In this paper, I will analyze certain aspects of imaginative content, namely the content of the representational mental state called “imagining.” I will show that fully accounting for imaginative content requires acknowledging that, in addition to imagining, an imaginative project—the overall mental activity we engage in when we imagine—includes another infrastructural component in terms of which content should be explained. I will then show that the phenomenon of imaginativeimmersion can partly be explained in terms (...) of the proposed infrastructure of imaginative projects. (shrink)
I argue that any account of imagination should satisfy the following three desiderata. First, imaginations induce actions only in conjunction with beliefs about the environment of the imagining subject. Second, there is a continuum between imaginations and beliefs. Recognizing this continuum is crucial to explain the phenomenon of imaginativeimmersion. Third, the mental states that relate to imaginations in the way that desires relate to beliefs are a special kind of desire, namely desires to make true in fiction. (...) These desires to make true in fiction do not differ from regular desires in kind, but only in content. I argue for these three desiderata in turn by critically discussing several recent accounts of imagination. (shrink)
Echoing Beardsley's trinity of unity, complexity, and intensity, Perkins develops three interrelated criteria on which to base an evaluation of film: credibility, coherence, and significance. I assess whether Perkins criteria of credibility serves as a useful standard for film criticism. Most of the effort will be devoted to charitably reconstructing the notion of credibility by bringing together some of Perkins' particular comments. Then I will briefly examine whether Perkins has successfully achieved his goal of developing standards of judgment by holding (...) credibility up to his own criteria of successful meta-criticism: "The clarification of standards should help to develop the disciplines of criticism without seeking to lay obligations on the film-maker" (p. 59). Although I argue that Perkins fails to achieve his goal, his criterion of credibility remains a useful mechanism for evaluating artistic attempts to achieve a particular end, namely spectator immersion. A limited domain of application for his criteria might seem to leave us with little more than an idiosyncratic expression of his classicist artistic taste, but Film as Film also contains valuable insights relevant to the so called "problem of imaginative resistance.". (shrink)
Actors, undercover investigators, and readers of fiction sometimes report “losing themselves” in the characters they imitate or read about. They speak of “taking on” or “assuming” the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings of someone else. I offer an account of this strange but familiar phenomenon—what I call imaginative transportation.
Imaginativeimmersion refers to a phenomenon in which one loses oneself in make-believe. Susanna Schellenberg says that the best explanation of imaginativeimmersion involves a radical revision to cognitive architecture. Instead of there being an attitude of belief and a distinct attitude of imagination, there should only be one attitude that represents a continuum between belief and imagination. -/- We argue otherwise. Although imaginativeimmersion is a crucial data point for theorizing about the imagination, (...) positing a continuum between belief and imagination is neither necessary nor sufficient for explaining the phenomenon. In addition, arguing against Schellenberg’s account reveals important but underappreciated lessons for theorizing about the imagination and for interpreting boxological representations of the mind. (shrink)
This chapter considers the nature of imagination and belief, exploring how deeply these two states of mind differ. It first addresses a range of cognitive and motivational differences between imagination and belief which suggest that they're fundamentally different states of mind. Then it addresses imaginativeimmersion, delusions, and the different norms we apply to the two mental states, which some theorists regard as providing support for a more unified picture of imagination and belief.
