Structure and Functions of Fantasy

By Eric Klinger | Go to book overview
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The Composition of Fantasy Segments: Ideas, Images, and Responses

The traditional view of all inner experience is that it is composed of "ideas" or "images" in rapid succession. The meaning of "idea" has varied in the history of philosophy but in its broadest sense refers to any mental content. "Image" refers to those ideas or aspects of ideas which represent present or past perceptions. The present chapter sketches the evolution of the basic notions of "idea" and "image" in philosophy and psychology, and examines the nature and sufficiency of images as response components of fantasy. The following chapter then synthesizes a view of the composi- tion of fantasy segments by gleaning relevant theoretical elements from the empirical results and concepts of associationism, motor skill learning, and psycholinguistics.


The question addressed by the present chapter is as old as philosophy itself, for it forms a part of the broader question concerning the nature of consciousness and of mind. There are, however, various ways of asking the question, and, indeed, the progress of psychology and the philosophy of mind reflects at each stage the fruitfulness of their phrasing of this fundamental inquiry. The form of the question has influenced the modes of scientific endeavor, and has been transformed by scientific results and conceptualizations in turn.

Philosophical Cleavages . Throughout the history of recorded thought, questions concerning the nature of conscious ideational experience have been answered from two kinds of theoretical position. One kind posits a biological or experiential continuity between sensory experience and all forms of ideation, holding that besides some basic principle such as contiguity associationism, all ideational experience is derived directly and


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Structure and Functions of Fantasy


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