The evaluative character of imaginative resistance

British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (4):287-405 (2006)
Authors
Dustin Stokes
University of Utah
Abstract
A fiction may prescribe imagining that a pig can talk or tell the future. A fiction may prescribe imagining that torturing innocent persons is a good thing. We generally comply with imaginative prescriptions like the former, but not always with prescriptions like the latter: we imagine non-evaluative fictions without difficulty but sometimes resist imagining value-rich fictions. Thus arises the puzzle of imaginative resistance. Most analyses of the phenomenon focus on the content of the relevant imaginings. The present analysis focuses instead on the character of certain kinds of imaginings, arguing that we resist in such cases given the rich evaluative character of the imaginings prescribed, and the agent-dependent constraints on imagining in such ways.
Keywords Aesthetics, Imaginative Resistance, Imagination, Theory of Mind
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayl022
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