In this article, I defend the view that we can acquire factual knowledge – that is, contingent propositional knowledge about certain (perceivable) aspects of reality – on the basis of imaginative experience. More specifically, I argue that, under suitable circumstances, imaginative experiences can rationally determine the propositional content of knowledge-constituting beliefs – though not their attitude of belief – in roughly the same way as perceptual experiences do in the case of perceptual knowledge. I also highlight some philosophical (...) consequences of this conclusion, especially for the issue of whether imagination can help us to learn something from fictions. (shrink)
The problem of imaginative resistance holds interest for aestheticians, literary theorists, ethicists, philosophers of mind, and epistemologists. We present a somewhat opinionated overview of the philosophical discussion to date. We begin by introducing the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. We then review existing responses to the problem, giving special attention to recent research directions. Finally, we consider the philosophical significance that imaginative resistance has—or, at least, is alleged to have—for issues in moral psychology, theories of cognitive architecture, and (...) modal epistemology. (shrink)
Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This "imaginative resistance" is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability, or readers' normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical (...) work that has been asked of it. Resistance to taking things to be fictional is often best explained by unfamiliarity with kinds of fictions than any representational, normative, or cognitive limits. With training and experience, any understandable proposition can be made fictional and be taken to be fictional by readers. This requires a new understanding both of imaginative resistance, and what it might be able to tell us about topics like conceivability or the bounds of possibility. (shrink)
Imaginative resistance refers to a phenomenon in which people resist engaging in particular prompted imaginative activities. Philosophers have primarily theorized about this phenomenon from the armchair. In this paper, we demonstrate the utility of empirical methods for investigating imaginative resistance. We present two studies that help to establish the psychological reality of imaginative resistance, and to uncover one factor that is significant for explaining this phenomenon but low in psychological salience: genre. Furthermore, our studies have the (...) methodological upshot of showing how empirical tools can complement the predominant armchair approach to philosophical aesthetics. (shrink)
Imaginative resistance refers to a phenomenon in which people resist engaging in particular prompted imaginative activities. On one influential diagnosis of imaginative resistance, the systematic difficulties are due to these particular propositions’ discordance with real-world norms. This essay argues that this influential diagnosis is too simple. While imagination is indeed by default constrained by real-world norms during narrative engagement, it can be freed with the power of genre conventions and expectations.
Imagination contributes to human agency in ways that haven't been well understood. I argue here that pathways from imagistic imagining to emotional engagement support three important agential capacities: 1. bodily preparedness for potential events in one's nearby environment; 2. evaluation of potential future action; and 3. empathy-based moral appraisal. Importantly, however, the kind of pathway in question (I-C-E-C: imagining-categorization-emotion-conceptualization) also enables engagement with fiction. So human enchantment with fiction is a consequence of imaginative pathways that make us the kind (...) of agents we are. Finally, I use this approach to address imaginative resistance and the paradox of fiction. [The version archived here is a penultimate draft. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a pdf of the final in accordance with fair use.]. (shrink)
Where is imagination in imaginative resistance? We seek to answer this question by connecting two ongoing lines of inquiry in different subfields of philosophy. In philosophy of mind, philosophers have been trying to understand imaginative attitudes’ place in cognitive architecture. In aesthetics, philosophers have been trying to understand the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. By connecting these two lines of inquiry, we hope to find mutual illumination of an attitude (or cluster of attitudes) and a phenomenon that have (...) vexed philosophers. Our strategy is to reorient the imaginative resistance literature from the perspective of cognitive architecture. Whereas existing taxonomies of positions in the imaginative resistance literature have focused on disagreements over the source and scope of the phenomenon, our taxonomy focuses on the psychological components necessary for explaining imaginative resistance. (shrink)
The majority of philosophers of religion, at least since Plantinga’s reply to Mackie’s logical problem of evil, agree that it is logically possible for an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God to exist who permits some of the evils we see in the actual world. This is conceivable essentially because of the possible world known as heaven. That is, heaven is an imaginable world in a similar way that logically possible scenarios in any fiction are imaginable. However, like some of the (...) imaginable stories in fiction where we are asked to envision an immoral act as a moral one, we resist. I will employ the works of Tamar Gendler on imaginative resistance and Keith Buhler’s Virtue Ethics approach to moral imaginative resistance and apply them to the conception of heaven and the problem of evil. While we can imagine God as an omnibenevolent parent permitting evil to allow for morally significant freedom and the rewards in heaven or punishments in hell (both possible worlds), we should not. This paper is not intended to be a refutation of particular theodicies; rather it provides a very general groundwork connecting issues of horrendous suffering and imaginative resistance to heaven as a possible world. (shrink)
