Philosophical Papers 48 (3):437-469 (2019)

Nick Wiltsher
Uppsala University
Three thoughts strongly influence recent work on sensory imagination, often without explicit articulation. The image thought says that all mental states involving a mental image are imaginative. The attitude thought says that, if there is a distinctive imaginative attitude, it is a single, monolithic attitude. The function thought says that the functions of sensory imagination are identical or akin to functions of other mental states such as judgment or belief. Taken together, these thoughts create a theoretical context within which eliminativism appears attractive. Eliminativism is the idea that we needn’t refer to a distinctive attitude in order to characterize sensory imagination: the attitudes involved in other states provide all the resources we need. Peter Langland-Hassan’s account of sensory imagination provides an example of such eliminativism. Via close examination of this account, I make manifest the three thoughts and their collective tendency to support eliminativism. I argue that all three are dubious, and that we should reject eliminativism; we need a distinctive imaginative attitude if we are to adequately explicate sensory imagination.
Keywords imagination  mental imagery  sensory imagination
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/05568641.2018.1531725
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
The Skeptic and the Dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1922 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
Alief and Belief.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.

View all 44 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Imagination as a Process.Nick Wiltsher - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Is Radically Enactive Imagination Really Contentless?Marco Facchin - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-17.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Imagination Box.Shen-yi Liao & Tyler Doggett - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (5):259-275.
Knowledge by Imagination - How Imaginative Experience Can Ground Knowledge.Fabiab Dorsch - forthcoming - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
Imaginative Content, Design-Assumptions and Immersion.Alon Chasid - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):259-272.
Attitude Reports: Do You Mind the Gap?Berit Brogaard - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (1):93-118.
Imaginative Resistance Without Conflict.Anna Mahtani - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (3):415-429.
The Puzzle of Imaginative Desire.Amy Kind - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):421-439.
A Model of Dual Attitudes.Timothy D. Wilson, Samuel Lindsey & Tonya Y. Schooler - 2000 - Psychological Review 107 (1):101-126.
Imaginative Minds.Ilona Roth (ed.) - 2007 - Oup/British Academy.
On the Study of Imaginative Resistance.Andrea Sauchelli - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (2):164-178.
Using and Understanding.Mark Philip Mccullagh - 1997 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Imaginative Resistance and Conversational Implicature.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):586-600.


Added to PP index

Total views
63 ( #181,224 of 2,505,782 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #209,579 of 2,505,782 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes