The category of the image is generally understood in terms that emphasise its connection with visual perception. And yet, even in those intellectual traditions that make this connection all important, it is clear that an image cannot adequately be defined as a perceptible visual form. This paper will draw on the approach to myth in Hans Blumenberg’s Work on Myth to argue that the question ‘what is an image?’ is entangled with another: that of the ‘significance’ or ‘meaning’ of the image. The image presupposes a subject who is engaged by it. Further, through the image human beings step outside their ordinary experience and even rework that experience. In this regard, the meaning communicated in an image provides sensible intuition for ideas that would not otherwise have existential resonance.
Alison Ross' talk is part of the Intellectual Workshop series.