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Digital Images: Content and Compositionality



Typical accounts of imagistic content have focused on the apparent analog character or continuous variability of images. In contrast, I consider the distinctive features of digital images, those composed of finite sets of discrete pixels. A rich source of evidence on digital imagistic content is found in the content-preserving algorithms that resize and reproduce digital images on computer screens and printers. I argue that these algorithms reveal a distinctive structural feature: digital images are always compositional (their parts contribute systematically to overall content), but never inverse compositional (atomic parts may be replaced nonsynonymously without changing content). This indicates a sharp contrast with linguistic representations, which may or may not be compositional, and may or may not be inverse compositional. I argue this result sheds new light on the claim that imagistic content is inherently perspectival.



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Digital Images: Content and Compositionality



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