Why We Need Imagination

In Brian McLaughlin & Jonathan Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind, 2nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 570-587 (2023)
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Traditionally, imagination has been considered to be a primitive mental state type (or group of types), irreducible to other mental state types. In particular, it has been thought to be distinct from other mental states such as belief, perception, and memory, among others. Recently, however, the category of imagination has come under attack, with challenges emerging from a multitude of different directions. Some philosophers have argued that we should not recognize belief and imagination as distinct states but rather on a continuum, whereas other philosophers have argued something similar with respect to belief and memory. And some philosophers have suggested that we can reduce imagination to other mental states, whether mental imagery, belief, supposition, or some combination. In this paper, I address some of these challenges in an attempt to show we need to maintain imagination as a distinct – and indeed, robust – category in our taxonomy of mind.



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Amy Kind
Claremont McKenna College

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References found in this work

Does conceivability entail possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1950 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):328-332.
Explaining Imagination.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2020 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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