This article focuses on the difference between the personal God image and the God image that people perceive as normative, that is to say, the God image they believe they should have according to religious culture. A sample of 544 Dutch respondents, of which 244 received psychotherapy, completed the Dutch Questionnaire of God Images . In general, there appeared to be a discrepancy between the personal and the normative God image. Whether discrepancies were experienced as conflictive (...) was related to religious denomination and mental health. Conflictive feelings were associated with lower religious saliency and higher educational level. Moreover, they were associated with mental health per se and the interaction between mental health and denomination, with patients reporting more conflicts than normals except in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox-Reformed group, where patients and non-patients hardly differed in the experience of conflict. (shrink)
AI research concerning the connection between seeing and speaking mainly employs what is called reference semantics. Within this framework, the notion of `mentalimage' is often used while explaining how somebody not situated in the same perceptual context is able to anchor his understanding of an utterance describing the scene visually perceived by the speaker. We give a foundation for considering mental images as propositions with respect to a certain field of concepts: these fields have to provide (...) a syntactically dense set of concepts distinguishing locations. The use of such propositions in the reference semantic explanations of understanding utterances about visually perceived scenes is motivated by applying Kant's idea of the introduction of new types of objects: we conceive spatial relations as relations only applicable to sortal objects, i.e., individuated objects which are synthetically introduced on a syntactically dense field providing their potential locations. The concept `mentalimage' which results from these preliminary studies is applied to two current projects in AI, one dealing with the semantics of particular spatial prepositions, and the other more generally concerned with the logic of the connection between visual and verbal space. (shrink)
After thirty years of the current “imagery debate,” it appears far from resolved, even though there seems to be a growing acceptance that a cortical display cannot be identified directly with the experienced mentalimage, nor can it account for the experimental findings on imagery, at least not without additional ad hoc assumptions. The commentaries on the target article range from the annoyed to the supportive, with a surprising number of the latter. In this response I attempt to (...) correct some misreadings of the target article and discuss some of the ideas and evidence introduced by the commentators – much of which I found helpful, even though they do not alter my basic thesis. I also further develop the idea that the spatial character of images may come from the way they are connected to our immediate or immediately-recalled environment (by attention or by visual indexes) and towards which we may orient while we are imaging, thus leaving the alleged spatial properties of images outside the head and freeing image-representations from having to be displayed on any surface. (shrink)
Most cognitive theories agree that a listener of a sports broadcast on radio usually imagines the scene described; the concept `mentalimage' appears in a specific sort of explanations. In contrast to this conception, it is argued that this concept should rather be understood as part of a certain kind of grounding explanations of the radio listener's understanding. This particular conception is based on the distinction between `specification' and `implementation' as found in the theory of abstract data types. (...) Its application to the field of spatial concepts leads to a computational system (ANTLIMA) which exemplifies how the expression `mentalimage' could be used while explaining a speaker's ability to control the resolvability of ambiguities in an objective report of what the speaker sees. (shrink)
Mental imagery is an important topic in classical and modern philosophy, as it is central to the study of knowledge; since subjects can recall features of perceptual experiences in different ways and times, even modifying their structure, in this brief essay we will focus on non-perceptive mental images and to this purpose we will analyse, on the one hand, the nature of perceptive mental images ; on the other hand, NPMI generation according to different strategic conditions and (...) retrieval modalities and, so, their structural relationships with PMI. Thus, we will clarify what NPMI amounts to and, to this purpose, we will address the issue of epistemic correlation and semantic reference. As regards the former, we will adopt the notion of ‘belief’, both to describe which attitude supports the use of an NPMI and to account for its relationship with a PMI. As regards the latter, we will talk about weak ontology between an NPMI and the world, to conceive ‘the way in which’ mental imagery, despite the absence of a sensorial modification, refers to physical objects. As the subject’s mental contents determine, but do not constrain, what NPMI is like, we will deal with the ‘involvement’ of prior knowledge and the notion of meaningful space to underline that its generation is always the result of a wide process which involves perceptive visual information already processed and stored together with further mental contents. So, though some Authors consider mental imagery to be a ‘percept-like’ image and, somehow, espouse the theory of reactivation, we will pose a challenge to this theory – i.e. to what we call mental imagery standard framework – describing an NPMI in terms of configurational setting and indeterminacy. Consequently, we will propose a non-linear dynamic framework of mental imagery generation , according to which an NPMI is not reducible to a mere recalling of figural features of a perceptive image. (shrink)
