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The Explainability of ExperienceRealism and Subjectivity in Spinoza's Theory of the Human Mind$
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Ursula Renz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199350162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199350162.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

The Constitution of Mental Content in the imaginatio

The Constitution of Mental Content in the imaginatio

Chapter:
(p.183) 12 The Constitution of Mental Content in the imaginatio
Source:
The Explainability of Experience
Author(s):

Ursula Renz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199350162.003.0014

This chapter addresses Spinoza’s concept of the imagination. It first shows that, given the usage of the term imaginatio in the Ethics, Spinoza’s understanding departs from tradition by comprising both perceptions and fantasies under one single concept. Consistently, Spinoza’s treatment of the process referred to as imaginari accounts for both the realist underpinning of any cognition and the tendency of human thought to represent the external world in a distorted manner. Finally, it is argued that Spinoza’s views on the imagination are such as to enable cultural, historical, or—more generally—semantic influences to play a considerable role in the determination of our actual mental content. In sum, the chapter shows how Spinoza’s treatment of the cognitive processing of imaginative ideas contributes to making his realist rationalism a plausible option as it allows for genetic reconstructions of mental contents in great detail.

Keywords:   imagination, perception, memory, semantics, mental content, cognitive psychology

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