This chapter explores the sensorimotor dimension and experiential character of the cognitive power of phantasia in Aristotle's psychology. The author puts forward two main claims. The first is that phantasia may be understood as a capacity for experiential (re)-enactment and phantasmata, qua instances of actualization of the power of phantasia, as (phenomenally) off-line sensory experiences that (physically) consist in patterns of bodily activation. More specifically, the author argues that insofar as they are bodily changes, phantasmata are sensorimotor instructions for re-enacting past experiences (e.g., when we remember) or enacting possible, fictitious or oneiric ones (e.g., in anticipation, imagination, and dreams). Experiencing a phantasma can therefore be described as enacting given patterns of motor behaviour and receiving the corresponding sensory feedback. The second claim is that, when interpreting Aristotle's phantasmata, any distinction between format and content falls victim to the problem of naturalizing content. One way to get round the obstacle, the authors suggests, is to give up the idea of phantasmata as content-bearing structures and understand them as dispositional embodied procedures that, when actualized, are tinged with phenomenality.

The realms of fantasy: Aristotle on the phenomenality of mental imagery.

P. Campeggiani
2024

Abstract

This chapter explores the sensorimotor dimension and experiential character of the cognitive power of phantasia in Aristotle's psychology. The author puts forward two main claims. The first is that phantasia may be understood as a capacity for experiential (re)-enactment and phantasmata, qua instances of actualization of the power of phantasia, as (phenomenally) off-line sensory experiences that (physically) consist in patterns of bodily activation. More specifically, the author argues that insofar as they are bodily changes, phantasmata are sensorimotor instructions for re-enacting past experiences (e.g., when we remember) or enacting possible, fictitious or oneiric ones (e.g., in anticipation, imagination, and dreams). Experiencing a phantasma can therefore be described as enacting given patterns of motor behaviour and receiving the corresponding sensory feedback. The second claim is that, when interpreting Aristotle's phantasmata, any distinction between format and content falls victim to the problem of naturalizing content. One way to get round the obstacle, the authors suggests, is to give up the idea of phantasmata as content-bearing structures and understand them as dispositional embodied procedures that, when actualized, are tinged with phenomenality.
2024
Forms of Thought: The Imagination of the Mind in Classical Athens
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P. Campeggiani
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/894733
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