Why Imagining Requires Content: A Reply to a Reply to an Objection to Radical Enactive Cognition

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):246-254 (2018)
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‘Radical enactivism’ (Hutto and Myin 2013, 2017) eschews representational content for all ‘basic’ mental activities. Critics have argued that this view cannot make sense of the workings of the imagination. In their recent book (2017), Hutto and Myin respond to these critics, arguing that some imaginings can be understood without attributing them any representational content. Their response relies on the claim that a system can exploit a structural isomorphism between two things without either of those things being a semantically evaluable representation of the other. I argue that even if this claim is granted, there remains a problem for radically enactive accounts of imagining, namely that the active establishing and maintenance of a structural isomorphism seems to require representational content even if the exploitation of such an isomorphism, when established, does not.

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