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Imaginative Minds$
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Ilona Roth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264195

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264195.001.0001

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A Module for Metaphor? The Site of Imagination in the Architecture of the Mind

A Module for Metaphor? The Site of Imagination in the Architecture of the Mind

(p.259) 12 A Module for Metaphor? The Site of Imagination in the Architecture of the Mind
Imaginative Minds


British Academy

Contemporary psychology claims an influential position that suggests that the mind is made-up of constellations of domain-specific, specialized computational mechanisms. Controversy remains on how integrative cognitive processes such as imagination fit into this suggested architecture of mind. This chapter considers some of the three possible conceptualizations of imagination. The first conceptualization purports imagination as an operation of the domain-general central process in a Fodorian mind. The second suggests imagination is an operation of a specialized module in a massively modular mind, and the third conceptualization asserts imagination as a product of low binding selectivity in Clark Barrett’s ‘cogzyme’ mind. Of the three conceptualizations, the last one is the most promising, as the key to the imagination seems to be the mapping of meaningful representations between dissimilar cognitive domains. Imagination is thus a consequence of the incomplete insulation between parallel specialized processes. Such de-insulation initiates novelty and innovation but it also allows possible delusional beliefs and psychotic illnesses. Like evolutionary development, imagination has benefits and costs as well.

Keywords:   computational mechanisms, integrative cognitive processes, architecture of mind, imagination, Fodorian mind, low binding selectivity, cogzyme mind, cognitive domains

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