The Imagery Debate [Book Review]

Journal of Mind and Behavior 15 (3):291-294 (1994)
This book is a philosopher's examination of the dispute, which raged amongst cognitive psychologists in the 1970s, and has continued to sputter on since, about the nature of mental imagery. As Tye sees things (and, indeed, as the textbooks generally have it) on the one side of the issue we find Stephen Kosslyn and certain close associates, arguing that mental images are best understood on analogy with pictures; and on the other side we find Zenon Pylyshyn, ably seconded by Geoffrey Hinton, arguing that the pictorial analogy is thoroughly misleading, and should be replaced by an analogy to descriptions. Tye's consideration of this debate, attempting to clarify and arbitrate a tangled mess of argument and to explore the implications of what he takes to be the proper outcome, is generally excellent. If you want to understand the strengths of the arguments of Kosslyn, Pylyshyn, and their allies, then this book is to be recommended very warmly.
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