Recreative Minds develops a philosophical theory of imagination that draws upon the latest work in psychology. This theory illuminates the use of imagination in coming to terms with art, its role in enabling us to live as social beings, and the psychological consequences of disordered imagination. The authors offer a lucid exploration of a fascinating subject.
This paper surveys historical and recent philosophical discussions of the relations between imagination and creativity. In the first two sections, it covers two insufficiently studied analyses of the creative imagination, that of Kant and Sartre, respectively. The next section discusses imagination and its role in scientific discovery, with particular emphasis on the writings of Michael Polanyi, and on thought experiments and experimental design. The final section offers a brief discussion of some very recent work done on conceptual (...) relations between imagination and creativity. (shrink)
Imagination seems to play an epistemic role in philosophical and scientific thought experiments, mindreading, and ordinary practical deliberations insofar as it generates new knowledge of contingent facts about the world. However, it also seems that imagination is limited to creative generation of ideas. Sometimes we imagine fanciful ideas that depart freely from reality. The conjunction of these claims is what I call the puzzle of knowledge through imagination. This chapter aims to resolve this puzzle. I argue that (...)imagination has an epistemic role to play, but it is limited to the context of discovery. Imagination generates ideas, but other cognitive capacities must be employed to evaluate these ideas in order for them to count as knowledge. Consideration of the Simulation Theory's so-called "threat of collapse” provides further evidence that imagination does not, on its own, yield new knowledge of contingent facts, and it suggests a way to supplement imagination in order to get such knowledge. (shrink)
Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. But Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative studies of human reason in Metaphors We (...) Live By and The Body in the Mind, Johnson provides the tools for more practical, realistic, and constructive moral reflection. (shrink)
Modeling is central to scientific inquiry. It also depends heavily upon the imagination. In modeling, scientists seem to turn their attention away from the complexity of the real world to imagine a realm of perfect spheres, frictionless planes and perfect rational agents. Modeling poses many questions. What are models? How do they relate to the real world? Recently, a number of philosophers have addressed these questions by focusing on the role of the imagination in modeling. Some have also (...) drawn parallels between models and fiction. This chapter examines these approaches to scientific modeling and considers the challenges they face. (shrink)
It is intuitively plausible that art and imagination are intimately connected. This chapter explores attempts to explain that connection. We focus on three areas in which art and imagination might be linked: production, ontology, and appreciation. We examine views which treat imagination as a fundamental human faculty, and aim for comprehensive accounts of art and artistic practice: for example, those of Kant and Collingwood. We also discuss philosophers who argue that a specific kind of imagining may explain (...) some particular element of the artistic domain: for example, Walton's ideas about representational art, and Kivy’s about reading. (shrink)
Abstract: This entry elucidates causal and constitutive roles that various forms of imagining play in human action. Imagination influences more kinds of action than just pretend play. I distinguish different senses of the terms “imagining” and “imagination”: imagistic imagining, propositional imagining, and constructive imagining. Each variety of imagining makes its own characteristic contributions to action. Imagistic imagining can structure bodily movement. Propositional imagining interacts with desires to motivate pretend play and mimetic expressive action. And constructive imagination generates (...) representations of possibilities and actions on the basis of which we choose what to do. [Version archived here is a penultimate draft.]. (shrink)
"There are books—few and far between—which carefully, delightfully, and genuinely turn your head inside out. This is one of them. It ranges over some central issues in Western philosophy and begins the long overdue job of giving us a radically new account of meaning, rationality, and objectivity."—Yaakov Garb, _San Francisco Chronicle_.
