Imagining Experiences

Noûs:561-586 (2016)
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It is often held that in imagining experiences we exploit a special imagistic way of representing mentality—one that enables us to think about mental states in terms of what it is like to have them. According to some, when this way of thinking about the mind is paired with more objective means, an explanatory gap between the phenomenal and physical features of mental states arises. This paper advances a view along those lines, but with a twist. What many take for a special imagistic way of thinking about experiences is instead a special way of misconstruing them. It is this tendency to misrepresent experiences through the use of imagery that gives rise to the appearance of an explanatory gap. The pervasiveness and tenacity of this misrepresentational reflex can be traced to its roots in a particular heuristic for monitoring and remembering the mental states of others. The arguments together amount to a new path for defending the transparency of perceptual experience.

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Peter Langland-Hassan
University of Cincinnati


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