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[Xmca-l] Re: Imagination



Hi Rod!

You are absolutely right that there is a difference between seeing things and seeing pictures of things. Just consider seeing a tree and seeing a photo of a tree. The difference is that there is a world on one hand and a frame on the other. Situating the object in the world is a part of seeing it, yes, yes, yes! But then... we are seeing the framed tree in the world, too. Perhaps this offers a clue on "cultural seeing" as well, since framing is socioculturally manifested.

What I had hoped to capture in what I'd said about metaphor arising from perception, and subsequently metaphor leading to imagination is that the _impressions_ are the same, but the processes of seeing are a little different. Still, the acts of seeing as we described are not completely separate processes. In other words: that I have a "seeing engine" for looking at pictures and that I have a different seeing engine for looking at the world, and still a different seeing engine for looking at duck-rabbits! Perhaps the difference has more to do with a kind of resolution, that there are deeper impressions made from embodied seeing than seeing duck-rabbits.

The story of helping the blind to see with the device you described was a short feature at Radiolab last month, a link Mike had posted. The title if the entire was "Translation," which is likely one of the BEST shows I've heard, by they way, as ears go to hear. But yes, perception requires bodies. What I liked about what you posted is that it wasn't until the camera was about where the eyes were that the virtual seeing manifested for the subject. I wonder if that is an important feature for the brain's ability to field the act of seeing, that it is expecting the eyes to be where eyes typically go in a human, where eyes evolved to be.

I also did not intend to exclude the feeling or affective aspects of imagining either. The emotional content of imagination is one aspect in the Strawson paper that was absent. Poignancy is integral, though perhaps to differing volumes. I don't know how much we imagine things that we don't care about. 

Moreover, I do not know whether Kant explored affect, but it wouldn't surprise me if Hume didn't. Gee whiz, what would a book on affect be like written by Hume, anyway? Imagine that. Actually, in a Humian (?) act, I just walked over to my philosophy encyclopedia to see if he had written anything on affect. Ends up he wrote a treatise on his theory on the passions, which in the end he grew to doubt. So no surprises there! Ha!

Wittgenstein having been on the battlefield and having taught children didn't neglect to address affect in his work: When I read him, I see that it is there; it is embedded in meaning. I recognize it also in his puzzled writer's voice, as a subject investigating the world. He doesn't leave himself out. 

It's my act of enjoyment to share these different philosopher's points of view, imagining readers of this thread also enjoying, as I am now.

Kind regards,

Annalisa