Superimposed Mental Imagery: On the Uses of Make-Perceive

In Fiona Macpherson & Fabian Dorsch (eds.), Perceptual Imagination and Perceptual Memory. pp. 161-185 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Human beings have the ability to ‘augment’ reality by superimposing mental imagery on the visually perceived scene. For example, when deciding how to arrange furniture in a new home, one might project the image of an armchair into an empty corner or the image of a painting onto a wall. The experience of noticing a constellation in the sky at night is also perceptual-imaginative amalgam: it involves both seeing the stars in the constellation and imagining the lines that connect them at the same time. I here refer to such hybrid experiences – involving both a bottom-up, externally generated component and a top-down, internally generated component – as make-perceive (Briscoe 2008, 2011). My discussion in this paper has two parts. In the first part, I show that make-perceive enables human beings to solve certain problems and pursue certain projects more effectively than bottom-up perceiving or top-down visualization alone. To this end, the skillful use of projected mental imagery is surveyed in a variety of contexts, including action planning, the interpretation of static mechanical diagrams, and non-instrumental navigation. In the second part, I address the question of whether make-perceive may help to account for the “phenomenal presence” of occluded or otherwise hidden features of perceived objects. I argue that phenomenal presence is not well explained by the hypothesis that hidden features are represented using projected mental images. In defending this position, I point to important phenomenological and functional differences between the way hidden object features are represented respectively in mental imagery and amodal completion.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2013-07-20
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Imagination.Liao, Shen-yi & Gendler, Tamar
Imagination.Gendler, Tamar Szabó

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
457 ( #9,236 of 50,437 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
31 ( #19,853 of 50,437 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.