Puzzling over the Imagination: Philosophical Problems, Architectural Solutions

Jonathan M. Weinberg, Aaron Meskin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

83 Scopus citations


This chapter addresses three distinct philosophical issues concerning the imagination: the puzzle of emotions and fiction, imaginative resistance, and the distinction between imagination and supposition. Standard approaches to these issues, which restrict themselves to the resources of folk psychology and metaphysics, are shown to be inadequate. Instead, an alternative approach rooted in careful exploration of the cognitive architecture of the imagination is developed. This approach transforms the aforementioned puzzles about the imagination into explananda apt for a scientificallyinformed explanation. The result is an account of the imagination which, in addition to explaining these three key imaginative phenomena, shows promise for solving other related issues such as the epistemic value of modal intuitions. Moreover, it is a vindication of a certain kind of naturalistic approach to philosophy, not just in the philosophy of mind but also in aesthetics and epistemology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Architecture of the Imagination
Subtitle of host publicationNew Essays on Pretence, Possibility, and Fiction
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191706103
ISBN (Print)9780199275731
StatePublished - Sep 7 2006


  • Aesthetics
  • Cognitive architecture
  • Emotions
  • Epistemology
  • Fiction
  • Imagination
  • Imaginative resistance
  • Modal intuitions
  • Naturalistic approach
  • Supposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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