The Imagined Seeing Thesis

George M. Wilson

in Seeing Fictions in Film

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594894
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731440 | DOI:
The Imagined Seeing Thesis

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In this chapter, there is a discussion of some fundamental questions about the nature of our perceptual/imaginative relationship to the fictions depicted in movies. First, it is argued that viewers do imagine seeing fictions in movies. The argument turns on the claim that, although we regularly speak and think of ourselves as “seeing” movie fictions, the propositions that we thereby express cannot be literally true. Although this skeptical claim is widely accepted in the literature, it is quite counterintuitive, and it needs to be argued for carefully. Such an argument is given. Moreover, it is surely the case that viewers are often somehow saying something true when they report that they are seeing fictions (e.g., Tarzan) in some shot or sequence. It is contended here that such speakers are understood to be asserting that, in viewing the shot or sequence, they imagine seeing Tarzan. It is explained how it is possible to be speaking truly on such occasions even though the words one uses literally express falsehoods. Second, the chapter offers a substantial account of the concept of “imagine seeing” favored by the author.

Keywords: imagined seeing; fictional showing; Colin McGinn; fictional character; pragmatic enrichment; impression “as if,” Gregory Currie; Noël Carroll

Chapter.  12827 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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