Just the imagination: Why imagining doesn't behave like believing

Shaun Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


According to recent accounts of the imagination, mental mechanisms that can take input from both imagining and from believing will process imagination-based inputs (pretense representations) and isomorphic beliefs in much the same way. That is, such a mechanism should produce similar outputs whether its input is the belief that p or the pretense representation that p. Unfortunately, there seem to be clear counter-examples to this hypothesis, for in many cases, imagining that p and believing that p have quite different psychological consequences. This paper sets out some central problem cases and argues that the cases might be accommodated by adverting to the role of desires concerning real and imaginary situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-474
Number of pages16
JournalMind and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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