Trace, Testimony, Portrait

  • Robert D. Sweeney
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 76)


This is a paper that deals, in part, with an aesthetic issue, the nature of the portrait. But more fundamentally, it is concerned with an issue in the philosophy of history (and thus of epistemology), namely, the question of the veridicality — the truth-value — of accounts of the past. In turn it also touches on an issue in ontology, namely, the status of the past, the “pastness” of the past. The guiding threads of the paper are taken from a recent study by Paul Ricoeur, “La Marque du Passé.”1 It will undertake to show that the portrait is not primarily a representation in the classic sense of a copy or facsimile, but that it fits more appropriately into the category of testimony and in that role it serves as a founding model of historical evidence and as a guide for interpretative procedures. In that context, it is hoped, some light might be shed on the complex question of the evaluation of the portrait as an aesthetic object and how this affects the ontology of the past — past-time.


Aesthetic Experience Christian Ethic Aesthetic Object Staying Power Narrative Quality 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Sweeney
    • 1
  1. 1.John Carroll UniversityUSA

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