Automatism, Causality and Realism: Foundational Problems in the Philosophy of Photography



This article contains a survey of recent debates in the philosophy of photography, focusing on aesthetic and epistemic issues in particular. Starting from widespread notions about automatism, causality and realism in the theory of photography, the authors ask whether the prima facie tension between the epistemic and aesthetic embodied in oppositions such as automaticism and agency, causality and intentionality, realism and fictional competence is more than apparent. In this context, the article discusses recent work by Roger Scruton, Dominic Lopes, Kendall Walton, Gregory Currie, Jonathan Cohen and Aaron Meskin, Noël Carroll, and Patrick Maynard in some detail. Specific topics addressed include: aesthetic scepticism, transparency, imagination, perception, information, representation and depiction.