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If sensory imagining is not a double content, what is it?

Publication date2020

We know, since Descartes (1641), that exercises of sensory imagining (S-imagining) are not purely imagistic: they possess multiple aspects. This much is agreed upon among philosophers but, when the question of the intentionality of S-imaginings arises, agreement seems to unravel. According to the Two Content View (TCV), S-imagining “has two kinds of content, qualitative content and assigned content” (Kung, 2010:632) – e.g., my image of an apple is about both (i) shapes and colors and (ii) about the fact that it is an apple, rather than a perfect imitation thereof. Advocates of TCV claim that the imagistic content does represent something, but it is not enough to individuate the imagining of an A rather than a B (Kung, 2010; Langland-Hassan, 2015; Martin, 2002; Noordhof, 2002; Peacocke, 1985; Tooming, 2018; White, 1990). Some, however, have expressed skepticism about TCV. As Sartre claims, “despite some prejudices […] when I produce in myself the image of Pierre, it is Pierre who is the object of my current consciousness.” (1940/2010:4) The intentional object of our S-imaginings is exhausted by a single content treated in a specific way (Currie & Ravenscroft, 2002; Goldman, 2006; Hutto, 2015; Mulligan, 1999; Soteriou, 2013; Stock, n.d.; Wiltsher, 2016,2019). In the following, (1) I sketch one of the most efficient pleas for the TCV by Peter Langland-Hassan, (2) I give two reasons to doubt the decisiveness of his arguments, and (3) suggest that S-imagining can be captured by the attitude/content distinction.

  • Imagination
  • Sensory imagination
  • Imagery
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Mode/content distinction
  • Imaginative content
  • Correctness conditions of mental states
  • Edmound Husserl
  • Christopher Peacocke
NoteBlog post (posted April 22, 2020)
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
HUMBERT-DROZ, Steve. If sensory imagining is not a double content, what is it? In: The Junkyard, a scholarly blog devoted to the study of imagination, 2020, p. 8.
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Article (Accepted version)
  • PID : unige:135145

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