Martin Heidegger defines the world as ‘the ever non-objective to which we are subject as long as the paths of birth and death . . . keep us transported into Being’. He writes that the world is ‘not the mere collection of the countable or uncountable, familiar and unfamiliar things that are at hand . . . The world worlds’. Being able to fully and richly express how the world worlds is the task of the artist, whose artwork is the (...) crystallization of this ‘worlding’. For Heidegger it is especially the poet who is attuned to this ‘worlding’, for the poet’s work is focussed on and happens within language itself. The poet is a ‘world-maker’, but this ‘worlding’ is not directed at creating a fictional world; rather it is aimed at revealing the world itself, drawing to the foreground the ‘ever non-objective’ nature of the world, the world happening and unfolding through and with us. This paper, using T.S. Eliot’s poetry, particularly Four Quartets as an example, will delve into how the language of the poet is able to articulate this seemingly invisible boundary between the everyday world and that same world revealed as a mysterious potential that ‘worlds’. The ‘religious imagination’ is central in how this transformation of reality, through poetic language, can manifest. Paul Ricoeur’s work on the poetic and religious dimensions of imagination, particularly the notion of ‘hope’ provides the theoretical underpinnings to explain this transformation. (shrink)
The "ethics of imagination" or the "ethics of fantasy" encompasses the various ways in which we can morally evaluate the imagination. This topic covers a range of different kinds of imagination: (1) fantasizing, (2) engaging with fictions, and (3) dreaming. The clearest, live ethical question concerns the moral value of taking pleasure in undeserved suffering, whether willfully imagined, represented, or dreamed. Much of this entry concerns general theoretical considerations and how they relate to the ethics of fantasy. (...) In the final sections I walk through the three types of imagination and point out some of the open questions concerning each type. (shrink)
My contribution seeks to unfold an ontology of the imagination based on the history of the productive imagination in its relation to common sense and recent developments of the notion of the social imaginary, while making use of ideas found in both Western and Japanese thinkers. Kyoto School philosopher Miki Kiyoshi shows a connection between the imagination he inherits from Kant and a certain form-formlessness dynamic he inherits from Nishida Kitarō’s notion of a self-forming formlessness. The source (...) of the imagination’s creativity is in that formlessness that lies both within the interior depths of the psyche and outside in the environing nature. Post-war Japanese philosopher Nakamura Yūjirō—taking off from Miki’s attempts to concretize Nishida’s theory of place in terms of the imagination—in turn points to a connection between imagination and place and explicates this via his development of the Aristotelian notion of common sense (koinē aisthēsis, sensus communis). Common sense in itself has a long history within the West that involves a variety of meanings starting with the Aristotelian faculty for integrating the various senses (as koinē aisthēsis) that was closely associated with the imagination, and ending with two contrasting notions of a communal or social sensibility (as sensus communis)—the vulgar “commonplace” notion of common sense as habituated custom and the healthy sense of common sense as prudential, contextual, ethical judgment explicated by thinkers like Hannah Arendt. Both are found in Kant’s Critique of Judgment but the imagination’s creativity expressed in genius comes into tension with the latter communal sense of common sense that attempts to fetter that creativity of genius with the judgment of taste. The contemporary notion of the social imaginary, for example in Cornelius Castoriadis, seems to encompass both the vulgar and the healthy senses of common sense, and also recalls the close connection between the imagination and common sense in Aristotle. Contrary to what Kant sought, however, this underscores the temporal contingency or historicity and non-transcendental status of common sense, even in its healthy sense, and its communal judgments. At the same time, the form-formlessness dynamic found in Miki and the tension between unbounded creativity and communal responsibility found in Kant’s third Critique in a certain sense also reappears in Castoriadis’ ontology (of magmas) whereby chaos is the source of the imagination’s creativity not only for the individual psyche but for the social-historical or social imaginary significations as well, that is, in the social imaginary’s inner tension between the instituting and the instituted. Recalling the fact that Nishida was inspired by the Greek notion of chōra in developing his theory of place, I then suggest that the linking of the imagination with the process of the forming of the formless as well as with place may allow us in turn to understand the creative imagination ontologically in the Greek terms of chōrismos—etymologically related to chōra—as the difference that brings order to chaos by allotting beings, each to its own place. Imagination as Ein-bildung might then be viewed as the ontological formation that, through differentiation, gives shape, form, to place. This then leads to the issue of autonomy—To whom does the spontaneity of the creative imagination belong when the chaos or formlessness, indeed “freedom,” at the root of its creativity exceeds the boundaries of subjectivity or reason? Heidegger in his later works, albeit in only a few places, suggests such a sense of the imagination as no longer a faculty of the human subject, no longer a doing of man. (shrink)
