Taming the runabout imagination ticket

Francesco Berto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The ‘puzzle of imaginative use’ (Kind and Kung in Knowledge through imagination, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016) asks: given that imagination is arbitrary escape from reality, how can it have any epistemic value? In particular, imagination seems to be logically anarchic, like a runabout inference ticket: one who imagines A may also imagine whatever B pops to one’s mind by free mental association. This paper argues that at least a certain kind of imaginative exercise—reality-oriented mental simulation—is not logically anarchic. Showing this is part of the task of solving the puzzle. Six plausible features of imagination, so understood, are listed. Then a formal semantics is provided, whose patterns of logical validity and invalidity model the six features.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalSynthese
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date13 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Aboutness
  • Counterfactual thinking
  • Epistemology of imagination
  • Mental simulation
  • Variably strict epistemic modals

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