Imagine an Imageless Imagination
A trend in contemporary discussion pertaining to the imagination has attempted to theoretically conceptualise a type of qualia-free imagination, commonly referred to as propositional imagination. This paper argues that an act of imagination cannot be an act of imagination without both cognitive and sensory phenomenology. Both sensory and cognitive phenomenology play an important role in “fixing” the content of imaginative thoughts. Sensory phenomenology is what distinguishes imagination as an act of imagination; it is what sets imagination apart from other attitudinal mental states, such as the attitudinal mental state of supposing. Cognitive phenomenology is both proprietary and individuative to conscious thoughts, including imaginings. Each imagining takes as part of its content a distinctive kind of cognitive phenomenology which allows us to identify, differentiate and understand the particular content of a given imagining. I conclude that a type of qualia-free imagination is not, in fact, conceivable – theoretically or otherwise. Propositional imagination has phenomenology.
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