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Resemblance and Representation

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Ben Blumson

3. Depiction and Intention

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1Whereas the analysis of meaning in terms of intention is orthodoxy in the philosophy of language, it is highly controversial in the philosophy of art. So even if it is agreed that inserting resemblance into the analysis of speaker meaning in terms of intention escapes counterexamples to the sufficiency of resemblance for depiction, it’s likely to be argued that defining depiction as a kind of intentional representation draws too close an analogy between depiction and description. Counterexamples to the necessity and sufficiency of communicative intentions for depiction, it might be argued, are just as threatening as those to the necessity and sufficiency of resemblance.

2This chapter defends the analysis of depiction as a kind of intentional representation from this objection. The strategy is to argue that all counterexamples to applying the analysis of speaker meaning to depiction are also counterexamples to the analysis of speaker meaning simpliciter. And whichever revision or reply is available in defence of the analysis of speaker meaning simpliciter, the same revision or reply is available in defence of its application to depiction. So applying the analysis of speaker meaning to depiction supports not only the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance, but also a strong analogy between depiction and description.

3The first section responds to objections to the necessity of intention for depiction. It argues there is no genuine counterexample to the necessity of intention for depiction. The second section addresses objections to the necessity of an audience. It argues that there are counterexamples to the necessity of an audience, but they can be addressed by a simple revision. The third section responds to counterexamples to the sufficiency of intention for depiction, which can also be accommodated by a simple revision. The fourth section addresses a counterexample based on the evidential use of photographs. The fifth section concludes.

4Two clarifications. First, the correct analysis of intention is an extremely controversial topic, which it would be out of place to broach here. However, it can’t be emphasised enough that the intentions relevant to what is meant or depicted are the tacit intentions which govern action, rather than explicitly formulated plans (Grice, 1957, 221-222). In some cases, the intentions involved in drawing or talking may be explicitly thought out in advance, but these cases are unusual. In ordinary cases, the intentions involved in drawing and talking are just as implicit and spontaneous as the intentions involved in driving or walking.

5Second, a full defence of intentionalism in the philosophy of art would require a book length treatment (such as Paisley Livingston’s (2005)). In this chapter, I will focus on issues which are to do with pictures in particular, rather than issues which are general to the philosophy of art. In particular, I will focus on issues which purport to establish a disanalogy between the analysis of speaker meaning and the analysis of depiction, such as counterexamples which suggest that the analysis of depiction ought to parallel the analysis of sentence meaning, or counterexamples which purport to establish that the analysis of depiction ought to parallel the analysis of natural meaning.

3.1 Objections to the necessity of intention

6Suppose an ant is crawling on a patch of sand. As it crawls, it traces a line in the sand. By pure chance the line it traces curves and recrosses itself in such a way that it ends up looking like a recognizable caricature of Winston Churchill (Putnam, 1981, 1). In cases like this, it is tempting to say that the ant traces a depiction of Churchill, even though the ant does not intend to depict Churchill. But this temptation should be resisted, because in the absence of any intention on the part of the ant, or a connection to Churchill other than resemblance, the only explanation of how the line depicts him is its resemblance to him, and that is insufficient (Putnam, 1981, 1-2).

7As it is for depiction, so it is for description. Suppose the ant is crawling on a patch of sand and, as it crawls, it traces a line which by pure chance has the same shape as the sentence ‘Churchill wins’ (Putnam, 1981, 2). The temptation to say that the ant means by ‘Churchill wins’ that Churchill wins should be resisted, because in the absence of any intention on the part of the ant, or another connection to Churchill’s winning, the only explanation of how the ‘Churchill wins’ means Churchill wins is its conventional meaning in English, but that is insufficient to establish what the ant means by it, since the ant is not really writing in English.

8Nevertheless, in the case of language the temptation to say that a sentence may mean something in the absence of an intention is explained by the fact that the sentence may have a conventional meaning in a language such as English. Likewise, in the case of depiction the temptation to say that a marking depicts something in the absence of an intention may be explained by the fact that the marking may have a standard meaning in a depictive symbol system. The line the ant traces, for example, may be a standard shape used for Churchill’s caricature. I’ll pursue this parallel in chapters four and five (but I will deny that the standards in the case of depiction are conventions).

