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)
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)
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)
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)
From the perspective of many philosophers of mind in these early years of the 21st Century, the debate between dualism and physicalism has seemed to have stalled, if not to have come to a complete standstill. There seems to be no way to settle the basic clash of intuitions that underlies it. Recently however, a growing number of proponents of Russellian monism have suggested that their view promises to show us a new way forward. Insofar as Russellian monism might allow (...) us to break out of the current gridlock, it's no wonder that it's become "hot stuff." To my mind, however, the excitement about Russellian monism is misplaced. Though some version of Russellian monism might well be true, I do not believe that it enables us to break free of the dualism/physicalism divide. As I will argue, once we properly understand what's required to flesh out an adequate monistic story, we will see that we are in an important way right back where we started. (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)
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)
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)
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.
__: In this essay I explore the account of imaginative phenomenology developed by Uriah Kriegel in _The Varieties of Consciousness_. On his view, the difference between perceptual phenomenology and imaginative phenomenology arises from the way that they present the existential status of their object: While perceptual experience presents its object as existent, imaginative experience presents its object as non-existent. While I agree with Kriegel that it’s likely that the difference between imaginative phenomenology and perceptual phenomenology is one not just of (...) degree but of kind, I worry about the particular account that he has developed. I thus develop two lines of criticism. First, I question whether Kriegel is right that imagination presents its object as non-existent. Second, I question whether this account of imaginative phenomenology is consistent with other commonly-accepted facts about the nature of imagination. _Keywords_: Imagination; Perception; Phenomenology; J.-P. Sartre; Epistemic Value; Emotion ___Fenomenologia dell’immaginazione e status esistenziale_ _Riassunto_: In questo articolo intendo indagare l’approccio alla descrizione della fenomenologia dell’immaginazione sviluppata da Uriah Kriegel in _The Varieties of Consciousness_. Dal suo punto di vista, la differenza tra fenomenologia della percezione e fenomenologia dell’immaginazione si mostra nel modo in cui queste presentano lo status esistenziale dei loro oggetti: se l’esperienza percettiva presenta il proprio oggetto come esistente, l’esperienza immaginativa lo presenta come non-esistente. Per un verso, concordo con Kriegel sulla probabilità che la differenza tra fenomenologia dell’immaginazione e fenomenologia della percezione non sia di grado ma di genere, mentre, per altro verso, non sono convinta della correttezza del suo approccio. Pertanto vorrei sollevare due criticità. In primo luogo, mi chiedo se Kriegel sia nel giusto quando ritiene che l’immaginazione presenti il proprio oggetto come non-esistente; in secondo luogo, mi chiedo se questa descrizione della fenomenologia dell’immaginazione sia coerente con altri fatti, comunemente accettati, circa la natura dell’immaginazione. _Parole chiave_: Immaginazione; Percezione; Fenomenologia; J.-P. Sartre; Valore epistemico; Emozione. (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)
As persons, we are importantly different from all other creatures in the universe. But in what, exactly, does this difference consist? What kinds of entities are we, and what makes each of us the same person today that we were yesterday? Could we survive having all of our memories erased and replaced with false ones? What about if our bodies were destroyed and our brains were transplanted into android bodies, or if instead our minds were simply uploaded to computers? -/- (...) In this engaging and accessible introduction to these important philosophical questions, Amy Kind brings together three different areas of research: the nature of personhood, theories of personal identity over time, and the constitution of self-identity. Surveying the key contemporary theories in the philosophical literature, Kind analyzes and assesses their strengths and weaknesses. As she shows, our intuitions on these issues often pull us in different directions, making it difficult to develop an adequate general theory. Throughout her discussion, Kind seamlessly interweaves a vast array of up-to-date examples drawn from both real life and popular fiction, all of which greatly help to elucidate this central topic in metaphysics. -/- A perfect text for readers coming to these issues for the first time, Persons and Personal Identity engages with some of the deepest and most important questions about human nature and our place in the world, making it a vital resource for students and researchers alike. (shrink)
Imagination occupies a central place in philosophy, going back to Aristotle. However, following a period of relative neglect there has been an explosion of interest in imagination in the past two decades as philosophers examine the role of imagination in debates about the mind and cognition, aesthetics and ethics, as well as epistemology, science and mathematics. This outstanding _Handbook_ contains over thirty specially commissioned chapters by leading philosophers organised into six clear sections examining the most important aspects of the philosophy (...) of imagination, including: Imagination in historical context: Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Husserl, and Sartre What is imagination? The relation between imagination and mental imagery; imagination contrasted with perception, memory, and dreaming Imagination in aesthetics: imagination and our engagement with music, art, and fiction; the problems of fictional emotions and ‘imaginative resistance’ Imagination in philosophy of mind and cognitive science: imagination and creativity, the self, action, child development, and animal cognition Imagination in ethics and political philosophy, including the concept of 'moral imagination' and empathy Imagination in epistemology and philosophy of science, including learning, thought experiments, scientific modelling, and mathematics. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy _of Imagination_ is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind and psychology, aesthetics, and ethics. It will also be a valuable resource for those in related disciplines such as psychology and art. (shrink)
My purpose in this dissertation is to investigate the workings of the imagination. As I argue in Chapter One, such an investigation reveals that we cannot adequately account for the phenomenon of imagining without invoking mental imagery. I thus develop and defend an imagery-based account of the imagination, which I call the imagery model. ;Despite its intuitive appeal and a long philosophical history, the imagery model has nonetheless fallen into disfavor in contemporary discussions of the imagination. This is due, at (...) least in part, to a strong presumption against mental images that has developed in this century. Overcoming this presumption is the primary task of Chapter Two. In Chapter Three, I address a second motivation for the rejection of the imagery model, namely, that there seem to be some mental exercises which are clearly exercises of the imagination but yet which do not consist of imagery. By separating the imagery model from several controversial theses with which it has been associated, I show how the imagery model can protect itself from the threat of these counterexamples. ;Once these obstacles to the acceptance of the imagery model have been removed, the need remains to provide an explanation of the role that the image plays in imagining. As I suggest, although the image is not what is imagined, it is in virtue of the image that anything is imagined at all. More specifically, the image serves to capture the subject of the imagining. My discussion of this claim in Chapter Four is heavily influenced by recent work in the philosophy of language; in particular, I rely on many of the insights of the causal theory of reference developed by Saul Kripke and Keith Donnellan. ;Ultimately, having developed a picture of the workings of the imagination, I take up what I call the question of imaginability, namely, "What can we imagine?" The imagery model yields the obvious result that the imaginable is limited to the imageable. I explore the consequences of this result and, in particular, the consequences it has for the use of the imagination as an epistemological guide to modality. (shrink)
Imagination is celebrated as our vehicle for escape from the mundane here and now. It transports us to distant lands of magic and make-believe, and provides us with diversions during boring meetings or long bus rides. Yet the focus on imagination as a means of escape from the real world minimizes the fact that imagination seems also to furnish us with knowledge about it. Imagination seems an essential component in our endeavor to learn about the world in which we live--whether (...) we're planning for the future, aiming to understand other people, or figuring out whether two puzzle pieces fit together. But how can the same mental power that allows us to escape the world as it currently is also inform us about the world as it currently is? Ten original essays grapple with this neglected question; in doing so, they present a diverse array of positions ranging from cautious optimism to deep-seated pessimism. Blending perspectives from philosophy of mind, cognitive science, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics, Knowledge Through Imagination sheds new light on the epistemic role of imagination. (shrink)