We propose to analyze well-known cases of "imaginative resistance" from the philosophical literature (Gendler, Walton, Weatherson) as involving the inference that particular content should be attributed to either: (i) a character rather than the narrator or, (ii) an unreliable, irrational, opinionated, and/or morally deviant "first person" narrator who was originally perceived to be a typical impersonal, omniscient, "effaced" narrator. We model the latter type of attribution in terms of two independently motivated linguistic mechanisms: accommodation of a discourse referent (Lewis, (...) Stalnaker, Kamp) and 'cautious' updating as a model of non-cooperative information exchange (Eckardt). (shrink)
We experience resistance when we are engaging with fictional works which present certain (for example, morally objectionable) claims. But in virtue of what properties do sentences trigger this ‘imaginative resistance’? I argue that while most accounts of imaginative resistance have looked for semantic properties in virtue of which sentences trigger it, this is unlikely to give us a coherent account, because imaginative resistance is a pragmatic phenomenon. It works in a way very similar to Paul Grice's widely (...) analysed ‘conversational implicature’. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
An observation of Hume’s has received a lot of attention over the last decade and a half: Although we can standardly imagine the most implausible scenarios, we encounter resistance when imagining propositions at odds with established moral (or perhaps more generally evaluative) convictions. The literature is ripe with ‘solutions’ to this so-called ‘Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance’. Few, however, question the plausibility of the empirical assumption at the heart of the puzzle. In this paper, we explore empirically whether the difficulty (...) we witness in imagining certain propositions is indeed due to claim type (evaluative v. non-evaluative) or whether it is much rather driven by mundane features of content. Our findings suggest that claim type plays but a marginal role, and that there might hence not be much of a ‘puzzle’ to be solved. (shrink)
The empirical basis for this article is threeyears of experience with ethical rounds atUppsala University Hospital. Three standardapproaches of ethical reasoning are examined aspotential explanations of what actually occursduring the ethical rounds. For reasons given,these are not found to be satisfyingexplanations. An approach called ``imaginativeethics'', is suggested as a more satisfactoryaccount of this kind of ethical reasoning. Theparticipants in the ethical rounds seem to drawon a kind of moral competence based on personallife experience and professional competence andexperience. By listening to (...) other perspectivesand other experiences related to one particularpatient story, the participants imaginealternative horizons of moral experience andexplore a multitude of values related toclinical practice that might be at stake. Inhis systematic treatment of aesthetics in theCritique of Judgement, Kant made use ofan operation of thought that, if applied toethics, will enable us to be more sensitive tothe particulars of each moral situation. Basedon this reading of Kant, an account ofimaginative ethics is developed in order tobring the ethical praxis of doctors and nursesinto sharper relief. The Hebraic and theHellenic traditions of imagination are used inorder to illuminate some of the experiences ofethical rounds. In conclusion, it is arguedthat imaginative ethics and principle-basedethics should be seen as complementary in orderto endow a moral discourse with ethicalauthority. Kantian ethics will do the job if itis remembered that Kant suggested only amodest, negative role of principle-baseddeliberation. (shrink)
If a work of literary fiction prescribes us to imagine that the Devil made a bet with God and transformed into a poodle, then that claim is true in the fiction and we imagine accordingly. Generally, we cooperate imaginatively with literary fictions, however bizarre, and the things authors write into their stories become true in the fiction. But for some claims, such as moral falsehoods, this seems not to be straightforwardly the case, which raises the question: Why not? The puzzles (...) such cases raise are sometimes grouped under the heading “imaginative resistance”. In this paper, I argue against what I take to be the best attempts to dismiss the puzzles and solve them. I also tease out subtleties not sufficiently addressed in the existing literature and end by defending a unified solution of my own. According to this solution, the puzzling phenomena occur when literary works offer inadequate and exhaustive grounds for claims. The solution’s novelty lies in its giving a normative rather than psychological or alethic explanation for the puzzling phenomena, the relevant norms being those of proper artistic appreciation. (shrink)
Gendler reformulated the so-called imaginability puzzle in terms of authorial breakdown. The main idea behind this move was to isolate the essential features displayed by the alleged problematic cases and to specify a puzzle general enough to be applied to a variety of different types of imaginative resistance. I offer various criticisms of Gendler’s approach to imaginative resistance that also raise some more general points on the recent literature on the topic.