9Not every case in which it is tempting to say there is a depiction in the absence of an intention can be explained in this way. If the ant, for example, traces a line which by pure chance resembles the face of another politician, but one whose caricature has no standard shape, then there is nothing in virtue of which the line depicts the politician, and so it does not depict the politician at all. And although Jabberwocky, for example, has meaning in virtue of Carroll’s (1871, 155-156) intentions, if an ant had traced lines of the same shape, there would have been neither intention nor convention in virtue of which the lines would have meant anything, and so they would have meant nothing.

10The right response to these extreme cases is to deny anything is meant or depicted, on the grounds that in these extreme cases there is nothing in virtue of which anything could be meant or depicted. But in many other purported cases of depiction without intention, the right response is not to deny the presence of depiction, but to maintain the presence of intention. And in many purported cases of meaning without intention, the right response is likewise not to deny the presence of meaning, but to maintain the presence of intention. In particular, many common counterexamples can be addressed simply by a spirit of liberality about how the relevant intentions may arise.

11Found objects, for example, may become depictions because of the intentions of their finders. An artist may display some found driftwood, for example, in a way so that the driftwood resembles a spade, an audience recognise that it resemble a spade, and infer from its resemblance to a spade that the artist intended a certain effect in them, by means of recognition of this intention (the example is adapted from Weitz (1956, 34)). Likewise, if driftwood on the beach is strewn by pure chance into the shape of a sentence which warns of an impending tsunami, I may nevertheless use the driftwood to warn you of a tsunami simply by leaving it in its place (Eaton, 1969, 166).

12In these cases, the relevant intentions are of the finder instead of the maker. In similar cases, the relevant intentions may be neither of the finder or maker but of the curator who exhibits a painting or the chemist who develops a photograph. In the case of cinema, the relevant intentions need not be those of the director, but may equally well be those of the actors, writers and producers or, in some cases, an intention of the group which is not an intention of any of its individual members. And in the case of literature the relevant intentions need not be those of the author, but may equally well be those of the editor or publisher.

13So far I have argued that every purported counterexample to the necessity of intention for depiction is either not an example in which intention is absent or else, in extreme cases, is not an example in which depiction is present since, in extreme cases, there is nothing in virtue of which depiction could be present, except resemblance, which isn’t sufficient. But it is plausible that photography is a source of counterexamples which escapes this dilemma, because in the case of photography there is something other than resemblance in virtue of which depiction could be present, because in the case of photography there is a causal connection between photos and what they represent.

14Suppose, for example, you photograph your shoe by unintentionally dropping your camera. You did not intend an audience to infer from the photograph’s resemblance to your foot that you intended to achieve an effect in them by means of recognition of your intention. But intuitively the photograph depicts your foot. This counterexample, if successful, suggests that the analysis of depiction, or the analysis of photographic depiction, should parallel the analysis of natural instead of non-natural representation, in which case applying the analysis of speaker meaning to depiction is mistaken (see Walton (1984, 101-103) for discussion of a similar point).

15But the same point seems to apply to meaning in general, including speaker meaning. Suppose, for example, a sleep-talking husband desires to divorce his wife, but doesn’t intend to do so – his desire is overruled by countervailing desires. Yet despite this, his desire to divorce his wife may cause him to call out ‘I divorce you’ thrice in his sleep. In this case, because of the causal connection between the desire and the utterance of ‘I divorce you’, it is tempting to say that by uttering ‘I divorce you’ thrice the husband meant to divorce his wife, even though he didn’t intend to divorce her. If this were correct, it would follow that intention is not necessary for speaker meaning.

16As for many of the examples above, the right response to these cases isn’t to deny the presence of depiction or speaker meaning, but to maintain the presence of intention. If I drop my camera and it accidentally photographs my foot, for example, then I may still form the intentions relevant for it to depict my foot afterwards, when I take the film to be developed or when I place it in my photo album. Similarly, if the husband’s desire to divorce his wife causes him to utter ‘I divorce you’ thrice during sleep, one may argue that it did so by causing him to form in his sleep an intention to divorce her (albeit an intention he may regret or forget by the morning).

