Images of Thought

Philosophical Interpretations of Carlos Estevez's Art

By Jorge J. E. Gracia

Subjects: Philosophy, Art, Latin American Studies, Hermeneutics
Series: SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Paperback : 9780791493809, 280 pages, February 2009
Hardcover : 9780791493793, 280 pages, February 2009

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
1. Art and Philosophy
2. Carlos Estévez and His Art

Part 1: Philosophical Interpretations of Estévez’s Works Knowledge
3. Know Thyself
4. I Am Myself and My Circumstances
5. Everything We Know Is Numbers
6. No Man Knows the Whole Truth
7. Faith Seeks Understanding Reality
8. You Cannot Step into the Same River Twice
9. No Part of the Whole Is Empty
10. There Is No New Thing under the Sun
11. The Living Creature Is a World Order in Miniature Society
12. Negotiating Identities
13. What Then Is a Race?
14. Imagined Communities
15. I-Thou
16. Male and Female Destiny
17. The Will Does Not Desire of Necessity
18. The Very Hairs of Your Head Are All Numbered
19. God Has Predestined His Elect
Part 2: Philosophical Interpretations and Art
20. Interpretation
21. Art
22. Philosophical Interpretations of Art
Appendix 1 Interview with Carlos Estévez
Appendix 2 Carlos Estévez’s Biographical Chronology
Appendix 3 Carlos Estévez’s Images of Thought, Exhibition Checklist

Explores the relationship between philosophy and art through the work of Cuban American artist Carlos Estévez.


Is philosophy hopelessly opposed to art? Images of Thought answers negatively, claiming that visual images can be used effectively to grasp complex thoughts, and philosophy can be deployed to deepen our understanding of art. Jorge J. E. Gracia provides philosophical interpretations of seventeen works by the Cuban American artist Carlos Estévez that engage such topics as self-knowledge, the nature of the universe, faith and reason, permanence and change, the self and the other, women and men, freedom and determinism, providence, and predestination. The study's novelty lies both in its use of the interpretation of art to understand traditional philosophical problems and the theory it proposes concerning the nature of interpretation. The clarity of the discussion and an engaging style make it accessible to a wider audience.

Jorge J. E. Gracia is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Chair in Philosophy at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He is the author of several books, including Metaphysics and Its Task: The Search for the Categorial Foundation of Knowledge, and the coeditor (with Lynette M. F. Bosch and Isabel Alvarez Borland) of Identity, Memory, and Diaspora: Voices of Cuban-American Artists, Writers, and Philosophers, both also published by SUNY Press.


"This is a fine contribution to the analysis of a major Cuban and Latin American artist, and it is perhaps the first of its kind. While it is focused on a particular painter, the book manages to help lay the foundations for a philosophical analysis of art in general. It is a useful addition to a growing literature of philosophical works on aesthetics. " — Eduardo Mendieta, author of Global Fragments: Globalizations, Latinamericanisms, and Critical Theory

"Gracia has managed to fit discussion of important philosophical themes very well with the exploration of the artwork, which is fascinating and deserves attention. " — Charles Burroughs, Case Western Reserve University