In the past decade there has been renewed interest in the study of mental imagery. Emboldened by new findings from neuroscience, many people have revived the idea that mental imagery involves a special format of thought, one that is pictorial in nature. But the evidence and the arguments that exposed deep conceptual and empirical problems in the picture theory over the past 300 years have not gone away. I argue that the new evidence from neural imaging and clinical (...) neuropsychology does little to justify this recidivism because it does not address the format of mental images. I also discuss some reasons why the picture theory is so resistant to counterarguments and suggest ways in which non-pictorial theories might account for the apparent spatial nature of images. (shrink)
Husserl’s extensive analyses of image consciousness (Bildbewusstsein) and of the imagination (Phantasie) offer insightful and detailed structural explications. However, despite this careful work, Husserl’s discussions fail to overcome the need to rely on a most problematic concept: mental images. The epistemological conundrums triggered by the conceptual framework of mental images are well known—we have only to remember the questions regarding knowledge acquisition that plagued British empiricism. Beyond these problems, however, a plethora of important questions arise from claiming (...) that mental images are structural moments of imaging and imagining. Any attempt to clarify the structure and conditions for the possibility of aesthetic experience must first provide an unambiguous account of pictorial depiction—a task unattainable through the mental images discourse. Similarly, exposing the import of the imagination for theoretical scientific inquiries (be they positive or eidetic) requires an initial explication of the structure of this consciousness; this explication, however, must address our ability to imagine non-spatially determined objects—something the conceptual framework of mental images utterly fails to accomplish. In this paper I argue against Husserl’s reliance on mental images in his phenomenological analyses of imaging and imagining and propose an alternative structural account for both. This account is free of this reliance and able to steer clear of its insidious implications for epistemology, aesthetics, and methodological reflections. By closely following the development of Husserl’s account I suggest alternative descriptions while building on Husserl’s important work. (shrink)
Such claims are part 0f a viewpoint according t0 which mental images represent in thc manner of pictures. It is very natural t0 think that such claims are confused or nonsensical. One of my purposes here is a limited dcfcnsc of this supposedly confused doctrine, especially against its chief cognitive science rival. But this..
This paper explores the question whether an adequate account of the facts about imagination and mental imagery must construe mental images as objects. Much of the paper is a study of Alastair Hannay's defense of an affirmative answer in his wide?ranging study, Mental Images ? A Defence. The paper first sets out and evaluates Hannay's case. The second part develops an alternative account of mental images, including non?visual images, which Hannay does not treat in detail. The (...) alternative account is analogous to the adverbial theory of perception; and it is suggested how this account, without construing mental images as objects, might accommodate the data from which Hannay argues for their objecthood. (shrink)
The theory of so-called‘mental images’, which is put forward again in contemporary cognitive psychology, is criticized by way of elaborating the distinctly different intentional structures of the mental activities of‘remembering something’and‘representing something pictorially’(by means of a painting, photo, sculpture, etc.) It is suggested that psychology in its concept and theory formation could use profitably phenomenological-descriptive analyses of the different forms of intentionality as exemplified in the paper.
In an article entitled ?The Ontological Status of Mental Images?, Robert Audi rejects the view presented in Hannay's Mental Images: A Defence, and proposes ?the property account of imaging? as an alternative. Some of the strengths and weaknesses of Audi's proposal are discussed, and a more detailed and specific version of the property account offered; it is suggested that imaging ? should be described as entertaining the thought that if one were looking at (or smelling, touching, hearing, etc.) (...) x, things would appear ? (shrink)
There has been considerable debate among philosophers and psychol- ogists about whether the internal representations of imagery represent in the manner of pictures or in the manner of language. One side, pictorialism,holds that an internal imagery representation of Reagan is like a picture of Reagan. The other side, descriptionalism,holds that an internal imagery representation of Reagan is more like a string of words denoting or describing Reagan. My aim here is to expose a widespread fallacy on the part of the (...) descriptionalists. In the course of so doing, I try to clarify the pictorialist position, and show how it can undercut what appears to be a category of evidence for the other side. (shrink)
The present paper develops a defense for the representational approach to memory which wilcox and Katz believe leads to logical paradoxes. It is suggested that three of the central arguments of Wilcox and Katz make sense when one ascribes to the representational theory a "human-like" model, rather is based. the fourth major argument of Wilcox and Katz, which in the present article had been labelled the "eliminative' argument, has been shown to confuse ontological assuptions with logical considerations.