17Another popular response to the photographic case, suggested by both Hopkins (1998, 77) and Abell (2005a), is to argue that the relevant intentions are present by arguing that it is not the intentions of the photographer which are important, but rather the intentions of the camera’s manufacturers. This approach predicts that the photograph resulting from your camera being dropped is a photograph of your foot, because the camera’s manufacturers intended that the photograph would resemble your foot if it were dropped in this manner. If this is right, then accidentally taken photographs are not unaccompanied by the relevant intentions after all.

18But additional intentions aren’t available in every case. Even if, for example, I drop my Polaroid camera and it accidentally photographs my foot and then automatically develops the photo, which nobody ever becomes aware of or forms intentions about, there is still a temptation to say that the photograph depicts my foot. Likewise, even though it is possible for the husband’s desire to divorce his wife to cause him to form an intention in his sleep, it is not necessary – the desire may cause the utterance in all kinds of indirect and deviant ways. Moreover, the desire is not necessary to cause the utterance – it may be caused, for example, simply by a nightmare.

19There are similar examples in which even the camera’s manufacturer’s intentions are absent. Suppose, for example, a camera is created accidentally by a random collision of materials in space, without the normal procedure of design and manufacturing, and thus without the intentions of designers or manufacturers. And suppose this camera happens to shoot photos at regular intervals, without anyone intending those photos to be shot. Just as photographs taken accidentally are intuitively depictions, photographs taken unintentionally by accidentally created cameras are also intuitively depictions. So appealing to the intentions of manufacturers isn’t able to resolve the problem.

20One possible, but misguided, response to this problem would be to split the analysis of depiction into two separate analyses: one of non-natural depiction, such as painting and drawing, and one of natural depiction, such as photographic depiction. The analysis of non-natural depiction would combine resemblance with the analysis of speaker meaning, whereas the analysis of photographic depiction would somehow combine resemblance with causation or indication. This proposal is a very intuitive one, but unfortunately it cannot succeed: the problem is that there is no non-incidental role for resemblance to play in natural representation.

21Take, for example, footprints. Footprints naturally represent the feet of the animals that make them. Furthermore, footprints normally resemble the feet of the animals that make them, since they are normally a similar shape to the prints. If photographic depiction were to be analysed by combining causation and resemblance, then such an analysis would be bound to include footprints as well as photographs. But this seems to be the wrong result, since the resemblance between feet and prints is incidental to the representation between feet and prints: even had the prints not resembled the feet, they would still represent the feet merely in virtue of being caused by the feet.

22So the correct response is to deny that accidentally taken photographs, in the absence of an analogy with sentence meaning and further intentions in their development and presentation, are depictions at all. While this is counterintuitive, it may nevertheless be conceded that the accidentally taken photograph is a natural representation of my foot, but due to the causal connection between the photograph and my foot, rather than because of the incidental resemblance between them. This concession softens the blow to intuition since, while not all accidentally taken photographs are classified as depictions, all are still rightly included as natural representations.

23Most photographs are still classified as depictions even though some are not, since most photographs possess non-natural as well as natural meaning. A photograph of a person represents the person in two distinct ways: it depicts the person because its resemblance to the person is intended to allow audiences to infer the photographer’s communicative intentions, and it also naturally represents the person because of the causal connection between it and the person. So photographs are a kind of depiction insofar as they are a kind of non-natural representation, but not insofar as they are a kind of natural representation.

24The analogous problem for the analysis of meaning in general has the same solution. In the case, for example, of somniloquy which reveals something truly unintended about the speaker, the solution is to deny that somniloquy has non-natural meaning and to argue instead that it is really an instance of natural meaning: somniloquy is revealing, if it is revealing at all, merely due to a causal connection with the speaker’s psychology. If, on the other hand, there is no such causal connection nor relevant intention present – whether in the case of depiction or description – then there are no grounds for attributing representational significance at all.

3.2 Objections to the necessity of an audience

25The paradigm case of speaker meaning is communication: meaning something by an utterance, according to the analysis above, constitutively involves the presence of an audience. But it may be argued that depiction, although it may sometimes involve communication, is not primarily directed at audiences. People may depict by doodling in their margins, drawing preparatory sketches for paintings, or tracing patterns in fogged-up glass, without intending that their doodles, sketches or traces ever find an audience. So depiction in the absence of an audience seems to be a counterexample to the application of the analysis of speaker meaning to depiction.

