2004
Volume 106, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

What is the nature of the mental image, and which role does mental imagery play in perception? According to David Hume and Immanuel Kant, the capacity to form images lends a constitutive contribution to our perception of the world. Both philosophers portray the imagination as a unifying power that connects perceptions of different objects of the same kind, and that connects different perceptions of the same object. I shall call this view the . Since the beginning of the 20th century the continuity thesis is heavily under attack. Jean-Paul Sartre and Ludwig Wittgenstein emphasize the conceptual and phenomenological distinction between perception and mental imagery. These philosophers are sceptical about the important psychological and epistemological role that is traditionally attributed to imagery. The central target of critique against the continuity thesis is primarily the Humean view that mental images, however complex, can be traced back to pictures or ‘copies’ of sense impressions. It will be argued that the sceptics about mental imagery, even though they justifiably attack pictorialism, have no grounds to dismiss the continuity thesis. Then I shall discuss the reassessment of the mental image with the rise of cognitive science since the 1970s, and I shall argue that the continuity thesis is supported by the so-called ‘enactive’ theory of mental imagery.

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2014-09-21
2021-11-28
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): imagination; mental imagery; perception
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