The article offers a new approach for the exploration of media and television studies by extracting the television-philosophy implicit in Samuel Beckett’s television play … but the clouds …. The reading focuses on the immanent logic of the play seen as a televisual and an intermedial whole, instead of constructing it as an intertextual tapestry of references. The article argues against a popular interpretation of Beckett as the artist of failure. The reading of …but the clouds… as illustrating the failure (...) of memory and as a comment on the televisual loss of pro-filmic referentiality is subsequently also contested. On the contrary, it is argued that the play in a self-reflexive positive gesture explores both the ontology of the television-image and the ontology of memory as a process of conjuration by presenting a successful emergence of the televisual Image-in-itself. (shrink)
What might a theory of mental imagery look like, and how might one begin formulating such a theory? These are the central questions addressed in the present paper. The first section outlines the general research direction taken here and provides an overview of the empirical foundations of our theory of image representation and processing. Four issues are considered in succession, and the relevant results of experiments are presented and discussed. The second section begins with a discussion of the (...) proper form for a cognitive theory, and the distinction between a theory and a model is developed. Following this, the present theory and computer simulation model are introduced. This theory specifies the nature of the internal representations (data structures) and the processes that operate on them when one generates, inspects, or transforms mental images. In the third, concluding, section we consider three very different kinds of objections to the present research program, one hinging on the possibility of experimental artifacts in the data, and the others turning on metatheoretical commitments about the form of a cognitive theory. Finally, we discuss how one ought best to evaluate theories and models of the sort developed here. (shrink)
Barbara Stafford is at the forefront of a growing movement that calls for the humanities to confront the brain’s material realities. In Echo Objects she argues that humanists should seize upon the exciting neuroscientific discoveries that are illuminating the underpinnings of cultural objects. In turn, she contends, brain scientists could enrich their investigations of mental activity by incorporating phenomenological considerations—particularly the intricate ways that images focus intentional behavior and allow us to feel thought. This, then, is a book for (...) both sides of the aisle, a stunningly broad exploration of how complex images—or patterns that compress space and time—make visible the invisible ordering of human consciousness. Stafford demonstrates, for example, how the compound formats of emblems, symbols, collage, and electronic media reveal the brain’s grappling to construct mental objects that are redoubled by prior associations. On the other hand, she compellingly shows that findings in evolutionary biology and the neurosciences are providing profound opportunities for understanding aesthetic conundrums as old and deep-seated as the human urge to imitate, the mapping of inner space, and the role of narrative and nonnarrative representation. As precise in her discussions of firing neurons as she is about the coordinating dynamics of image making, Stafford locates these major transdisciplinary issues at the intersection of art, science, philosophy, and technology. Ultimately, she makes an impassioned plea for a common purpose—for the acknowledgement that, at the most basic level, these separate projects belong to a single investigation. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to analyze the way in which Edmund Husserl deals with the problem of the constitution of image in his writings. The difference between a common thing and a work of art lies in the fact that the ‘thing’ is submitted as an object to perception, while the work of art is the product of the human capacity called imagination or fantasy (Phantasie). Therefore, the difference between perception (which is an objectifying act) and imagination (...) (which refers to a mental representation) is the fundamental difference Husserl operates with in his analysis of the phenomenological problem of the image building. I also want to show that Husserl’s analysis of the constitution of the image is fundamental in the understanding of the work of art (aesthetic phenomena including) and of its difference from a common thing. From the point of view of the History of Philosophy, the Husserlian analysis presupposes the overcoming of the classical opposition between subject and object, and the aesthetic experience is one of the (privileged) ways through which this overcoming can be achieved. (shrink)