A puzzle about visualization

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Visual imagination (or visualization) is peculiar in being both free, in that what we imagine is up to us, and useful to a wide variety of practical reasoning tasks. How can we rely upon our visualizations in practical reasoning if what we imagine is subject to our whims? The key to answering this puzzle, I argue, is to provide an account of what constrains the sequence in which the representations featured in visualization unfold—an account that is consistent with its freedom. Three different proposals are outlined, building on theories that link visualization to sensorimotor predictive mechanisms (e.g., efference copies, forward models ). Each sees visualization as a kind of reasoning, where its freedom consists in our ability to choose the topic of the reasoning. Of the three options, I argue that the approach many will find most attractive—that visualization is a kind of off-line perception, and is therefore in some sense misrepresentational—should be rejected. The two remaining proposals both conceive of visualization as a form of sensorimotor reasoning that is constitutive of one’s commitments concerning the way certain kinds of visuomotor scenarios unfold. According to the first, these commitments impinge on one’s web of belief from without, in the manner of normal perceptual experience; according to the second, these commitments just are one’s (occurrent) beliefs about such generalizations. I conclude that, despite being initially counterintuitive, the view of visualization as a kind of occurrent belief is the most promising
PhilPapers/Archive ID
LANAPA-3
Revision history
Archival date: 2011-01-25
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 58 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Between Philosophy and Art.McMahon, Jennifer A.; Coleman, Elizabeth B.; Macarthur, David; Phillips, James & von Sturmer, Daniel

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2011-01-25

Total views
444 ( #6,591 of 41,636 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
64 ( #8,806 of 41,636 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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