There are undeniably many ways of depicting things, but it is unclear what the diversity of depictive representational systems consists in. What is a way of depicting something, and how many ways of depicting things are there? Pictorial diversity starts to seem interesting and confusing when one tries to fix a picture's content while varying its surface features, or vice versa. This chapter seeks to explain what is at issue in discussing pictorial diversity and to introduce two tools for understanding it: the notions of syntactic competition and semantic competition. The fact that pictures compete neither syntactically nor semantically places important constraints on picture interpretation.
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