I argue that the current methodology employed to study imaginative resistance should not be used to draw general conclusions about the influence of genre on episodes of imaginative resistance caused by complex works of art. One of the main problems is that the mini stories upon which the current methodology relies are inadequate—mostly because they are artless and ‘flat’. Mini stories cannot generate imaginative experiences structurally similar to the experiences elicited by complex and interesting works of fictional (...) art. (shrink)
When we are invited to imagine an unacceptable moral proposition to be true in fiction, we feel resistance when we try to imagine it. Despite this, it is nonetheless possible to suppose that the proposition is true. In this paper, I argue that existing accounts of imaginative resistance are unable to explain why only attempts to imagine the truth of moral propositions cause resistance. My suggestion is that imagination, unlike supposition, involves mental imagery and imaginative resistance arises when (...) imagery that one has formed does not match unacceptable propositions. (shrink)
One of the interesting aspects of Dewey’s early educational thought is his apparent hostility toward children’s imaginative pursuits, yet the question of why this antipathy exists remains unanswered. As will become clear, Dewey’s hostility towards imaginative activities stemmed from a broad variety of concerns. In some of his earliest work, Dewey adopted a set of anti-Romantic criticisms and used these concerns to attack what one might call “runaway” imaginative and emotional tendencies. Then, in his early educational writings, (...) these earlier concerns were augmented by several other factors, including problematic trends in progressive education, new developments in psychology, and Dewey’s own educational aims. This analysis explores the roots of these criticisms, and explains how they culminate in the stance on the imagination that Dewey eventually outlined in the early educational writings. Notably, these findings have some important implications for certain prominent contemporary critics of progressivism. (shrink)
The conception on which the affirmative philosophy of G.G. Shpet rests can be called hermeneutic phenomenology. The choice of this term demands explanation. Shpet's basic hermeneutic work, Hermeneutics and Its Problems [Germenevtika i ee problemy], was completed in 1918. At the time hermeneutics was understood usually as the art of grasping the meaning of a text. It is worth noting that this art was quite specific. It consisted mostly of a set of psychological techniques for "penetrating" into the internal world (...) of the text's author. The techniques were empathy, sympathy, immersion in a historico-cultural world, and imaginative penetration into the author's creative "workshop." Understood in this way, hermeneutics was a psychologically loaded research method. And if it is treated only in that way, the recently coined term "hermeneutic phenomenology" is in respect to content internally contradictory. As I see it, Shpet fully realized what conclusions could follow from this. Nevertheless his fundamental aspirations are connected precisely with the idea of unifying hermeneutics and phenomenology. This is possible because words have a complex structure . The sense of a word is objective and can be known by nonpsychological methods. The art of comprehending the sense of a text must inevitably include semiotic methods as well as logical and phenomenological techniques. They are aimed at comprehending (studying, researching, but not "grasping" or "sympathizing with" the objective, internal sense of the text. All the other elements of the sensible structure of the text are overlaid with the psychological peculiarities of the author and historical and social conditions. They are external factors that influence the sense of the text in a distinctive way and, without question, must be taken into account and included in the investigation of texts under the general heading "conditions of understanding," which are comprehended by the historical method. The psychological and historical methods in hermeneutics were historically conditioned research techniques, scientific means of comprehending sense under conditions when semiotic means were not yet developed, contemporary logico-semantic techniques were not available, and the phenomenological method was not yet invented. For this reason hermeneutics is reducible conceptually to a mere psychological art: it was only forced into being this by the lack of technical instrumentation. Moreover, the psychological hermeneutics of the nineteenth century may be called without any exaggeration the historical variant of hermeneutics in general. (shrink)
My conversion into a knower has been a long and winding road. From childhood reverie to the years of formal schooling, education has never ceased to lure me into its magical power. How do we really get to know/see/learn whatever happens on our educational journey? In this paper, I will re-trace my quest for knowledge that reaches beyond the boundaries of traditional epistemology. My wonderings will take me to explore, via Jung, the possibilities of imaginative education through Gnosis and (...) Sophia. The paper intends to weave together several Jungian discourses with their versions by other thinkers who have contributed to the fields of depth psychology, esotericism, and educational philosophy. (shrink)
