Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments


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Similarity: conformity of one or more - but not all - properties of two or more objects.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 95
Similarity/Goodman: While we obviously have a similarity measure for sizes, we have none for similarity or dissimilarity of different shapes.
III 15f
Self-similarity/representation/Goodman: An object is similar to itself to the highest degree, but rarely represents itself. Similarity is, unlike representation, reflexive. A painting of the castle of Marlborough Constable is more similar to any other picture, than to the castle and yet it represents the castle and not another picture, not even the most faithful copy.
III 42ff
The proposed measure for realism exists in the likelihood of confusion between representation with the represented. This is an important advance over the image theory. If the likelihood of confusion = 1, then we have no more representation, then we have identity.- Even with a trompe l'oeuil the probability rarely rises above zero, because seeing a picture as a picture excludes to mistake it for something else. (> Forgery).
III 43f
E.g. A copy that is painted in negative colors: The second picture provides exactly the same level of information. The information income is not a measure for realism. Realism is relative.
IV 150
We often know what an image represents, without knowing (or without us worrying about) whether it is similar to his subject. E.g. We do not know whether images of the Crucifixion are similar to the actual happening. Nonetheless, we can, of course, say what these images represent.
IV 151
Every thing has a lot of views. Therefore the assertion that an image looks like its subject means not that a particular relationship between the two is specified.
IV 152
X-ray or cloud chamber photographs also have no resemblance to the visible aspects of their subjects.
IV 163
Even if an image has a clearly recognizable resemblance to its subject, we are not always able to perceive this similarity, if we do not know what we should look for.
Knowing how to look at a picture is necessary to recognize the ways in which it resembles its subject. To reject similarity as a basis for pictorial representation does not mean that everything can be a picture of everything else.
Wrong: that comparative similarity is a preceding constant that acts as a measure for realism.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

N. Goodman
Catherine Z. Elgin
Reconceptions in Philosophy and Other Arts and Sciences, Indianapolis 1988
German Edition:
Revisionen Frankfurt 1989

Goodman I
N. Goodman
Ways of Worldmaking, Indianapolis/Cambridge 1978
German Edition:
Weisen der Welterzeugung Frankfurt 1984

Goodman II
N. Goodman
Fact, Fiction and Forecast, New York 1982
German Edition:
Tatsache Fiktion Voraussage Frankfurt 1988

Goodman III
N. Goodman
Languages of Art. An Approach to a Theory of Symbols, Indianapolis 1976
German Edition:
Sprachen der Kunst Frankfurt 1997

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-02-23
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