According to a traditional view, there is no categorical difference between the phenomenology of perception and the phenomenology of imagination; the only difference is in degree (of intensity, resolution, etc.) and/or in accompanying beliefs. There is no categorical difference between what it is like to perceive a dog and what it is like to imagine a dog; the former is simply more vivid and/or is accompanied by the belief that a dog is really there. A sustained argument against this (...) traditional view is prosecuted by Sartre, who develops an alternative according to which there is a categorical difference between the two phenomenologies. This paper draws on Sartre’s work in this area to develop a similar account of perception and imagination as categorically different. (shrink)
Ignorance and Imagination advances a novel way to resolve the central philosophical problem about the mind: how it is that consciousness or experience fits into a larger naturalistic picture of the world. The correct response to the problem, Stoljar argues, is not to posit a realm of experience distinct from the physical, nor to deny the reality of phenomenal experience, nor even to rethink our understanding of consciousness and the language we use to talk about it. Instead, we should (...) view the problem itself as a consequence of our ignorance of the relevant physical facts, Stoljar shows that this change of orientation is well motivated historically, empirically, and philosophically, and that it has none of the side effects it is sometimes thought to have. The result is a philosophical perspective on the mind that has a number of far-reaching consequences: for consciousness studies, for our place in nature, and for the way we think about the relationship between philosophy and science. (shrink)
In this article, I defend the view that we can acquire factual knowledge – that is, contingent propositional knowledge about certain (perceivable) aspects of reality – on the basis of imaginative experience. More specifically, I argue that, under suitable circumstances, imaginative experiences can rationally determine the propositional content of knowledge-constituting beliefs – though not their attitude of belief – in roughly the same way as perceptual experiences do in the case of perceptual knowledge. I also highlight some philosophical consequences of (...) this conclusion, especially for the issue of whether imagination can help us to learn something from fictions. (shrink)
I argue that any account of imagination should satisfy the following three desiderata. First, imaginations induce actions only in conjunction with beliefs about the environment of the imagining subject. Second, there is a continuum between imaginations and beliefs. Recognizing this continuum is crucial to explain the phenomenon of imaginative immersion. Third, the mental states that relate to imaginations in the way that desires relate to beliefs are a special kind of desire, namely desires to make true in fiction. These (...) desires to make true in fiction do not differ from regular desires in kind, but only in content. I argue for these three desiderata in turn by critically discussing several recent accounts of imagination. (shrink)
While examining the important role of imagination in making moral judgments, John Dewey and Moral Imagination focuses new attention on the relationship between American pragmatism and ethics. Steven Fesmire takes up threads of Dewey's thought that have been largely unexplored and elaborates pragmatism's distinctive contribution to understandings of moral experience, inquiry, and judgment. Building on two Deweyan notions—that moral character, belief, and reasoning are part of a social and historical context and that moral deliberation is an imaginative, dramatic (...) rehearsal of possibilities—Fesmire shows that moral imagination can be conceived as a process of aesthetic perception and artistic creativity. Fesmire's original readings of Dewey shed new light on the imaginative process, human emotional make-up and expression, and the nature of moral judgment. This original book presents a robust and distinctly pragmatic approach to ethics, politics, moral education, and moral conduct. (shrink)
When philosophers discuss the possibility of machines making scientific discoveries, they typically focus on discoveries in physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics. Observing the rapid increase of computer-use in science, however, it becomes natural to ask whether there are any scientific domains out of reach for machine discovery. For example, could machines also make discoveries in qualitative social science? Is there something about humans that makes us uniquely suited to studying humans? Is there something about machines that would bar them from (...) such activity? A close look at the methodology of interpretive social science reveals several abilities necessary to make a social scientific discovery, and one capacity necessary to possess any of them is imagination. For machines to make discoveries in social science, therefore, they must possess imagination algorithms. (shrink)
Imaginative representations are crucial to the generation of action--both pretense and plain action. But well-known theories of imagination on offer in the literature  fail to describe how perceptually-formatted imaginings (mental images) and motor imaginings function in the generation of action and  fail to recognize the important fact that spatially rich imagining can be integrated into one's perceptual manifold. In this paper, I present a theory of imagining that shows how spatially rich imagining functions in the generation of (...) action. I also describe the imaginative structures behind two under-explored forms of action: semi-pretense and pretense layering. In addition, I suggest that my theory of imagining meshes better than the competitors with current work in cognitive and affective neuroscience. (shrink)
