“Mental Strength: The Nature of Experience Intensity”
Abstract: Pains can be strong or weak, mental imagery can be more or less vivid, perceptual experiences can be more or less striking, emotions can be more or less intense. But, is there anything in common between the degrees of intensity of these otherwise distinct experiences? Prima facie, the strength of a migraine and the vividness of a mental image of the Eiffel Tower may seem completely unrelated, incommensurable even. Contrary to this intuition, I argue that the degrees of intensity of these otherwise unrelated experiences have something in common: their mental strength. I develop the notion of mental strength, discuss some of its most relevant effects in our conscious life, and distinguish it from related but ultimately distinct phenomena such as attention and representations of intensity. Finally, I argue that considering mental strength in our theorizing can help us advance further the science of consciousness.
A reception will follow in Wilson 212.
For inquiries contact Sue McKinney.