Aphantasia and the Decay of Mental Images

In Réhault Sébastien & Cova Florian (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics. Bloomsbury. pp. 167-174 (2019)
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Abstract

Testimonies about aphantasia are still surprisingly rare, more than a century after Galton. It is therefore difficult to understand how a person devoid of (a kind of) imagination actually thinks. In order to outline "what it is like" to be aphantasic, I will start by compiling two qualitative interviews with aphantasics that I will then compare with other testimonies collected in literature and online. The fact that aphantasia is poorly documented may also explain why few philosophers (with the notable exception of Phillips 2014) seem to take this phenomenon seriously – contrary to others phenomena such as blindsight for instance. To redress the balance, the second part of this paper will consider three debates to which aphantasia could contribute.

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Steve Humbert-Droz
University of Geneva

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