Imaginative immersion refers to a phenomenon in which one loses oneself in make-believe. Susanna Schellenberg says that the best explanation of imaginative immersion involves a radical revision to cognitive architecture. Instead of there being an attitude of belief and a distinct attitude of imagination, there should only be one attitude that represents a continuum between belief and imagination. -/- We argue otherwise. Although imaginative immersion is a crucial data point for theorizing about the imagination, positing a continuum (...) between belief and imagination is neither necessary nor sufficient for explaining the phenomenon. In addition, arguing against Schellenberg’s account reveals important but underappreciated lessons for theorizing about the imagination and for interpreting boxological representations of the mind. (shrink)
I want to model a finite, fallible cognitive agent who imagines that p in the sense of mentally representing a scenario—a configuration of objects and properties—correctly described by p. I propose to capture imagination, so understood, via variably strict world quantifiers, in a modal framework including both possible and so-called impossible worlds. The latter secure lack of classical logical closure for the relevant mental states, while the variability of strictness captures how the agent imports information from actuality in the (...) imagined non-actual scenarios. Imagination turns out to be highly hyperintensional, but not logically anarchic. Section 1 sets the stage and impossible worlds are quickly introduced in Sect. 2. Section 3 proposes to model imagination via variably strict world quantifiers. Section 4 introduces the formal semantics. Section 5 argues that imagination has a minimal mereological structure validating some logical inferences. Section 6 deals with how imagination under-determines the represented contents. Section 7 proposes additional constraints on the semantics, validating further inferences. Section 8 describes some welcome invalidities. Section 9 examines the effects of importing false beliefs into the imagined scenarios. Finally, Sect. 10 hints at possible developments of the theory in the direction of two-dimensional semantics. (shrink)
After experiments with various economic systems, we appear to have conceded, to misquote Winston Churchill that "free enterprise is the worst economic system, except all the others that have been tried." Affirming that conclusion, I shall argue that in today's expanding global economy, we need to revisit our mind-sets about corporate governance and leadership to fit what will be new kinds of free enterprise. The aim is to develop a values-based model for corporate governance in this age of globalization that (...) will be appropriate in a variety of challenging cultural and economic settings. I shall present an analysis of mental models from a social constructivist perspective. I shall then develop the notion of moral imagination as one way to revisit traditional mind-sets about values-based corporate governance and outline what I mean by systems thinking. I shall conclude with examples for modeling corporate governance in multi-cultural settings and draw tentative conclusions about globalization. (shrink)
Imagination has been assigned an important explanatory role in a multitude of philosophical contexts. This paper examines four such contexts: mindreading, pretense, our engagement with fiction, and modal epistemology. Close attention to each of these contexts suggests that the mental activity of imagining is considerably more heterogeneous than previously realized. In short, no single mental activity can do all the explanatory work that has been assigned to imagining.
In this article , I first engage in some conceptual clarification of what the words "imagine," "imagining," and "imagination" can mean. Each has a constructive sense, an attitudinal sense, and an imagistic sense. Keeping the senses straight in the course of cognitive theorizing is important for both psychology and philosophy. I then discuss the roles that perceptual memories, beliefs, and genre truth attitudes play in constructive imagination, or the capacity to generate novel representations that go well beyond what's (...) prompted by one's immediate environment. (shrink)
A popular view has it that the mental representations underlying human pretense are not beliefs, but are “belief-like” in important ways. This view typically posits a distinctive cognitive attitude (a “DCA”) called “imagination” that is taken toward the propositions entertained during pretense, along with correspondingly distinct elements of cognitive architecture. This paper argues that the characteristics of pretense motivating such views of imagination can be explained without positing a DCA, or other cognitive architectural features beyond those regulating normal (...) belief and desire. On the present “Single Attitude” account of imagination, propositional imagining just is a form of believing. The Single Attitude account is also distinguished from “metarepresentational” accounts of pretense, which hold that both pretending and recognizing pretense in others require one to have concepts of mental states. It is argued, to the contrary, that pretending and recognizing pretense require neither a DCA nor possession of mental state concepts. (shrink)
Political judgment in its historical context -- The politics of managing decline -- Moralism and realpolitik -- On the very idea of a metaphysics of right -- The actual and another modernity : order and imagination in Don Quixote -- Culture as ideal and as boundary -- On museums -- Celan's Meridian -- Heidegger and his brother -- Richard Rorty at Princeton : personal recollections -- Melody as death -- On bourgeois philosophy and the concept of "criticism".
