No. 17 (2019): Rules without Words: Inquiries into Non-Linguistic Normativities
Section 2. Images and Rules

Promising Pictures: Depicting, Advertising, Instructing

Jakob Krebs
Institute for Philosophy, Goethe-University Frankfurt

Published 2019-12-15


  • deontic artifacts,
  • directive pictures,
  • graphic rules,
  • pictorial instruction,
  • visual aids

How to Cite

Krebs, J. (2019). Promising Pictures: Depicting, Advertising, Instructing. Phenomenology and Mind, (17), 112–120.


Depictive pictures may be promising in at least three different senses, which are examined in this essay. The first concerns genuine acts of promising that involve pictorial representations, like gift cards displaying a present the promisor commits herself to give. In a second sense, advertising strategists use pictures to promise to consumers perfect pasta or empty beaches. A third sense amounts to pictures as promising if they are instructive. Such pictures can be used to learn some type of action, like the performance of a military salute or the crafting of some artifact. All three promissory uses of pictures exhibit normative forces related to commitments and entitlements regarding justified expectations.


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