26But in fact examples of depiction in the absence of an audience reveal no disanalogy between depiction and speaker meaning. People may mean things by writing in diaries, doodling in margins or singing in the shower, without intending any witnesses to their writing, doodling or singing. So while the primary case of meaning involves communication between an utterer and a separate audience, this isn’t always the case. Meaning something is possible in the absence of an audience, so the absence of an audience is a counterexample not just to the analysis of depiction, but to the analysis of speaker meaning in general (Grice, 1969, 112-115; Schiffer, 1972, 76-80).

27For both analyses some purported counterexamples can be accommodated without revision simply by a spirit of inclusiveness about who counts as an audience. The intended audience of a preparatory sketch, for example, may be the sketcher at a later time. Similarly, the intended audience of doodling in margins may be the doodlers, who want to relieve their present boredom, singing in the shower may be intended for the enjoyment of the singer and a diary intended for the diarist. Once it is allowed that the perpetrator may also be the audience, many of the problematic examples of depiction or meaning in the absence of an audience disappear.

28But not every example of depiction without an audience can be accommodated by this move. Imagine, for example, that a pirate is sure of not forgetting the location of his treasure and intends to recover it in his own lifetime, but leaves a treasure map for his heirs. The pirate does not intend the map to produce an effect in an audience, because he intends to find the treasure and destroy the map before his death. Nor does the pirate intend the map to produce a belief or other effect in himself, since he already possesses the relevant beliefs. Nevertheless, the map does depict the island on which the treasure is located.

29But although the pirate does not intend the map to produce an effect in the audience, he does intend that if he were to die then the map would produce in his heirs knowledge of the treasure’s whereabouts. That suggests that in order to accommodate this, the analysis should be amended to:

(9) Something depicts another if and only if it is intended that if the former reaches an audience of a certain type then:
a. the former resembles the latter in a certain respect
b. an audience recognise the former resembles the latter in that respect
c. the audience infer at least in part from the fact the former resembles the latter in that d. respect that it is intended:
e. that the former produce an effect in the audience
and that that effect be produced at least in part by means of the audience’s recognition of intentions (a)-(e).

30So the treasure map depicts the treasure island because the pirate intends that if his heirs discover the map then they will infer from the resemblance of the map to the island that the treasure is hidden on the island.

31It is obvious that the same amendment has to be made to the analysis of speaker meaning. If, for example, I leave a note for my mother in law on the chance that she may call by while I am out, then I do not straightforwardly intend to induce an effect in my mother in law, because I don’t intend her to call while I am out. Nevertheless, I do intend that if my mother in law sees the note, then it will induce an effect in her by means of recognition of my intentions (Schiffer, 1972, 73-76). So the analysis of meaning requires the same amendment as the analysis of depiction.

32Three clarifications. First, notice that the utterance or the depiction must not only reach an audience, but must reach an audience of a certain type. That’s because, for many utterances and depictions the perpetrator does not intend his or her intentions to be recognised by every audience the utterance or depiction reaches: allegorical writers or painters, for example, intend their intentions to be recognised by the cognoscenti, but not by the censors. The cognoscenti belong to the intended type of audience, but the censors don’t. Likewise, the intended type may be simply a specific person: lovers may intend their letters, for example, only for their beloved (Schiffer, 1972, 75).

33Second, the condition that a depiction resembles what it represents in a certain respect occurs within the scope of a conditional, so the depiction need only resemble what it represents in that respect if the antecedent of the conditional is true and the depiction actually reaches an audience of the relevant type. However, it might be objected that resemblance in the relevant respect ought to be a necessary condition for depiction, so that the resemblance of a picture to what it represents in the relevant respect ought to occur regardless of whether or not the depiction reaches an audience of the relevant type.

34But in fact it’s correct that resemblance in the intended respect is not necessary for depiction. Consider, for example, a drawing in invisible ink. If the drawing does not reach an audience, and so the ink does not become visible, then the drawing will not resemble what it depicts in the intended visible respects (even if it does in unintended invisible respects). Nevertheless, even if the drawing does not reach an audience of the relevant type, it still depicts, since if it reached an audience of the relevant type, then the ink would become visible and the drawing would in turn come to resemble what it represents in the intended visible respects.

