Imagination and Perception

Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI:
Imagination and Perception

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The aim is to distinguish imagining‐of from thought‐of a phenomenal object, and ultimately to differentially distinguish perception‐of a phenomenal object from these close experiential neighbours. Now there is a special negation of imagination, in that imaginings are of necessity not the prototype. This joins the identity‐heading as a criterion for distinguishing the above three varieties of experience. Thus, perception takes direct objects and discovers its identity autonomously under ‘perceive’, but takes no negative objects and no negative propositional objects. The perceptual imagination takes direct objects, finds its identity non‐autonomously under ‘imagine‐of perceiving’, and takes no negative objects, while the propositional imagination takes both positive and negative propositional objects. Then whereas thought probably takes no direct objects, if it could do so such an event would autonomously discover its identity under ‘thought‐of’, and in any case thought takes both positive and negative propositional objects. Finally, we can add to this list the perceptual discovery‐experience, already demarcated in Ch. 10. This differentially demarcates perception.

Keywords: imagination; imagining; object; object of perception; perception; perceptual object; propositional; thought

Chapter.  3922 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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