Sartre on Mental Imagery

in Sartre Studies International
Noel N. Sauer Boston College

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Sartre’s theory of mental imagery is often criticized for succumbing to the very “illusion of immanence” that he decries in both The Imagination and The Imaginary. I challenge Edward S. Casey’s defense of this criticism in light of Cam Clayton’s recent effort to do the same. Clayton tries to meet Casey’s arguments by focusing on what he, Clayton, believes to be Sartre’s development of the role and ontological status of the “psychical analogon” in his theory of mental imagery. I argue against Clayton’s account of the psychical analogon, showing how both he and Casey miss what for Sartre is its essential role and positive status as bodily movement. Thus Sartre adequately provides for the materiality, or positivity, of the psychical analogon, and a closer look at Sartre’s arguments about bodily movement and mental imagery—not Clayton’s interpretation—meets Casey’s objections and dispels Sartre’s theory of the alleged illusion.

Contributor Notes

Noel N. Sauer received his MA in Philosophy from Boston College.

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Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture


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