As corporate scandals proliferate, organizational researchers and practitioners have made calls for research providing guidance for those wishing to influence positive moral decision-making and behavior in the workplace. This study incorporates social cognitive theory and a vignette-based cognitive measure for moral imagination to examine (a) moral attentiveness and employee creativity as important antecedents of moral imagination and (b) creativity as a moderator of the positive relationship between moral attentiveness and moral imagination. Based on the results from supervisor–subordinate (...) dyadic data (N = 162) obtained from employed students, hypotheses were largely supported as expected. Implications are discussed. (shrink)
Penultimate draft; please refer to published version. I argue, on philosophical, psychological, and neurophysiological grounds, that contrary to an orthodox view, dreams do not typically involve misleading sensations and false beliefs. I am thus in partial agreement with Colin McGinn, who has argued that we do not have misleading sensory experience while dreaming, and partially in agreement with Ernest Sosa, who has argued that we do not form false beliefs while dreaming. Rather, on my view, dreams involve mental imagery and (...) propositional imagination. I defend the imagination model of dreaming from some objections. (shrink)
My topic is a certain view about mental images: namely, the ‘Multiple Use Thesis’. On this view, at least some mental image-types, individuated in terms of the sum total of their representational content, are potentially multifunctional: a given mental image-type, individuated as indicated, can serve in a variety of imaginative-event-types. As such, the presence of an image is insufficient to individuate the content of those imagination-events in which it may feature. This picture is argued for, or (more usually) just (...) assumed to be true, by Christopher Peacocke, Michael Martin, Paul Noordhof, Bernard Williams, Alan White, and Tyler Burge. It is also presupposed by more recent authors on imagination such as Amy Kind, Peter Kung and Neil Van Leeuwen. I reject various arguments for the Multiple Use Thesis, and conclude that instead we should endorse SINGLE: a single image-type, individuated in terms of the sum total of its intrinsic representational content, can serve in only one imagination event-type, whose content coincides exactly with its own, and is wholly determined by it. Plausibility aside, the interest of this thesis is also in its iconoclasm, as well as the challenge it poses for the diverse theories that rest on the truth of the Multiple Use Thesis. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom and commonsense morality tend to take the integrity of persons for granted. But for people in systematically unjust societies, self-respect and human dignity may prove to be impossible dreams.Susan Babbitt explores the implications of this insight, arguing that in the face of systemic injustice, individual and social rationality may require the transformation rather than the realization of deep-seated aims, interests, and values. In particular, under such conditions, she argues, the cultivation and ongoing exercise of moral imagination is (...) necessary to discover and defend a more humane social vision. Impossible Dreams is one of those rare books that fruitfully combines discourses that were previously largely separate: feminist and antiracist political theory, analytic ethics and philosophy of mind, and a wide range of non-philosophical literature on the lives of oppressed peoples around the world. It is both an object lesson in reaching across academic barriers and a demonstration of how the best of feminist philosophy can be in conversation with the best of “mainstream” philosophy—as well as affect the lives of real people. (shrink)
The psychological mechanism of decision-making has traditionally been modeled with the help of belief-desire psychology: the agent has some desires (or other pro-attitudes) and some background beliefs and deciding between two possible actions is a matter of comparing the probability of the satisfaction of these desires given the background beliefs in the case of the performance of each action. There is a wealth of recent empirical findings about how we actually make decisions that seems to be in conflict with this (...) picture. My aim is to outline an alternative model that is consistent with these empirical findings. This alternative model emphasizes the role imagination plays in our decisions: when we decide between two possible actions, we imagine ourselves in the situation that we imagine to be the outcome of these two actions and then compare these two imaginings. (shrink)
This volume presents new essays on the propositional imagination by leading researchers. The propositional imagination---the mental capacity we exploit when we imagine that everyone is colour-blind or that Hamlet is a procrastinator---plays an essential role in philosophical theorizing, engaging with fiction, and indeed in everyday life. Yet only recently has there been a systematic attempt to give a cognitive account of the propositional imagination. These thirteen essays, specially written for the volume, capitalize on this recent work, extending (...) the theoretical picture of the imagination and exploring the philosophical implications of cognitive accounts of the imagination. The book also investigates broader philosophical issues surrounding the propositional imagination. The first section addresses the nature of the imagination, its role in emotion production, and its sophistication manifestation in childhood. The essays in the second section focus on the nature of pretence and how pretence is implicated in adult communication. The third section addresses the problem of 'imaginative resistance', the striking fact that when we encounter morally repugnant assertions in fiction, we seem to resist imagining them and accepting them as fictionally true. In the final section, contributors explore the relation between imagining, conceiving, and judgements of possibility and impossibility. The Architecture of the Imagination will be an essential resource for the growing number of philosophers and psychologists studying the nature of the imagination and on its role in philosophy, aesthetics, and everyday life. (shrink)
