4 November 2003
Laura Perini, Virginia Tech, Philosophy
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Publications in contemporary science journals include graphs, diagrams,
photographs, and results of imaging techniques like MRI. Such figures
are often presented as support for the hypothesis the author is
defending. Can a picture really play such an epistemic role? Philosophers
of science, who usually think of evidential support in terms of
relations among elements that either are linguistic representations
or are linguistically expressible, seem to have assumed they cannot.
Analysis of figures that starts from their nature as visual representations
does not support this view, however. In this talk I will use an
account of visual representation to clarify what visual representations
can provide in terms of evidentiary support.