Michael Morris: "Real Likenesses"

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Michael Morris, University of Sussex: "Real Likenesses"

When you look at a painted portrait, what do you see there?  Is it a face?  If so, is it a real face?  And what's the relation between the face you see there, and the paint?  I argue that these questions expose the character of the leading approaches to representational painting, and the problems which they face.  It seems that the only way to answer them satisfactorily is to say that there is a face there in the painting, but it's not a real face, but one made of paint.  What you see is a real likeness of a face, but not a real face.  I then apply the same kind of thinking to photographs, and then to novels.  In each case, the problems faced by existing theories are exposed. I attempt to make sense of the same kind of alternative theory in both cases.