Some theorists think that mental images are like actual images, in that they are extended in a 4 dimensional space-time (though the “space” component is an inner space in the case of mental imagery). Others think mental images can be reduced to descriptive contents employing nonpictorial representations (i.e., purely conceptual content). Making reference to relevant sources from Module 8, describe this debate and take a position on it. Which side of the debate do you find most convincing and why?
The mental phenomenon of interest in the “imagery debate” (Kosslyn, Thompson, & Ganis, 2006, p. 8) is a familiar one. When I imagine throwing a ball for my dogs to chase and catch, or when I imagine some aspects of a U-turn on my motorcycle, as Dennett (2002) puts it, I “seem to be making pictures” (p. 189, original emphasis) of a ball and my dogs in my head; or, to draw on other sensory-modality imagining, I seem to be making in my head the feel of sharply leaning my motorcycle at low speed. But, when I imagine the arc of the ball beyond my dogs to consider how I must throw the ball, does that mental image involve “inspecting a picture-like object” (Pylyshyn, 2002, p. 157)? And is the reasoning I employ through or with that mental image different in kind from “reasoning in general” (p. 157)?
The opposing sides of the imagery debate have opposing answers to those questions. One side, hereafter labeled ‘picture theorists’, here represented by Kosslyn et al. (2006), answer—with qualifications—in the affirmative: Yes, mental images involve inspecting a picture-like object, and, yes, reasoning involving mental...
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