‘Visualising as Imagining Seeing’ (2011)

Proceedings of the Congress of the German Society for Philosophy, vol. 22, 2011, pp. 1-16.

Published Version | Final Draft | Final Draft

(This is a shortened version of my paper in Philosophical Explorations.)


In this paper, I would like to put forward the claim that, at least in some central cases, visualising consists literally in imagining seeing. The first section of my paper is concerned with a defence of the specific argument for this claim that M. G. F. Martin presents in his paper The Transparency of Experience (Martin 2002). This argument has been often misunderstood (or ignored), and it is worthwhile to discuss it in detail and to illustrate what its precise nature is and why I take it to be sound. In the second section, I present a second and independent argument for the claim that visualising is imagining seeing, which is not to be found in Martin’s writings, despite some crucial similarities with his own argument ‒ notably in the focus on the subjective aspects of visual experience. The last section deals with a particular objection to the idea that imagining takes perception as its direct object and says a bit more about how best to understand this claim.