Here I list words with definitions related to my studies of visual culture which are new to me.

Ontology – noun

1 [mass noun] the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.

2 a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.

‘Here, then, are the bare bones of our ontology: We live in a world made up entirely of physical particles in fields of force. Some of these are organized into systems. Some of these systems are living systems and some of these living systems have evolved consciousness. With consciousness comes intentionality, the capacity of the organism to represent objects and states of affairs in the world to itself. ‘  Searle, The Construction of Social Reality.

Epistemic – adjective

of or relating to knowledge or the conditions for acquiring it.

Teleology – noun

1. the doctrine that final causes exist.
2. the study of the evidences of design or purpose in nature.
3. such design or purpose.
4. the belief that purpose and design are a part of or are apparent in nature.
5. (in vitalist philosophy) the doctrine that phenomena are guided not only by mechanical forces but that they also move toward certain goals of self-realization.


In linguistics, logic, philosophy, and other fields, an intension is any property or quality connoted by a word, phrase, or another symbol. In the case of a word, the word’s definition often implies an intension.

According to Searle in The Construction of Social Reality, chapter 1:

Intensionality is that property of sentences and other representations by which they fail certain test for extensionality. One of the most famous of these is Leibniz’s Law: If two expressions refer to the same object they can be substituted for each other in a sentence without changing the truth value of the sentence. Sentences that fail this test are said to be intensional with respect to substitutability. Another expression used to name this sort of intensionality is “referential opacity.”


Dialectic or dialectics, also known as the dialectical method, is a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.

Eidetic memory – noun

the ability to recall images with vividness bordering on actual visual perception; total recall; also called photographic memory

There are psychological types, we are told, who can hold a visual impression for quite some time after it has vanished from their eyes. They keep something like a color photograph in their minds, even when closing their eyes. Obviously such a faculty may be useful for a painter who wants to memorize a scene and who can devote more time to painting than to looking. But the claims that have been made for this so-called “eidetic faculty” in relation to art seem to me as unfounded as are those for the innocent eye.    E.H Gombrich, Art & Illusion, 2000.


Alexandrianism – noun

The chief characteristics of Alexandrianism are well summarized by Professor Robinson Ellis as follows: “Precision in form and metre, refinement in diction, a learning often degenerating into pedantry and obscurity, a resolute avoidance of everything commonplace in subject, sentiment or allusion.