoley, and Katie Tullmann will present a panel entitled “Challenging the Canon” at the Hypatia conference, Exploring Collaborative Contestations, at Villanova University, May 28-30, 2015. The event will be held in conjunction with the APA Committee on the Status of Women Diversity Conference. Katie & Marilynn will present on the history of SWIP-Analytic and women in analytic philosophy; Kate & Lisa will present on teaching and research. Thanks to the New York Institute of Philosophy at NYU and the Provost at the CUNY Graduate Center for additional funding in support of our travels.
Professor Susanna Siegel (Harvard) will present at SWIP-Analytic Fall 2015.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Professor Michelle Moody-Adams (Columbia) will present at SWIP-Analytic Monday, October 5, 2015.
Following the success of last year’s panel, SWIP-Analytic will again host a roundtable on women in philosophy entitled, “Women in Philosophy: Publishing, Jobs, & Fitting In”. The event will began with an informal roundtable featuring a number of female philosophers who will discuss work habits, publishing, and job searches, among other things. They will be followed by Clinical Psychologist Alice Mangan who will speak to us about the Imposter Syndrome.
Everyone (men & women, philosophers & non-philosophers) is welcome at our public events. Please contact us at email@example.com to discuss possible accessibility accommodations if needed.
SWIP-Analytic is a branch of the New York Society for Women in Philosophy dedicated to providing a forum for women in the New York area working on language, mind, metaphysics, logic, ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. It strives to continue NYSWIP’s commitment to being resource for all women in philosophy in the New York area.