Chapter

The Imagination (2)

Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199256721.003.0013
The Imagination (2)

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If imaginings are merely ‘quasi’ a cognitive prototype, what sense of ‘quasi’ is involved? To answer this question, and complete the analysis of the concept, a piecemeal constituting of the concept is undertaken. We begin with a cognitive prototype. Then imaginings are a second‐order function of that prototype. This shows first in the fact that imaginings are intentionally directed to the imagined object rather than to the prototype, secondly in that imaginings find identity not under the concept ‘imagining’ but under that of (say) ‘visual imagining’. This has the implication that, in the case of perceptual imaginings, which are constitutively imaginings, imagining‐of is nothing but a second‐order being: it is pure ‘as if’it is its prototype. Thus, imagining is a second‐order concept that applies, sometimes essentially, sometimes inessentially, to its instances. And it is unique in the mind in its radical analysability in terms of its prototype.

Keywords: analysability; as if; cognitive prototype; imagination; imagining; intentionalty

Chapter.  4306 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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