35Third, the conditional in this analysis should not be interpreted as material, since if it is, the conditions of the analysis would be trivially met if the antecedent is intended to be false. Since the pirate, for example, intends the map not to reach his enemies, then in the sense of the material conditional he intends that if it reaches his enemies, then it resembles a blue moon, that his enemies recognise it resembles a blue moon, and that his enemies infer from this that he intended to induce an effect in them by means of recognition his intention. But of course, the treasure map does not depict a blue moon merely because the pirate intended it not to reach his enemies.

3.3 Objections to the sufficiency of intention

36Suppose that a madman scribbles messily on a page. The madman has a mad belief that the scribble resembles a mountain landscape in Tibet and that an audience will infer from the resemblance of the scribble to the Tibetan landscape that he intends to induce in them beliefs about the Tibetan landscape by means of recognising his intentions. Despite meeting the conditions of the analysis of depiction in the last chapter, the scribble is not a depiction of the Tibetan landscape. The example shows that intending to depict something is not sufficient for successfully doing so. In other words, intention is not sufficient for depiction.

37The example is important because it threatens to undermine the analogy drawn in the last chapter between depiction and speaker meaning. It suggests that since intending to depict something falls short of depicting that thing, depiction shouldn’t be analysed in terms of intention, as speaker meaning is. Instead, it suggests that depiction should be analysed in analogy with sentence meaning. Since just as what a picture depicts is not merely what it is intended to depict, what a sentence means is not merely what it’s intended to mean, analysing depiction in analogy with sentence meaning rather than speaker meaning would avoid the consequence that intention suffices for depiction.

38But there’s an analogous counterexample to the analysis of speaker meaning. Suppose a madman believes that ‘gleeg gleeg gleeg’ means in English that it’s snowing in Tibet. The madman might utter ‘gleeg gleeg gleeg’ intending the utterance to induce the audience to believe that it’s snowing in Tibet by means of recognition of that intention. But the madman’s utterance of ‘gleeg gleeg gleeg’ is meaningless. So, although the madman’s utterance meets the conditions of Grice’s analysis of speaker meaning, it does not seem to mean that it’s snowing in Tibet (Ziff, 1967, 5). Intending to mean something is equally insufficient for successfully doing so.

39There is one response to these counterexamples that would break the analogy between depiction and speaker meaning. It might be granted that ‘gleeg, gleeg, gleeg’ in the example has the speaker meaning that it’s snowing in Tibet, but denied that granting this is problematic on the grounds that granting it would not adversely affect the analysis of sentence meaning. This would be unproblematic if the only role of speaker meaning was in order to analyse sentence meaning as what a sentence conventionally speaker means, since that it’s snowing in Tibet would not, even on this occasion, be what the sentence conventionally speaker means (Lycan, 2000, 108-109).

40But the analysis of speaker meaning is not only required for the analysis of sentence meaning, but also for the analysis of the non-conventional meaning of utterances. Somebody may mean something by a grunt or gesture, for example, without that grunt or gesture having any conventional meaning. Similarly, somebody may mean by a metaphor or malapropism something other than the conventional meaning of the sentence uttered. If it were granted that the madman’s utterance of ‘gleeg, gleeg, gleeg’ means it’s snowing in Tibet, this would adversely affect the analysis of non-conventional meaning.

41To avoid the problem, the analysis has to be altered to specify that the perpetrator’s intentions be successful, so that mad utterances of sentences like ‘gleeg, gleeg, gleeg’ do not possess speaker meaning. Similarly, the analysis of depiction should be altered so that scribbles with deluded intentions are excluded, as follows:

(10) Something depicts another if and only if it is successfully intended that if the former reaches an audience of a certain type then:
a. the former resembles the latter in a certain respect
b. an audience recognize
c. the former resembles the latter in that respect
d. the audience infer at least in part from the fact the former resembles the latter in that respect that it is intended:
e. that the former produce an effect in the audience
and that that effect be produced at least in part by means of the audience’s recognition of intentions (a)-(e).

42So, for example, the Mona Lisa depicts Lisa because Leo intended successfully that his audience recognise that the Mona Lisa resembles Lisa in certain respects and infer from that that Leo wanted them to believe that Lisa smiles by means of recognition of his intentions.

