Impossible Worlds and the Logic of Imagination

Erkenntnis 82 (6):1277-1297 (2017)

Authors
Franz Berto
University of St. Andrews
Abstract
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.
Keywords Imagination  Conceivability  Impossible worlds semantics  Inconsistent information  Mental simulation
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Reprint years 2018
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-017-9875-5
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References found in this work BETA

Image and Mind.Stephen M. Kosslyn - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Does Conceivability Entail Possibility.David Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.

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Citations of this work BETA

Aboutness in Imagination.Franz Berto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):1871-1886.
Williamson on Counterpossibles.Berto Francesco, David Ripley, Graham Priest & Rohan French - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):693-713.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

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