Issues of pretense and imagination are of central interest to philosophers, psychologists, and researchers in allied fields. In this entry, we provide a roadmap of some of the central themes around which discussion has been focused. We begin with an overview of pretense, imagination, and the relationship between them. We then shift our attention to the four specific topics where the disciplines' research programs have intersected or where additional interactions could prove mutually beneficial: the psychological underpinnings of performing (...) pretense and of recognizing pretense, the cognitive capacities involved in imaginative engagement with fictions, and the real-world impact of make-believe. In the final section, we discuss more briefly a number of other mental activities that arguably involve imagining, including counterfactual reasoning, delusions, and dreaming. (shrink)
Despite their intuitive appeal and a long philosophical history, imagery-based accounts of the imagination have fallen into disfavor in contemporary discussions. The philosophical pressure to reject such accounts seems to derive from two distinct sources. First, the fact that mental images have proved difficult to accommodate within a scientific conception of mind has led to numerous attempts to explain away their existence, and this in turn has led to attempts to explain the phenomenon of imagining without reference to such (...) ontologically dubious entities as mental images. Second, even those philosophers who accept mental images in their ontology have worried about what seem to be fairly obvious examples of imaginings that occur without imagery. In this paper, I aim to relieve both these points of philosophical pressure and, in the process, develop a new imagery-based account of the imagination: the imagery model. (shrink)
According to recent accounts of the imagination, mental mechanisms that can take input from both imagining and from believing will process imagination-based inputs (pretense representations) and isomorphic beliefs in much the same way. That is, such a mechanism should produce similar outputs whether its input is the belief that p or the pretense representation that p. Unfortunately, there seem to be clear counterexamples to this hypothesis, for in many cases, imagining that p and believing that p have quite (...) different psychological consequences. This paper sets out some central problem cases and argues that the cases might be accommodated by adverting to the role of desires concerning real and imaginary situations. (shrink)
One version of the Humean Theory of Motivation holds that all actions can be causally explained by reference to a belief–desire pair. Some have argued that pretense presents counter-examples to this principle, as pretense is instead causally explained by a belief-like imagining and a desire-like imagining. We argue against this claim by denying imagination the power of motivation. Still, we allow imagination a role in guiding action as a script . We generalize the script concept to show how (...) things besides imagination can occupy this same role in both pretense and non-pretense actions. The Humean Theory of Motivation should then be modified to cover this script role. (shrink)
Chris Frith has argued that a loss of the sense of agency is central to schizophrenia. This suggests a connection between hallucinations and delusions on the one hand, and the misidentification of the subject’s imaginings as perceptions and beliefs on the other. In particular, understanding the mechanisms that underlie imagination may help us to explain the puzzling phenomena of thought insertion and withdrawal. Frith sometimes states his argument in terms of a loss of metarepresentational capacity in schizophrenia. I argue (...) that this formulation is unhelpful. (shrink)
What does it mean to say that imagination plays a role in moral reasoning, and what are the theoretical and practical implications? Engaging with three traditions in moral theory and confronting them with three contexts of moral practice, this book offers a more comprehensive framework to think about these questions. The author develops an argument about the relation between imagination and principles that moves beyond competition metaphors and center-periphery schemas. He shows that both cooperate and are equally necessary (...) to cope with moral problems, and combines insights of different theories and disciplines to explore how this works in practice. (shrink)
Just before the Scientific Revolution, there was a "Mathematical Revolution", heavily based on geometrical and machine diagrams. The "faculty of imagination" (now called scientific visualization) was developed to allow 3D understanding of planetary motion, human anatomy and the workings of machines. 1543 saw the publication of the heavily geometrical work of Copernicus and Vesalius, as well as the first Italian translation of Euclid.
