Imaginative Contagion

Tamar Szabó Gendler

in Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589760
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595486 | DOI:
Imaginative Contagion

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This chapter presents and discusses a number of cases of imaginative contagion: cases where merely imagining or pretending P has effects that we would expect only believing or perceiving P to have. The examples range from cases involving visual imagination—where merely imagining a figure of a certain size and shape may produce a corresponding afterimage—to cases involving the activation of social categories—where merely imagining being in the presence of others may instigate corresponding behavioral tendencies. Other cases discussed involve motor imagery and automaticity. The chapter suggests that imaginative contagion arises because certain features of our mental architecture are source‐indifferent, in the sense that they process internally and externally generated content in similar ways—even when the content in question is explicitly “marked” as reality‐insensitive.

Keywords: imagination; belief; perception; contagion; visual imagery; motor imagery; automaticity; mental architecture; reality‐sensitivity

Chapter.  8242 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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