In her excellent monograph, Margherita Arcangeli offers a defense of supposition as a sui generis kind of imagination. Endorsing a simulationist account of imagination according to which every imaginative attitude simulates/re‐creates a genuine counterpart, she argues against this backdrop that supposition is a re‐creative state of acceptance. Arcangeli's inquiry concentrates on the most recent literature. She starts by critically examining certain putative features of supposition that place them outside of the realm of imagination. She then explores the positive features (...) of supposition and, then, the deflationists' attempts to define supposition in terms of non‐imaginative or imaginative mental states. Through technical and yet crystal‐clear prose, Arcangeli provides what is, in my opinion, the best defense of the imaginative account of supposition to date. (shrink)
Short-term international medical outreach experiences are becoming more popular among medical students. As the popularity of these trips grows, participants, scholars, and institutions have become more aware of the potential pitfalls of such experiences. Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine has an approximately 20-year international service immersion program that has sent more than 1,400 participants to more than 30 countries. Recently, ISI programming has been adjusted to provide students more formal sessions exploring the ethics of the ISI trips. (...) Students are required to attend both pre- and post-trip educational sessions covering a wide range of relevant global health topics as well as participating in in-country reflections and post-trip debriefings. This recent adjustment has evolved further to become the foundation for the SSOM’s four-year Global Health Honors program that not only encourages an ethical foundation for the student’s ISI experience but also hopes to provide a foundation for students as they look toward a future career in global health. (shrink)
In response to the search for the factually true or historically probable elements in the Bible that influenced the interpretation of his day, Kierkegaard persisted in seeking the truth in Scripture through imaginative and total immersion in its content.
Children sometimes lose themselves in make-believe games. Actors sometimes lose themselves in their roles. Readers sometimes lose themselves in their books. From people's introspective self-reports and phenomenological experiences, these immersive experiences appear to differ from ordinary experiences of simply playing a game, simply acting out a role, and simply reading a book. What explains the difference? My answer: attention. -/- [Unpublishable 2007-2017. This paper was referenced in Liao and Doggett (2014).].
The point of this paper is to reveal a dogma in the ordinary conception of sensory imagination, and to suggest another way forward. The dogma springs from two main sources: a too close comparison of mental imagery to perceptual experience, and a too strong division between mental imagery and the traditional propositional attitudes (such as belief and desire). The result is an unworkable conception of the correctness conditions of sensory imaginings—one lacking any link between the conditions under which an imagining (...) aids human action and inference and the conditions under which it is veridical. The proposed solution is, first, to posit a variety of imaginative attitudes—akin to the traditional propositional attitudes—which have different associated correctness (or satisfaction) conditions. The second part of the solution is to allow for imaginings with “hybrid” contents, in the sense that both mental images and representations with language-like constituent structure contribute to the content of imaginings. (shrink)
The puzzle of imaginative desire arises from the difficulty of accounting for the surprising behaviour of desire in imaginative activities such as our engagement with fiction and our games of pretend. Several philosophers have recently attempted to solve this puzzle by introducing a class of novel mental states?what they call desire-like imaginings or i-desires. In this paper, I argue that we should reject the i-desire solution to the puzzle of imaginative desire. The introduction of i-desires is both (...) ontologically profligate and unnecessary, and, most importantly, fails to make sense of what we are doing in the imaginative contexts in question. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to expand the diet of examples considered in philosophical discussions of imagination and pretense, and to offer some preliminary observations about what we might learn about the nature of imagination as a result. The article presents a number of cases involving imaginative contagion: cases where merely imagining or pretending that P has effects that we would expect only perceiving or believing that P to have. Examples are offered that involve visual imagery, motor imagery, (...) fictional emotions, and social priming. It is suggested that imaginative contagion is a more prevalent phenomenon than has typically been recognized. (shrink)
How do people make sense of their experiences? How do they understand possibility? How do they limit possibility? These questions are central to all the human sciences. Here, Vincent Crapanzano offers a powerfully creative new way to think about human experience: the notion of imaginative horizons. For Crapanzano, imaginative horizons are the blurry boundaries that separate the here and now from what lies beyond, in time and space. These horizons, he argues, deeply influence both how we experience our (...) lives and how we interpret those experiences, and here sets himself the task of exploring the roles that creativity and imagination play in our experience of the world. (shrink)
Otávio Bueno* * and Steven French.** ** Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-19-881504-4 978-0-19-185286-2. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198815044. 001.0001. Pp. xvii + 257.
