Jan 2016 - Jul 2016
University of British Columbia
Christopher Mole is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where he also teaches in the programme in Cognitive Systems. He is the author of Attention is Cognitive Unison: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology (OUP, 2009), and of The Unexplained Intellect: Complexity, Time, and the Metaphysics of Embodied Thought (Routledge, 2016). His work is mainly concerned with philosophical questions that emerge in the course of our attempts to study the mind scientifically.
Function and Malfunctions of the Imagination
The imagination plays a role in lots of normal and abnormal mental phenomena. It has a role in practical reasoning; in episodic memory; and in creative problem solving. Each of these phenomena has, at one time or another, been thought of as something that distinguishes human cognition from the cognition of non-human animals. Each has been researched extensively over the last twenty years or so. The resulting lines of research have met with some success. They have, however, been largely independent of one another.
My research attempts to build a philosophical theory of the relationship between imagination and the will. To do so, it builds on the foundations that have been provided by psychological and psychiatric research into the role of the imagination in autism, in schizophrenia, and in post-traumatic stress. The ultimate goal of this project is to unify these several lines of research, by giving a general theory of the imagination’s role in enabling us to take deliberate control of our own mental lives.