Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ Book Symposium: Explaining Imagination — Précis

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I'm not sure how deeply I'll be able to pore into what promised to be a fascinating exploration, but I'm sure some readers will be interested. Even the first few paragraphs of this précis are enough the roil the blood (quoting Fred Dretske, for example, saying "if you can't make one, you don't know how it works"). The context is a study of Peter Langland-Hassan's open access book Explaining Imagination (337 page PDF). There is a rich philosophical literature on mental imagery, mental representation and imagination to draw upon (I was steeped in some of it in the 1980s, including Block, Kosslyn, Pylyshyn, and more). Is imagination the sort of thing we think it is? Could we create an AI with an imagination? Is it reducible to other things (sentences? pictures?). We need a recipe, says Langland-Hassan, but "the cake recipes still all list cake as an ingredient." See also this commentary by Margherita Arcangelia.

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