Vendler’s puzzle about imagination

Synthese 199 (5-6):12923-12944 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Vendler’s :161–173, 1979) puzzle about imagination is that the sentences ‘Imagine swimming in that water’ and ‘Imagine yourself swimming in that water’ seem at once semantically different and semantically the same. They seem semantically different, since the first requires you to imagine ’from the inside’, while the second allows you to imagine ’from the outside.’ They seem semantically the same, since despite superficial dissimilarity, there is good reason to think that they are syntactically and lexically identical. This paper sets out the puzzle and offers a novel solution. Our proposal is that, just as there is knowledge-wh, there is also imagining-wh and that the inside/outside distinction Vendler points to is properly understood as a distinction within imagining-wh. In particular, to imagine swimming from the inside is to imagine what it feels like to swim, while to imagine swimming from the outside is to imagine what it looks like to swim. We show that this proposal is well grounded in both the semantics and syntax of ‘imagine.’ We also argue it makes better sense than its rivals of the data Vendler found so puzzling.

Similar books and articles

The Puzzle of Imaginative Failure.Stuart Brock - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (248):443-463.
Imagining the Collective Future: A Sociocultural Perspective.Tania Zittoun & Alex Gillespie - 2018 - In Constance de Saint-Laurent, Sandra Obradović & Kevin R. Carriere (eds.), Imagining Collective Futures: Perspectives From Social, Cultural and Political Psychology. Springer Verlag. pp. 15-37.
Imagining experiences correctly.P. Joyce - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):361-370.
Is Imagination Introspective?Kevin Reuter - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (1):31-38.
Perspectives in imaginative engagement with fiction.Elisabeth Camp - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):73-102.
Dramatic Irony, Narrative, and the External Perspective.Peter Goldie - 2007 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 60:69-84.
Imagining Experiences Correctly.Phil Joyce - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):361-369.
Images, Supposing, and Imagining.Annis Flew - 1953 - Philosophy 28 (106):246 - 254.
Belief-Like Imagining and Correctness.Alon Chasid - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):147-160.
Imagining as a Guide to Possibility.Peter Kung - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):620-663.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-06-22

Downloads
268 (#45,500)

6 months
82 (#12,008)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Daniel Stoljar
Australian National University
Justin D'Ambrosio
University of St. Andrews

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowing How.Jason Stanley & Timothy Willlamson - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (8):411-444.
The proper treatment of quantification in ordinary English.Richard Montague - 1973 - In Patrick Suppes, Julius Moravcsik & Jaakko Hintikka (eds.), Approaches to Natural Language. Dordrecht. pp. 221--242.
The Proper Treatment of Quantification in Ordinary English.Richard Montague - 1974 - In Richmond H. Thomason (ed.), Formal Philosophy. Yale University Press.

View all 44 references / Add more references