PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Group

Speaker: Adrian Alsmith (KCL)

Title: Unmistaken: imaginative perception and illusion

Abstract: In imaginative perception, objects of perception are experienced in accordance with what one imagines at the time. Through constrained mental imagery we can experience properties of an object that are beyond our direct perceptual contact, and through understanding a perceived object's relation to a fiction we can experience it as something it is not. In this talk, I will argue that many cases which are often described as illusory are more perspicuously described as forms of imaginative perception. I consider three kinds of case: illusory body sensations in distal touch, multisensory body illusions, and plausibility illusions in virtual reality. I argue that these cases can be distinguished from cases in which we are straightforwardly mistaken, to the extent that they involve either constrained mental imagery, richer forms of imagination structured by understanding fictional context, or both. My hope is that by removing the blanket term 'illusion' from our description of such cases, we can better see the underlying complex of cognitive processes they involve.

Further information

We are a group of researchers from diverse backgrounds in the above-mentioned groups (and beyond) who aim to gain an interdisciplinary yet deep understanding of the threads that bind the human mind and the world. In particular, this seminar series focuses on the nature of cognition, metacognition and social cognition. We’ll be tackling questions such as, what does it mean to think? What does it mean to think about thinking? And, what does it mean to think about one’s own thinking versus thinking about the thinking of other people? Please come along!

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Contact details

Tillmann Vierkant

Oct 05 2022 -

PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Group

2022-10-05: Unmistaken: imaginative perception and illusion

Lecture Theatre C, 40 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JX