Phenomenology of Imaginal Space

Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 39)


The aim of this paper is to investigate the relation between perceptual and imaginal space. I argue that, notwithstanding the differences between acts of imagining and acts of perceiving, common structures in the spatial appearance of perceived things, physical images, and imagined or phantasized objects should be recognized. In the first section, some controversial issues concerning the spatiality of images in the so-called mental imagery debate are introduced. One of the most problematic aspects in this debate is the ambiguity in the use of the concept of ‘space’ which does not allow us to distinguish between spatial form and existence in space. The distinction between spatial form and existence in space will be further discussed in the second section by means of a reassessment of the spatiality of perceptual things, considered independently of their material features. The third and final section is devoted to the inquiry into imaginal space. It focuses on both the spatiality of physical images and the spatiality of phantasized objects, and considers both in relation to perceptual space. It is argued that, with relevant variations, the essential features characterizing the spatiality of purely perceptual objects (considered independently from their materiality) also characterize the spatiality of images and phantasized objects. This will eventually provide a phenomenologically grounded argument supporting the ideality of space, understood as ‘intuitive space of possibilities’.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Philosophie, Residenz—SüdflügelWürzburgGermany

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