In this essay, the focus is not on what imagination is but rather on what it is like. Rather than exploring the various accounts of imagination on offer in the philosophical literature, we will instead be exploring the various accounts of imaginative experience on offer in that literature. In particular, our focus in what follows will be on three different sorts of accounts that have played an especially prominent role in philosophical thinking about these issues: the impoverishment view (often (...) associated with Hume), the will-dependence view (often associated with Wittgenstein), and the nonexistence view (often associated with Sartre). While there are important insights to be drawn from each of these views, each seems to me to be importantly flawed in various ways. As I will suggest, close examination reveals that none of them gives us an adequate account of the character of imaginative experience. Ultimately, in the final section of this paper, I briefly explore what their failure teaches us about the project of giving an account of imaginative experience. (shrink)
How are we to understand the phenomenology of imagining? Attempts to answer this question often invoke descriptors concerning the “vivacity” or “vividness” of our imaginative states. Not only are particular imaginings often phenomenologically compared and contrasted with other imaginings on grounds of how vivid they are, but such imaginings are also often compared and contrasted with perceptions and memories on similar grounds. Yet however natural it may be to use “vividness” and cognate terms in discussions of imagination, it does (...) not take much reflection to see that these terms are ill understood. In this paper, I review both some relevant empirical literature as well as the philosophical literature attempt to get a handle on what it could mean, in an imaginative context, to talk of vividness. As I suggest, this notion ultimately proves to be so problematic as to be philosophically untenable. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is no genuine puzzle of ‘imaginative resistance’. In part 1 of the paper I argue that the imaginability of fictional propositions is relative to a range of different factors including the ‘thickness’ of certain concepts, and certain pre-theoretical and theoretical commitments. I suggest that those holding realist moral commitments may be more susceptible to resistance and inability than those holding non-realist commitments, and that it is such realist commitments that ultimately motivate the problem. However, (...) I argue that the relativity of imaginability is not a particularly puzzling feature of imagination. In part 2, I claim that it is the so-called ‘alethic’ puzzle, concerning fictional truth, which generates a real puzzle about imaginative resistance. However, I argue that the alethic puzzle itself depends on certain realist assumptions about the nature of fictional truth which are implausible and should be rejected in favour of an interpretive view of fictional truth. Once this is done, I contend, it becomes evident that the supposed problem of imaginative resistance as it has hitherto been discussed in the literature is not puzzling at all. (shrink)
The present investigation concerns Reid’s explanation of how objects (be they real or nonexistent) are conceived. This paper shows that there is a deep-rooted tension in Reid’s understanding of conception: although the type of conception employed in perception is closely related to the one employed in imagination, three fundamental features distinguish perceptual conception (as the former will be referred to throughout this paper) from imaginative conception (as the latter will be called henceforth). These features would have been ascribed by (...) Reid himself to conception as involved in perception, but not to conception as involved in imagination. He should have recognized them as marking the former as a different kind from the latter, and he should not have hastily lumped perceptual and imaginative conceptions together. (shrink)
A growing body of research suggests that students achieve learning outcomes at higher rates when instructors use active-learning methods rather than standard modes of instruction. To investigate how one such method might be used to teach philosophy, we observed two classes that employed Reacting to the Past, an educational role-immersion game. We chose to investigate Reacting because role-immersion games are considered a particularly effective active-learning strategy. Professors who have used Reacting to teach history, interdisciplinary humanities, and political theory (...) agree that it engages students and teaches general skills like collaboration and communication. We investigated whether it can be effective for teaching philosophical content and skills like analyzing, evaluating, crafting, and communicating arguments in addition to bringing the more general benefits of active learning to philosophy classrooms. Overall, we find Reacting to be a useful tool for achieving these ends. While we do not argue that Reacting is uniquely useful for teaching philosophy, we conclude that it is worthy of consideration by philosophers interested in creative active-learning strategies, especially given that it offers a prepackaged set of flexible, user-friendly tools for motivating and engaging students. (shrink)