43Three clarifications. Firstly, the intention which analysis (10) requires is successful is only the intention which has wide scope over the right hand side of the analysis, and not the intention that is embedded in clause (c). So if the Mona Lisa depicts Lisa, for example, then if it reaches an audience it must resemble Lisa in a certain respect, the audience must recognise that it resembles Lisa in that respect, and they must infer from this that Leo intended them to believe that Lisa smiles by means of recognition of his intention. But they needn’t in fact believe that Lisa smiles and if they do, they needn’t do so because Leo intended them to, but may do so for some other reason.

44Second, for an intention to be successful is in part for what is intended to occur. For my intention to score a goal to be successful, for example, is in part for me to score a goal. But for an intention to be successful it must also cause what is intended to occur. For my intention to score a goal to be successful, for example, it is not enough for the ball to ricochet into the goal because I trip. And for an intention to be successful it must also cause what is intended in the right sort of way. For my intention to score a goal to be successful, for example, it is not enough for it to cause nervousness, which causes me to trip, which causes the ball to ricochet into the goal.

45It might be thought that these requirements are too strong. Suppose Apelles intends to depict the lather on a horse’s mouth, and so intends his painting to resemble the lather in a certain respect. But the effect is difficult to obtain, so Apelles flings his sponge at the painting in frustration. As a result, the sponge so happens to mark the painting in such a way that it resembles the lather in exactly the respect Apelles intended and so, intuitively, the painting depicts the lather. Apelles’ intention causes his frustration and his frustration causes the resemblance, so his intention causes the resemblance. But it is still unsuccessful, since it doesn’t cause the resemblance in the right kind of way.

46As for many of the examples above, the right response to this kind of objection isn’t to deny the presence of depiction, but to maintain the presence of successful intention. Although Apelles’ initial intention for the painting to resemble the lather in a certain respect was unsuccessful, he also formed a subsequent intention for the painting to resemble the lather in that same respect, which he enacted by not removing the effect or destroying the painting, and this subsequent intention was successful. Just as drift-wood may depict in virtue of the intentions of its finder instead of its maker, Apelles’ painting depicts not in virtue of his creating it, but in virtue of his not effacing it.

47Thirdly, it might be suggested that to avoid the problem, the analysis may merely be altered to specify that the perpetrator’s intentions be rational. But requiring rational and not successful intentions would still fall short of sufficiency, because a rational intention may not produce any action at all. Suppose, for example, I have a rational intention to paint, during a weekend away, a watercolour of the view from my hotel window. But just as I pick up my paintbrush I’m interrupted by an emergency phone call. I leave never to return, so my intention to paint is unsuccessful. Although it was a rational intention, the blank paper I left on the easel depicts nothing.

48So the example of unsuccessful intentions doesn’t show that depiction is disanalogous to speaker meaning. Nevertheless, the suggestion that depiction should be analysed in analogy with sentence meaning is not misguided. Just as there’s a distinction between the meaning of a sentence in a language and what a speaker uses that sentence to mean, there’s a distinction between what a depiction represents in a symbol system and what it’s used to represent by its perpetrator. This analogy between depiction and speaker meaning is taken up again in chapters four and five, which analyse depictive symbol systems in analogy with conventional language.

3.4 Objections to the necessity of reasons

49There’s still a residual problem connected with photographs. When a photograph is presented as evidence it is intended to produce a belief in its audience. But if so, then the photograph is usually intended to produce the belief by means of recognition of its causal connection to what it represents rather than by means of recognition of the intentions of its perpetrator. So applying the analysis of speaker meaning to the sense in which depiction is representational may still appear to incorrectly exclude photographs by ignoring the fact that photographic representation is more naturally assimilated to natural than to non-natural representation.

50But an analogous problem arises in the analysis of speaker meaning simpliciter. Suppose I give you an argument proceeding from premises you already believe to a conclusion I intend to convince you of. Then I mean by uttering the words of the conclusion that the conclusion is true. But I don’t intend you to believe the conclusion by means of recognising my intention that you believe it; rather, because I am offering an argument, I want you to believe the conclusion by means of inferring it from the premises (Schiffer, 1972, 42-43). The condition that effects be produced by means of recognition of intention excludes arguments as well as photographs.

51All this suggests that both the analysis of depiction and of speaker meaning should be weakened so that the intended effect need merely be accompanied by, rather than produced by means of, recognition of intention. In the case of depiction:

(11) Something depicts another if and only if it is intended successfully that if the former reaches an audience of a certain type then:
a. the former resembles the latter in a certain respect
b. the audience recognise the former resembles the latter in that respect
c. the audience infer at least in part from the fact the former resembles the latter in that respect that it is intended:
d. that the former produce an effect in the audience
e. and the audience recognise intentions (a)-(e).

