Imagination, Desire, and Rationality

Journal of Philosophy 112 (9):457-476 (2015)

Authors
Shannon Spaulding
Oklahoma State University
Abstract
We often have affective responses to fictional events. We feel afraid for Desdemona when Othello approaches her in a murderous rage. We feel disgust toward Iago for orchestrating this tragic event. What mental architecture could explain these affective responses? In this paper I consider the claim that the best explanation of our affective responses to fiction involves imaginative desires. Some theorists argue that accounts that do not invoke imaginative desires imply that consumers of fiction have irrational desires. I argue that there are serious worries about imaginative desires that warrant skepticism about the adequacy of the account. Moreover, it is quite difficult to articulate general principles of rationality for desires, and even according to the most plausible of these possible principles, desires about fiction are not irrational.
Keywords imagination  desire  rationality  simulation  fiction
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Reprint years 2015
ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil2015112929
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References found in this work BETA

The Puzzle of Imaginative Desire.Amy Kind - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):421-439.
How We Feel About Terrible, Non-Existent Mafiosi.Tyler Doggett & Andy Egan - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (2):277-306.
Imagination and Other Scripts.Eric Funkhouser & Shannon Spaulding - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (3):291-314.
Tragedy.G. Currie - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):632-638.

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Citations of this work BETA

Imagining Stories: Attitudes and Operators.Neil Van Leeuwen - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-26.

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