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Consciousness and the World$
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Brian O'Shaughnessy

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256723

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199256721.001.0001

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The Imagination (2)

The Imagination (2)

(p.362) 12 The Imagination (2)
Consciousness and the World

Brian O'Shaughnessy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

If imaginings are merely ‘quasi’ a cognitive prototype, what sense of ‘quasi’ is involved? To answer this question, and complete the analysis of the concept, a piecemeal constituting of the concept is undertaken. We begin with a cognitive prototype. Then imaginings are a second‐order function of that prototype. This shows first in the fact that imaginings are intentionally directed to the imagined object rather than to the prototype, secondly in that imaginings find identity not under the concept ‘imagining’ but under that of (say) ‘visual imagining’. This has the implication that, in the case of perceptual imaginings, which are constitutively imaginings, imagining‐of is nothing but a second‐order being: it is pure ‘as if’it is its prototype. Thus, imagining is a second‐order concept that applies, sometimes essentially, sometimes inessentially, to its instances. And it is unique in the mind in its radical analysability in terms of its prototype.

Keywords:   analysability, as if, cognitive prototype, imagination, imagining, intentionalty

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