Sensory Imagining and Feeling
Robert Hopkins (New York University)

part of: Hägerström Lectures 2023: Sensory Imagining
March 31, 2023, 1:15pm - 3:15pm
Department of Philosophy , Uppsala Universitet

The Humanities Theatre (Eng22-0008)
Humanistiska Teatern, Thunbergsvägen 3H

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Uppsala University

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Does imagining furnish objects for emotion and other feelings? Although a positive answer can seem little more than common sense, I am sceptical. Many affective states are such that what rationalizes them and what they motivate integrate, in such a way as to require that their objects be given as their causes. Since imagined objects are never given as causes of how we really feel, in these cases real feelings cannot be directed at imagined things. Instead, I propose, what we take to be real feelings are themselves often merely imagined. I say what it is to imagine a feeling, identifying here too structures analogous to those described in lecture 1. I use that account to explain why, if feeling is only imagined, we undergo certain bodily and other changes that are only too real. Finally, I consider how far the resulting view can accommodate the distinctive motivational profile of feeling that is merely imagined, as opposed to really felt.

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