Imagination has been assigned an important explanatory role in a multitude of philosophical contexts. This paper examines four such contexts: mindreading, pretense, our engagement with fiction, and modal epistemology. Close attention to each of these contexts suggests that the mental activity of imagining is considerably more heterogeneous than previously realized. In short, no single mental activity can do all the explanatory work that has been assigned to imagining.
The puzzle of imaginative desire arises from the difficulty of accounting for the surprising behaviour of desire in imaginative activities such as our engagement with fiction and our games of pretend. Several philosophers have recently attempted to solve this puzzle by introducing a class of novel mental states?what they call desire-like imaginings or i-desires. In this paper, I argue that we should reject the i-desire solution to the puzzle of imaginative desire. The introduction of i-desires is both ontologically profligate and (...) unnecessary, and, most importantly, fails to make sense of what we are doing in the imaginative contexts in question. (shrink)
The question of personal identity—what makes a person the same person over time—is puzzling. Through the course of a life, someone might undergo a dramatic alteration in personality, radically change her values, lose almost all of her memories, and undergo significant changes in her physical appearance. Given all of these potential changes, why should we be inclined to regard her as the same person? Battlestar Galactica presents us with an even bigger puzzle: What makes a Cylon the same Cylon over (...) time? There are only twelve different models, but there are many copies of each. So what makes the resurrected Caprica Six the same Cylon as the one who seduced Gaius Baltar into betraying humanity, and yet a different Cylon from the tortured Gina or Shelly Godfrey? (shrink)
According to representationalism, the qualitative character of our phenomenal mental states supervenes on the intentional content of such states. Strong representationalism makes a further claim: the qualitative character of our phenomenal mental states _consists in_ the intentional content of such states. Although strong representationalism has greatly increased in popularity over the last decade, I find the view deeply implausible. In what follows, I will attempt to argue against strong representationalism by a two-step argument. First, I suggest that strong representationalism must (...) be _unrestricted_ in order to serve as an adequate theory of qualia, i.e., it must apply to all qualitative mental states. Second, I present considerations to show that an unrestricted form of strong representationalism is problematic. (shrink)
Introspection is the process by which someone comes to form beliefs about her own mental states. We might form the belief that someone else is happy on the basis of perception – for example, by perceiving her behavior. But a person typically does not have to observe her own behavior in order to determine whether she is happy. Rather, one makes this determination by introspecting.
Both imagery and imagination play an important part in our mental lives. This article, which has three main sections, discusses both of these phenomena, and the connection between them. The first part discusses mental images and, in particular, the dispute about their representational nature that has become known as the _imagery debate_ . The second part turns to the faculty of the imagination, discussing the long philosophical tradition linking mental imagery and the imagination—a tradition that came under attack in the (...) early part of the twentieth century with the rise of behaviorism. Finally, the third part of this article examines modal epistemology, where the imagination has been thought to serve an important philosophical function, namely, as a guide to possibility. (shrink)
In this paper, by analyzing the Chalmers-Searle debate about Chalmers� zombie thought experiment, I attempt to determine the implications that the irreducibility of consciousness has for the truth of materialism. While Chalmers claims that the irreducibility of consciousness forces us to embrace dualism, Searle claims that it has no deep metaphysical import and, in particular, that it is fully consistent with his materialist theory of mind. I argue that this disagreement hinges on the notion of physical identity in play in (...) the discussion. Clarifying this notion in turn helps to clarify what it means to claim that consciousness is irreducible, and provides insight into the implications that the truth of this claim would have for the dualism-materialism debate. Ultimately, I suggest that the sort of irreducibility that can be motivated by the zombie thought experiment is not sufficient to require the rejection of materialism. (shrink)
Philosophers have long suggested that our attitude of special concern for the future is problematic for a reductionist view of personal identity, such as the one developed by Derek Parfit in Reasons and Persons. Specifically, it is often claimed that reductionism cannot provide justification for this attitude. In this paper, I argue that much of the debate in this arena involves a misconception of the connection between metaphysical theories of personal identity and our special concern. A proper understanding of this (...) connection reveals that the above-mentioned objection to reductionism cannot get off the ground. Though the connection I propose is weaker than the connection typically presupposed, I nonetheless run up against a conclusion reached by Susan Wolf in “Self-Interest and Interest in Selves.” According to Wolf, metaphysical theses about the nature of personal identity have no significance for our attitude of special concern. By arguing against Wolf’s treatment of self-interest, I suggest that her arguments for this conclusion are misguided. This discussion leads to further clarification of the nature of the link between theories of personal identity and our special concern and, ultimately, to a better understanding of the rationality of this attitude. (shrink)
I show how the 'innersense' (quasiperceptual) view of introspection can be defended against Shoemaker's influential 'argument from selfblindness'. If introspection and perception are analogous, the relationship between beliefs and introspective knowledge of them is merely contingent. Shoemaker argues that this implies the possibility that agents could be selfblind, i.e., could lack any introspective awareness of their own mental states. By invoking Moore's paradox, he rejects this possibility. But because Shoemaker's discussion conflates introspective awareness and selfknowledge, he cannot establish his conclusion. (...) There is thirdperson evidence available to the selfblind which Shoemaker ignores, and it can account for the considerations from Moore's paradox that he raises. (shrink)
Intuitions about the transparency of experience have recently begun to play a key role in the debate about qualia. Specifically, such intuitions have been used by representationalists to support their view that the phenomenal character of our experience can be wholly explained in terms of its intentional content.[i] But what exactly does it mean to say that experience is transparent? In my view, recent discussions of transparency leave matters considerably murkier than one would like. As I will suggest, there is (...) reason to believe that experience is not transparent in the way that representationalism requires. Although there is a sense in which experience can be said to be transparent, transparency in this sense does not give us any particular motivation for representationalism—or at least, not the pure or strong representationalism that it is usually invoked to support. (shrink)
Despite their intuitive appeal and a long philosophical history, imagery-based accounts of the imagination have fallen into disfavor in contemporary discussions. The philosophical pressure to reject such accounts seems to derive from two distinct sources. First, the fact that mental images have proved difficult to accommodate within a scientific conception of mind has led to numerous attempts to explain away their existence, and this in turn has led to attempts to explain the phenomenon of imagining without reference to such ontologically (...) dubious entities as mental images. Second, even those philosophers who accept mental images in their ontology have worried about what seem to be fairly obvious examples of imaginings that occur without imagery. In this paper, I aim to relieve both these points of philosophical pressure and, in the process, develop a new imagery-based account of the imagination: the imagery model. (shrink)
Recent characterizations of the <span class='Hi'>qualia</span> debate construe the point at issue in terms of the existence of intrinsic properties of experience. I argue that such characterizations mistakenly ignore the epistemic dimension of the notion of <span class='Hi'>qualia</span>. Using Ned Block.