Friday, February 4, 2011


The 'animafact' (a coining of mine) would be the report received by the cognitive faculty, which follows the phantasia, the 'impressions' or sense-information received, but which precedes the cognition (the assented-to perception or katalepsis). Another word for it would be 'perception', but only in the indefinite sense, as when one hedges by saying, "Well, it was my perception that ..." and then goes on to explain your impression of something without insisting that it is the unarguable truth.

But isn't it already just a quality of the phantasia, a later stage of it? For my part, it is not, but an important separate stage, one often possessing a different quality. It is, after all, not the initial phantasia, but having been manipulated into a bundle, a presentation, a stage-play or fiction which appears to reflect the deeper reality of a thing; it is a sort of underdeveloped phantastikon - a fantasy or dream - linked to the sense evidence yet not identical with it. It is the bundle, formed and identified, that is presented to the ruling faculty for assent. It is, as we would say, your 'first impression', a coherent assemblage of 'facts', yet one that is not yet validated.

Why even add another term, another hair-splitting way-station, to the Stoic chain of perception? Because there are times when it is useful for an individual to differentiate between the raw data of the phantasia, the sense-information, and the assembled package thereof that is submitted for assent to the ruling faculty as ostensible truth. It is where sense-data and 'first movements' may still be intertwined but not yet assented to. And to apprehend and unmask 'first movements' which are automatic false assents is a major goal of thinking rationally.