Taming the runabout imagination ticket

Francesco Berto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


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
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date13 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2018


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


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