CFP: Representation in Art and Science (UK) (3/1/06; 6/22/06-6/23/06)

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Beyond Mimesis and Nominalism: Representation in Art and Science

Two-day conference in London, 22-23 June 2006

Deadline for Submissions: 1 March 2006

Keynote speakers: Catherine Elgin (Harvard University) and
James Elkins (School of the Art Institute of
Chicago/University College Cork, Ireland)

Springer Publishers has shown interest, and by agreement with
individual authors, the conference organizers will be
submitting edited versions of selected papers for possible
publication in Springer’s philosophy programme.

Representations play a critical role in both science and art.
Perceived as different in kind, artistic and scientific
representations have been studied as objects of distinct
disciplinary and intellectual traditions. However, recent work
in both the philosophy of science and studies of the visual
arts suggests that these apparently different representational
traditions may be related in challenging and provocative ways.
“Beyond Mimesis and Nominalism,” a conference co-sponsored by
the Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum, the London
School of Economics, and the Institute of Philosophy of the
University of London, seeks to open conversations between and
beyond these compartmentalized traditions of thinking about

According to dominant accounts, scientific representation is
explained by appeal to mimetic relationships such as
similarity or formal relations like isomorphism. As these
views have been subjected to increasing criticisms, recent
approaches to scientific representation have begun to draw
upon analogies with artistic representation. Significantly,
parts of this emergent literature have turned to a
“nominalist” position, not unlike that advocated by Nelson
Goodman in his writings on representation in art.

But, a similar turn is already apparent within studies of
visual art, where scientific representations are increasingly
integrated into the analysis of art. Like their colleagues in
the philosophy of science, recent scholars in the visual arts
have seen Goodman’s work as an important point of engagement.
His pioneering work on the visual has informed recent efforts
to expand semantic taxonomies and to analyze the increasing
field of images that fall outside classification as “art.” As
this work has received important contribution from scholars
concerned with scientific imaging, the project of rethinking
representation is one of growing general importance to
art-historical studies, whose interpretative scope has
expanded dramatically outward in recent decades.

In order to press this emergent interdisciplinary
conversation, scholars from all disciplines are invited to
submit papers to this two-day international conference. We
particularly seek submissions that explore the “how” of
representationâ€"papers that can enrich our understanding of the
techniques employed in scientific representation and/or
address their semantic structures or historical convergences
with artistic practices - and vice versa. Also especially
encouraged are papers that critique, historicize or defend the
conference’s central terms of mimesis and nominalism, or offer
approaches to representations that navigate a middle course
between them.

Please send extended abstracts of up to 1000 words to by 1 March 2006. Decisions will be
made by 1 April.

Organisers: Roman Frigg (LSE) and Matthew Hunter (Courtauld
Institute of Art/University of Chicago)

Programme committee: Peter Ainsworth (LSE), Roman Frigg (LSE),
Matthew Hunter (Courtauld Institute of Art/University of
Chicago), Elisabeth Schellekens (King's College London),
Christine Stevenson (Courtauld Institute of Art), and Sabine
Wieber (Birkbeck College London)

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Received on Tue Dec 13 2005 - 08:39:43 EST