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Imagination and experience

Murphy, Dominic Paul; (1994) Imagination and experience. Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the nature of the connection between perceptual experience and states of experiential imagination, the latter being states which bear an intuitive phenomenal resemblance to perceptual states. The thesis states that experiential imagination, like perception, represents the external world as being some way. The area of imagination which is at issue is circumscribed. After this, the nature of the link between imagination and experience is examined. I turn to those features of experiential imagination which appear to make it a blend of thought and sensation. Purported criteria marking these two aspects of experiential imagination are examined. One of the purported criteria of thoughthood is intentionality, and the thesis draws a distinction between an imaginative state's being "of something, and its being "as of something. It is claimed that the latter involves both a sensory core and a descriptive "label" which fixes the singular content of a given type-image. Understanding the link between imagination and experience is a matter of correctly understanding this sensory core. A substantive position on this issue is developed on the basis of Peacocke's work; this position is criticised as making experiential imagination a matter of imagining a state of mind. Another approach sees the instantiation of sensory qualities as that which makes imagination experiential; this too is rejected as threatening to collapse the distinction between experience and imagination altogether. It is finally suggested that a fruitful approach to locating the relevant phenomenal similarity would seek it at the level of nonconceptual content.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: Imagination and experience
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Experience; Imagination
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105969
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