Imagination, Empathy, and Moral Deliberation: The Case of Imaginative Resistence

Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):156-180 (2011)
This essay develops a new account of the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. Imaginative resistance is best conceived of as a limited phenomenon. It occurs when we try to engage imaginatively with different moral worlds that are insufficiently articulated so that they do not allow us either to quarantine our imaginative engagement from our normal moral attitudes or to agree with the expressed moral judgment from the perspective of moral deliberation. Imaginative resistance thus reveals the central epistemic importance that empathy plays for our understanding of rational agents in a context where we try to make sense of the moral appropriateness of their reasons for acting. Reflecting on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance allows us to recognize important features of the relationship between imaginative perspective taking and ordinary moral deliberation.
Keywords empathy
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DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00065.x
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