Children, even very young children, distinguish moral from conventional transgressions, inasmuch as they hold that the former, but not the latter, would still be wrong if there was no rule prohibiting them. Many people have taken this finding as evidence that morality is objective, and therefore universal. I argue that reflection on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance will lead us to question these claims. If a concept applies in virtue of the obtaining of a set of more basic facts, (...) then it is authority independent, and we therefore resist the attempts of authorities to claim that it does not apply. Thus, the moral/conventional distinction is a product of imaginative resistance to claims that a concept does not apply when its supervenience base is in place (or vice versa). All we can rightfully conclude from the fact that children are disposed to make the moral/conventional distinction is that our moral concepts belong to the class of authority-independent concepts. Though the set of basic facts in virtue of which an authority-independent concept obtains must be objective, the concept itself might be conventional, inasmuch as we could easily draw its boundaries wider or narrower, or fail to have a concept that corresponds to these properties at all. (shrink)
Recently, philosophers have identified certain fictional propositions with which one does not imaginatively engage, even where one is transparently intended by their authors to do so. One approach to explaining this categorizes it as 'resistance', that is, as deliberate failure to imagine that the relevant propositions are true; the phenomenon has become generally known (misleadingly) as 'the puzzle of imaginative resistance'. I argue that this identification is incorrect, and I dismiss several other explanations. I then propose a better one, (...) that in central cases of imaginative failure, the basis for the failure is the contingent incomprehensibility of the relevant propositions. Why the phenomenon is especially commonplace with respect to moral propositions is illuminated along the way. (shrink)
This article criticises existing solutions to the 'puzzle of imaginative resistance', reconstrues it, and offers a solution of its own. About the Book : Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts is the first comprehensive collection of papers by philosophers examining the nature of imagination and its role in understanding and making art. Imagination is a central concept in aesthetics with close ties to issues in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language, yet it has not received the kind (...) of sustained, critical attention it deserves. This collection of seventeen brand new essays critically examines just how and in what form the notion of imagination illuminates fundamental problems in the philosophy of art. (shrink)
This essay develops a new account of the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. Imaginative resistance is best conceived of as a limited phenomenon. It occurs when we try to engage imaginatively with different moral worlds that are insufficiently articulated so that they do not allow us either to quarantine our imaginative engagement from our normal moral attitudes or to agree with the expressed moral judgment from the perspective of moral deliberation. Imaginative resistance thus reveals the central epistemic (...) importance that empathy plays for our understanding of rational agents in a context where we try to make sense of the moral appropriateness of their reasons for acting. Reflecting on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance allows us to recognize important features of the relationship between imaginative perspective taking and ordinary moral deliberation. (shrink)
It is commonly supposed that a certain kind of belief is necessary for religious experience. Yet it is not clear that this must be so. In this article, I defend the possibility that a subject could have a genuine emotional religious experience without thereby necessarily believing that the purported object of her experience corresponds to reality and/or is the cause of her experience. Imaginative engagement, I argue, may evoke emotional religious experiences that may be said to be both genuine (...) and appropriate, despite not necessarily including beliefs of the aforementioned kind.I go on to maintain that such religious engagement is compatible not only with non-belief but also with disbelief. (shrink)
Some of our moral commitments strike us as necessary, and this feature of moral phenomenology is sometimes viewed as incompatible with sentimentalism, since sentimentalism holds that our commitments depend, in some way, on sentiment. His dependence, or contingency, is what seems incompatible with necessity. In response to this sentimentalists hold that the commitments are psychologically necessary. However, little has been done to explore this kind of necessity. In this essay I discuss psychological necessity, and how the phenomenon of imaginative (...) resistance offers some evidence that we regard our moral commitments as necessary, but in a way compatible with viewing them as dependent on desires (in some way). A limited strategy for defending sentimentalism against a common criticism is also offered. (shrink)
I examine a range of popular solutions to the puzzle of imaginative resistance. According to each solution in this range, imaginative resistance occurs only when we are asked to imagine something that conflicts with what we believe. I show that imaginative resistance can occur without this sort of conflict, and so that every solution in the range under consideration fails. I end by suggesting a new explanation for imaginative resistance—the Import Solution—which succeeds where the other solutions (...) considered fail. (shrink)