Hume on the Imagination

Fabian Dorsch
University of Fribourg, Switzerland | fabian.dorsch@unifr.ch

Received: 20-January-2017 | Accepted: 22-March-2017 | Published: 31-December-2018
Disputatio [Dec. 2018], Vol. 7, No. 8, a008 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.2551858
Article | [EN] | Full Text | Statistics | Copyright Notice [es] | Vol. 7 No. 8

How to cite this article:
Dorsch, Fabian (2018). «Hume on the Imagination?». Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 7, no. 8: a008.


Abstract | This article overviews Hume’s thoughts on the nature and the role of imagining, with an almost exclusive focus on the first book of his Treatise of Human Nature. Over the course of this text, Hume draws and discusses three important distinctions among our conscious mental episodes (or what he calls ‘perceptions’): (i) between impressions (including perceptual experiences) and ideas (including recollections, imaginings and occurrent beliefs); (ii) between ideas of the memory and ideas of the imagination; and (iii), among the ideas of the imagination, between ideas of the judgement (i.e. occurrent beliefs) and ideas of the fancy (i.e. imaginings). I discuss each distinction in turn, also in connection to contemporary views on imagining. In addition, I briefly consider Hume’s views on the imagination as a faculty aimed at the production of ideas, as well as on the role that imagining plays in the wider context of our mental lives, notably in the acquisition of modal knowledge and in the comprehension of stories and opinions that we take to be false or fictional.
Keywords |
 Fiction · Belief · Perception · Memory · Modal Epistemology · Empiricism · Disjunctivism.

Sobre la imaginación en Hume

Resumen | Este artículo revisa el pensamiento de Hume sobre la naturaleza y el papel del imaginar, poniendo el foco de atención casi exclusivamente en el primer libro de su Tratado de la naturaleza humana. A lo largo de este texto, Hume establece y discute tres distinciones importantes en nuestros episodios mentales conscientes (o lo que él llama «percepciones»): (i) entre impresiones (incluyendo experiencias perceptuales) e ideas (incluyendo recuerdos, imaginaciones y creencias ocurrentes); (ii) entre ideas de la memoria e ideas de la imaginación; y (iii) en cuanto las ideas de la imaginación, entre ideas del juicio (i.e. creencias ocurrentes) e ideas de la fantasía (i.e. imaginaciones). Yo discuto una a una cada una de estas ideas, también con relación a los puntos de vista contemporáneas sobre el imaginar. Toco además brevemente los puntos de vista de Hume sobre la imaginación como facultad dirigida a la generación de ideas, y sobre el papel que el imaginar tiene en un contexto más amplio de nuestras vidas mentales, notablemente en la obtención de conocimiento modal y en la comprensión de historias y opiniones que entendemos como falsas o ficticias.
Palabras Clave | Ficción · Creencia · Percepción · Memoria · Epistemología modal · Empiricismo · Disyuntivismo.


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