Imagination has recently attracted considerable attention from epistemologists and is recognized as a source of belief and even knowledge. One remarkable feature of imagination is that it is often and typically agentive: agents decide to imagine. In cases in which imagination results in a belief, the agentiveness of imagination may be taken to give rise to indirect doxastic control and epistemic responsibility. This observation calls for a proper understanding of agentive imagination. In particular, it calls (...) for the development of a semantics of imagination ascriptions. In the present paper an earlier suggestion by Ilkka Niiniluoto for a logic of imagination is considered. This proposal does not capture the agentive nature of imagination, and an alternative semantics is suggested. The new semantics combines the modal logic of agency with the neighbourhood semantics from alethic modal logic. (shrink)
According to the additive view of sensory imagination, mental imagery often involves two elements. There is an image-like element, which gives the experiences qualitative phenomenal character akin to that of perception. There is also a non-image element, consisting of something like suppositions about the image's object. This accounts for extra- sensory features of imagined objects and situations: for example, it determines whether an image of a grey horse is an image of Desert Orchid, or of some other grey horse. (...) The view promises to give a simple and intuitive explanation of some puzzling features of imagination, and, further, to illuminate imagination 's relation to modal knowledge. I contend that the additive view does not fulfil these two promises. The explanation of how images come to be determinate is redundant: the content constituting the indeterminate mental images on which the view relies is sufficient to deliver determinate images too, so the extra resources offered by the view are not required.. (shrink)
What role does the imagination play in scientific progress? After examining several studies in cognitive science, I argue that one thing the imagination does is help to increase scientific understanding, which is itself indispensable for scientific progress. Then, I sketch a transcendental justification of the role of imagination in this process.
The notion of conceivability has traditionally been regarded as crucial to an account of modal knowledge. Despite its importance to modal epistemology, there is no received explication of conceivability. One purpose of this paper is to argue that the notion is not fruitfully explicated in terms of the imagination. The most natural way of presenting a notion of conceivability qua imaginability is open to cogent criticism. In order to avoid such criticism, an advocate of the modal insightfulness of the (...)imagination must broaden the idea of what it is to be imaginable. I argue that this required broadening renders the imagination idle . Consequently, I distinguish two different accounts of the evidential basis of modal knowledge and present a more general argument that concludes that the very notion of conceivability should be eschewed in modal epistemology. (shrink)
Moral imagination is a process that involves a thorough consideration of the ethical elements of a decision. We sought to explore what might distinguish moral imagination from other ethical approaches within a complex business simulation. Using a three-component model of moral imagination, we sought to discover whether organization cultures with a salient ethics theme activate moral imagination. Finding an effect, we sought an answer to whether some individuals were more prone to being influenced in this way (...) by ethical cultures. We found that employees with strong moral identities are less influenced by such cultures than employees whose sense of self is not defined in moral terms. (shrink)
How do we know when we have imagined something? How do we distinguish our imaginings from other kinds of mental states we might have? These questions present serious, if often overlooked, challenges for theories of introspection and self-knowledge. This paper looks specifically at the difficulties imagination creates for Neo-Expressivist, outward-looking, and inner sense theories of self-knowledge. A path forward is then charted, by considering the connection between the kinds of situations in which we can reliably say that another person (...) is imagining, and those in which we can say the same about ourselves. This view is a variation on the outward-looking approach, and preserves much of the spirit of Neo-Expressivism. (shrink)