Knowledge Through Imagination

& (eds.)
Oxford University Press UK (2016)
Abstract
Imagination is celebrated as our vehicle for escape from the mundane here and now. It transports us to distant lands of magic and make-believe, and provides us with diversions during boring meetings or long bus rides. Yet the focus on imagination as a means of escape from the real world minimizes the fact that imagination seems also to furnish us with knowledge about it. Imagination seems an essential component in our endeavor to learn about the world in which we live--whether we're planning for the future, aiming to understand other people, or figuring out whether two puzzle pieces fit together. But how can the same mental power that allows us to escape the world as it currently is also inform us about the world as it currently is? Ten original essays grapple with this neglected question; in doing so, they present a diverse array of positions ranging from cautious optimism to deep-seated pessimism. Blending perspectives from philosophy of mind, cognitive science, epistemology, aesthetics, and ethics, Knowledge Through Imagination sheds new light on the epistemic role of imagination.
Keywords imagination  thought experiment  modal epistemology  simulation
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