Between an Object and a Person: an Inverted Image / Icon


  • Una Popović University of Novi Sad, Serbia


Słowa kluczowe:

object, person, icons, latreia, proskynesis


Relations between persons in the contemporary world often resemble those of the same persons towards objects. We are accustomed to ‘use’ – and even see – others as if they are, to put it in Kantian terms, merely a means to an end, and not as if they are an end in themselves. Such blurring of lines between objects and persons surely has significant moral and political consequences. However, in this paper I reach instead for a very traditional example and suggest it as a possible model for understanding these contemporary issues. I’d like to offer an analysis of icons, with regard to the concepts of latreia (worship) and proskynesis (devotion), developed and discussed in the Byzantine empire during the era of iconoclasm. By revisiting this old quarrel, I wish to invert the issue of persons becoming (like) objects, since in the case of the icons the question is whether an object can and should be treated as a person. Such an inverted image could, in my opinion, offer us a new perspective on contemporary intersubjective relations and present us with a double optic, which can teach us to distinguish between esteem for objects and respect for persons.

Biogram autora

Una Popović - University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Una Popović is an associate professor at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, where she has been a faculty member since 2009; she also teaches at the Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad. She teaches courses on Medieval Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, Logic, Philosophy of Mathematics, and Philosophy of Art. Una Popović completed BA studies in philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, in 2008. She has a PhD in philosophy (aesthetics, ontology) by the same University (2014); thesis titled Heidegger’s ­Philosophy of Language.
Una Popović is a member of the executive committee of the Aesthetic Society of Serbia and Serbian Philosophical Society. Her research interests lie in philosophy of language, philosophy of art and phenomenology; recently she is working on projects concerning Baumgarten’s idea of aesthetics, aesthetics of dance, and image-word relationship in medieval philosophy.


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