This project has received funding from the European
Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon
2020 research and innovation programme.
Grant agreement No. 834033 AN-ICON.



Department of Philosophy, Sala Seminari

Seminar of Philosophy of Image

Reflections and Images

Clotilde Calabi Università degli Studi di Milano

What kind of maker is that?’

‘The kind who can create all the objects which the individual craftsmen can create.[…] This same craftsman is not only capable of making any sort of furniture. He can also create all the things that grow out of the earth. He produces all living creatures- including himself – and on the top of that produces heaven and earth, the gods, everything in the heaven and under the earth in Hades.’


‘Don’t you believe me?’, I said. ‘Tell me this. Do you think it’s altogether impossible for there to be a craftsman of this kind? Or do you think that in one way there could be a creator of all these things though in another way there couldn’t? Can’t you see that there is a way in which you would be capable of creating all these things for yourself?’

‘What way is that?’

‘There’s nothing very difficult about it’, I said, ‘This kind of workmanship is often – and easily practiced. I suppose the quickest way is if you care to take a mirror and carry it around with you wherever you go. The way you’ll soon create the earth, soon create yourself, other living creatures, furnitures, plants, and all the things we’ve been talking about’.

‘Yes’, he said, ‘I could create them as they appear to be. But not as they truly are’.

‘Good. That’s exactly the point. Isn’t that just the kind of craftsman a painter is?’

(Plato, The Republic, Book X)


Half-jokingly, Plato compared mirrors to accomplished painters. Leonardo da Vinci, on the other hand, was quite serious when he urged his fellow artists to take mirrors as masters and touchstones. This was based on the assumption that the images paintings present to us are precisely of the same kind as what we can see in mirrors. The assumption became much of a common place for at least the subsequent two centuries and retains its appeal to this day. Zeno Vendler and Mohan Matthen are two contemporary philosophers endorsing Leonardo’s claim. Particularly, Matthen contends that mirror images side with painted images in so far as they are purely virtual objects. The main competing theory concerning mirrors is that, in them, far from seeing images, we see the reflected objects themselves. What we see in a mirror resembles what can be seen through a window, and they are both unlike painted images. First, I shall analyze Matthen’s virtual object claim and argue that he does not provide adequate support for it. Then, I shall discuss the competing claim that we see the objects reflected, as we see material objects around us.

Transportation, Lucid Hallucination, and Immersivity

Alberto Voltolini Università di Torino

In this talk, I will hold that the phenomenon of transportation, the kind of cognitive and emotional involvement with a story that takes place independently of whether the story is real or fictional (Green & Brock 2000, Green 2004), can be understood along the lines of the experience of lucid hallucination, the sort of hallucinatory experience that is known as such. Naturally enough, however, transportation is not a lucid hallucination, for the kind of experience is based on (experience of meaning) is not perceptual. In order for it to be a lucid hallucination, transportation should involve an immersive experience.

Clotilde Calabi teaches philosophy of language and philosophy of mind at the Philosophy Department of the University of Milano. She has written extensively on emotions, philosophy of perception, cognitive phenomenology, and intentionality.

Alberto Voltolini (PhD Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa 1989) is a philosopher of language and mind whose works have focused mainly on fiction, intentionality, depiction, and Wittgenstein. He is currently Professor in Philosophy of Mind at the University of Turin (Italy). He has got scholarships at the Universities of Geneva and Sussex. He has been visiting professor at the Universities of California, Riverside (1998), Australian National University, Canberra (2007), Barcelona (2010), London (2015), Auckland (2007, 2018), Antwerp (2019). He has been a member of the Steering Committee of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy (2002-2008) and of the Board of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (2009-2012). His publications include How Ficta Follow Fiction (Springer, 2006), as well as the “Fictional Entities” entry (with F. Kroon) of the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, and A Syncretistic Theory of Depiction (Palgrave, 2015).