Imagination, Transparency, and Attention

A post by Cain Todd.

It seems plausible to think that visual experiences are in some way transparent. There are various ways of articulating the claim, and various theoretical motivations for defending it. But the basic idea is that, when introspecting our visual experiences, reflecting on what it is like to have them, our descriptions primarily – or perhaps solely – report on the objects and properties that those experiences are experiences of. In other words, few or no properties intrinsic to the experiences themselves are revealed to us, and we are only aware of their representational content.

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Vision and Visual Imagery

A post by Dominic Gregory.

One idea that pops up every now and again, in philosophical thinking about perception, is that the imagination plays a part in ordinary vision. Here is a natural starting-point for that idea: we often experience the things that we see as having properties that we don’t literally see to be instantiated.

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Desire, Imagination, and the Guise of the Good

A post by Uku Tooming.

There is a conception of desire, call it the Guise of the Good view (GG), according to which having a desire involves representing its content as good or valuable. For instance, when I want to eat ice cream, I treat the prospect of eating ice cream as good in some sense. I here identify the content of desire with its satisfaction condition and take the latter to be a state of affairs which would obtain when the desire were satisfied. GG can then be rephrased as a caim that having a desire involves representing its satisfaction as good. This view has a respectable philosophical ancestry, going back at least to Plato, and it still has its proponents today.

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Is imagining from the inside just what you imagined?

A post by Margherita Arcangeli.

A key notion in many discussions on imagination is that of imagining something “from the inside”. Wollheim (1974) underlined that such a notion is so abused in philosophy, that one might not trust it. Although imagining from the inside can be intuitively interpreted as imagining involving a “point of view” or perspective within the imaginative scene, this notion deserves much more attention, since it can yield different and more technical meanings. The main goal of this post is precisely to rehabilitate this notion by disentangling three meanings which, I think, often overlap, and are even confused in philosophical debates.

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Constructive Imagination

A post by Sofia Ortiz-Hinojosa.

Anne T. King is an interior designer. She has a variety of specialized skills and kinds of knowledge which make her good at her job. She has knowledge of the prices and various features of building materials, home decor, and furniture. She is familiar with the locations of good shops for home goods. She has the contact information of reliable craftsmen. Anne also possesses an aesthetic sense for color and composition, business acumen, people skills, and, most importantly, the capacity we call a “good imagination”.

What does her “good imagination” consist in?

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Book Symposium: Langkau Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary From Julia Langkau: Extreme Intentionalism and Testimony-In-Fiction

In the last part of chapter 3, Stock applies her view, extreme intentionalism (the thesis that fictional content is determined by the author’s intentions), to the question of how true beliefs we acquire through reading fiction can be justified.

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Book Symposium: Engisch Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Patrik Engisch: If Only Imagine...

The focus of my commentary is Stock’s account of the nature of fiction, as developed in Chapter 5 of Only Imagine. To begin with, I take Stock’s account as fitting with a popular line of thought in contemporary philosophy of fiction that claims that in order for one to competently engage with a fiction one should meet the normative demand, unique to fiction, that its content be imagined. I shall call this the Normative View (NV).

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Book Symposium: Arcangeli Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Margherita Arcangeli: Only Suppose

I am very happy to have had the chance to take a critical look at Kathleen Stock’s just-published book Only Imagine. During the Symposium I focused on the last chapter of the book, which touches on topics that are at the centre of my philosophical interests. In “Back to the Imagination”, Stock offers a new account of supposition. In my commentary I will consider how her account relates to other views about supposition.

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Book Symposium: Klauk Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Tobias Klauk: Stock on Fiction and Imagining

Kathleen Stock has written an engaging and thoroughly interesting book, which was a joy to read and to discuss. In this commentary, I shall concentrate upon chapter five on the notion of fiction.

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Book Symposium: Klenner Commentary and Response

This week at The Junkyard, we're hosting a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation, and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  See here for Kathleen's introduction.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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Commentary from Niels Klenner: Moderating Extreme Intentionalism

Kathleen Stock’s extreme intentionalism takes the authorial intention to be both necessary and sufficient for a proposition to be true in fiction. This is what makes her view extreme. Should we follow Stock in being extreme?

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Book Symposium: Introduction from Kathleen Stock

This week at The Junkyard, we host a symposium on Kathleen Stock's recent book:  Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation and Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017).  Today we begin with an introduction from Kathleen, followed by the first commentary and reply.  Additional commentaries and replies will run each day this week.

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In my book Only Imagine, I start with a fairly basic question, the answering of which, I argue, has many implications: for the nature of fiction, imagination, and more besides. This is: how can we best characterise the practice of interpreting what happens in the plot of a novel or story (or what is “fictionally true” in that work, as it’s sometimes called)?

