Perspectival Imagination in Perception and Thought


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This project is about our capacity to adopt “perspectives” in imagination, focusing on four distinct cases: perception, metaphor, fiction, and the constitution of self. A perspective alters how we think, rather than what we think about, by imposing an intuitive, holistic structure on a complex set of facts. Perspectives are often described metaphorically, in terms of “seeing something in a new light.” These shifts in perspective can make a significant practical difference to what we can do with information we already possess. Drawing on previously published work and discussions by philosophers, cognitive scientists, and linguists, this study articulates a more literal, detailed, and empirically grounded account of perspectives in human cognition.