This volume consists of papers given to the Royal Institute of Philos- ophy Conference on 'Philosophy and the Visual Arts: Seeing and Abstracting' given at the University of Bristol in September 1985. The contributors here come about equally from the disciplines of Philosophy and Art History and for that reason the Conference was hosted jointly by the Bristol University Departments of Philosophy and History of Art. Other conferences sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy have been concerned with links between Philosophy and related disciplines, but here, with the generous support of South West Arts and with the enthusiastic co-operation of the staff of the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol we were able to attempt even more in the way of bridge building; not only were we able to hold some of our meetings in as possible to the general the Gallery, thus making them as accessible public, but we were also privileged in having our discussions supported by two exhibitions of contemporary painting that together presented contrasting aspects of the abstracting enterprise. One, featuring works by Ian McKeever, and drawings and painting by Frank Auerbach, some of which are discussed and illustrated in the present volume, was about the painterly exploration of 'abstracting from' images in nature and in painting itself. The other, curated by Waldemar Januszczak, while showing some figurative works, was concerned with the 'pure' power of colour perceived 'abstractly, in its own right.