52This analysis allows for the inclusion of photographs, because it requires only that the effect in the audience is intended to be produced somehow or other, rather than by means of recognition of intention.

53But this weakening comes at the cost of the sufficiency of the analysis. Imagine, for example, I intend a brightly painted canvas to produce in you an epileptic fit. Further, imagine it’s intended that the canvas resembles canvasses that I have used to cause you epileptic fits in the past (in respect of colour) and that you infer from this that I intend it to produce the fit and that I intend you to recognise my intentions. The case meets the conditions of the analysis, but it isn’t an example of depiction, because of the non-rational nature of the intended effect (see Schiffer (1972, 55-56) for the analogous counterexample to the analysis of speaker meaning simpliciter).

54The original analysis would have excluded this example, because although your recognition of my intention would accompany your epileptic fit, your fit would not be produced by means of recognition of my intention, because your recognition of my intention for you to have a fit would provide you with no reason to have one – your recognition of my intention for you to have a fit is no reason for you to comply. But, as the examples of photographs and arguments showed, requiring that the audience’s recognition of the perpetrator’s intention to induce the effect be the audience’s reason for enjoying the effect makes the analysis too strong.

55This suggests that the audience must be given some reason in order to enjoy the intended effect, but that that reason need not always be provided by the audience’s recognition of the perpetrator’s intention. In the case of depiction:

(12) Something depicts another if and only if it is intended successfully that if the former reaches an audience of a certain type then:
a. the former resembles the latter in a certain respect
b. the audience recognise the former resembles the latter in that respect
c. the audience infer at least in part from the fact that the former resembles the latter in that respect that it is intended:
d. that the former induce an effect in the audience
e. that this effect be induced by means of providing a reason
f. and that the audience recognise intentions (a)-(f).

56This analysis excludes the case of the epileptic fit, because in that case I provide you with no reason to have a fit, but still includes the case of photographs, because their evidential connection to what they represent tends to provide a reason for believing what they represent (see Schiffer (1972, 57-58) for the analogous amendment to the analysis of meaning).

57Advertising, which is frequently unreasonable, might appear problematic for the idea that meaning and depiction require the provision of reasons. The intended effect of an advertising photograph showing glamorous people smoking, for example, may be to induce the audience to smoke. But although the photograph depicts glamorous people smoking, and although the advertisers mean by the photograph that the audience should smoke, the photograph does not provide the audience with any reason which would justify their smoking, because glamour is not a reason to smoke. Moreover, the advertisers need not even intend to provide a reason which would justify smoking.

58Advertisements are frequently not intended to provide audiences with a reason which would truly justify their action – or justifying reasons – but this is compatible with the analysis because they’re always intended to provide audiences with reasons which would motivate and thereby explain their actions – or explanatory reasons (see Woods (1972, 189) for the distinction). The photograph of glamorous people smoking doesn’t provide me with any justifying reason to smoke. But if the photograph leads me to believe smoking is a means for me to be glamorous, and I want to be glamorous, then the photograph might provide me a reason which would explain my smoking.

59It is compatible with this response that some advertising is intended to merely cause its effects in the audience, without providing even an explanatory reason, so long as it is not the case that such advertisements mean or depict anything. To the extent that a subliminal advertisement for smoking, for example, is a purely causal explanation for my smoking, it’s not counterintuitive to deny that the advertisement causes me to smoke, but neither depicts smoking nor means that I should smoke. The perpetration and interpretation of pictures is not merely a causal process such as sneezing or snoring, but a rational activity like walking and talking.

3.5 Conclusion

60So although there are counterexamples to both the necessity and sufficiency of the analysis of depiction proposed in the last chapter, these are all counterexamples to the necessity and sufficiency of the analysis of speaker meaning simpliciter. The replies and revisions required to accommodate the counterexamples to the analysis of depiction exactly parallel the replies and revisions required to accommodate the counterexamples to the analysis of speaker meaning simpliciter. Counterexamples to the analysis support, rather than undermine, the extremely strong analogy between depiction and description.

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