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The Homogeneity of the Imagination

A post by Luke Roelofs.

In ‘The Heterogeneity of the Imagination’, Amy Kind argues that no single mental faculty can do all the work imagination has been assigned by philosophers. I can’t address every point Kind makes, but I’ll sketch a case for the homogeneity of the ‘imagination’ appealed to in the four contexts she focuses on.

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No introspection please!

A post by Bence Nanay.

What do philosophers do when they think about imagination? You may think they close their eyes, visualize an apple and then try to think hard about what they experience when they do so. Well, some (many?) philosophers of imagination do in fact do this at least to establish some of their premises. The aim of this piece is to argue that they really should not!

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Implicit Imaginative Resistance?

A post by Eric Peterson.

Following Liao (2016), we can say that imaginative resistance is roughly a phenomenon where otherwise competent imaginers fail to comply with a request to imagine some proposition.  In the literature on imaginative resistance, philosophers tend to focus on particular propositions that are purported to be a cause of resistance. These can be referred to as “puzzling propositions”.  Examples of these puzzling propositions are the often cited “Giselda” (Walton 1994) or the last sentence of Weatherson’s (2004) “Death on a Freeway.”  In this short blog post, I want to explore a different kind of puzzling propositions—implied puzzling propositions.

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Truth in Fiction and Imaginative Resistance

A post by Kengo Miyazono.

Philosophical discussion of truth-in-fiction begins with the observation that what is true-in-fiction cannot simply be identified with what is explicitly stated in the fictional text. For example, being explicitly stated is not necessary for being true-in-fiction. It is not explicitly stated in the texts of Sherlock Holmes stories that Holmes livers nearer to Paddington Station than Waterloo Station, but it is true-in-Holmes. (What is explicitly stated is that Holmes lives in Baker Street.) In this post, however, I discuss another issue which is less frequently discussed; being explicitly stated in the text is not sufficient for being true-in-fiction. 

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Using Imagination to Empathize with Space Robots, Demons, and Other Weird Stuff

A post by Mike Stuart.

When I get mad at my smartphone because it freezes, or when I plead with my car because it won’t start, I’m treating a non-human object as if it had beliefs and goals. This is mostly harmless, but in science it can obscure the truth. For Aristotle, rocks fell down because they were trying to get to the centre of the universe, and flames reached up to rise above the air. It took more than a millennium to overturn this natural way of thinking. Similar sentiments can still be found in scientific practice towards everything from molecules to economies.

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The Scope of the Imagination

A Post by Samantha Matherne

How capacious a role does the imagination play in our lives?  Here’s one more restrictive answer: the imagination is exercised in a relatively narrow set of experiences, like visualization, make-believe, and some aesthetic experiences, like reading a novel or going to the theater.  It seems that what these experiences have in common is that they involve a sensory experience of something that is, in some sense, not real.  I say ‘in some sense’ because sometimes the object imagined is not real in the sense that it cannot possibly be real, e.g., when my niece pretends she is riding a unicorn.  At other times, however, the object that we imagine is not per se impossible.  For example, when I imagine brunch with Stevie Nicks, although I am sadly not at brunch with her right now, were I so lucky, I could be.

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Imagination is a powerful tool: why is philosophy afraid of it? (A post republished from Aeon by Amy Kind)

Philosophers have a love-hate relationship with the imagination. René Descartes, for one, disparaged it as ‘more of a hindrance than a help’ in answering the most profound questions about the nature of existence. Trying to imagine one’s way towards metaphysical truth, he wrote in Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), is as foolish as falling asleep in the hope of obtaining a clearer picture of the world through dreams.

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Who Killed The Faculty?

A post by Nick Wiltsher.

Contemporary philosophers of mind tend to deprecate faculty psychology, by which I mean the tidy division of mental states into a small number of faculties, each typified by a certain power, and the description and explanation of aspects of the mental in terms of the expression and interaction of those powers. (Many such philosophers find the tidy division of mental states into a large number of modules, each typified by a certain function, and the explanation of aspects of the mental in terms of the interaction of those functions, much more edifying.) In some domains, faculty talk nonetheless enjoys some kind of afterlife. Most obviously, perception is often discussed as if some states share a certain essential capacity, and thus form a small and exclusive club. In other domains, however, the faculty is dead. When it comes to imagination, few philosophers seem keen, even implicitly, to suppose that the motley selection of acts commonly called “imaginative” are united as a kind by some common power. One might wonder what’s lost by abandoning this way of thinking, but here I just want to ask the ostensibly simpler question of who killed the imaginative faculty.

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