The multidimensional spectrum of imagination: Images, Dreams, Hallucinations, and Active, Imaginative Perception.

Humanities 3 (2):132-184 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
A theory of the structure and cognitive function of the human imagination that attempts to do justice to traditional intuitions about its psychological centrality is developed, largely through a detailed critique of the theory propounded by Colin McGinn. Like McGinn, I eschew the highly deflationary views of imagination, common amongst analytical philosophers, that treat it either as a conceptually incoherent notion, or as psychologically trivial. However, McGinn fails to develop his alternative account satisfactorily because (following Reid, Wittgenstein and Sartre) he draws an excessively sharp, qualitative distinction between imagination and perception, and because of his flawed, empirically ungrounded conception of hallucination. His arguments in defense of these views are rebutted in detail, and the traditional, passive, Cartesian view of visual perception, upon which several of them implicitly rely, is criticized in the light of findings from recent cognitive science and neuroscience. It is also argued that the apparent intuitiveness of the passive view of visual perception is a result of mere historical contingency. An understanding of perception (informed by modern visual science) as an inherently active process enables us to unify our accounts of perception, mental imagery, dreaming, hallucination, creativity, and other aspects of imagination within a single coherent theoretical framework.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
THOTMS
Upload history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View other versions
Added to PP index
2010-02-20

Total views
553 ( #8,186 of 54,391 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
62 ( #10,301 of 54,391 )

How can I increase my downloads?

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