The Architecture of the Imagination: New Essays on Pretence, Possibility, and Fiction

Shaun Nichols

Research output: Book/ReportBook

61 Scopus citations


This book presents essays in the form of thirteen chapters on the propositional imagination. The propositional imagination - the mental capacity we exploit when we imagine that everyone is colour-blind or that Hamlet is a procrastinator - plays an essential role in philosophical theorizing, engaging with fiction, and in everyday life. These thirteen chapters extend the theoretical picture of the imagination and explore the philosophical implications of cognitive accounts of the imagination. The book also investigates broader philosophical issues surrounding the propositional imagination. The first section addresses the nature of the imagination, its role in emotion production, and its sophistication manifestation in childhood. The chapters in the second section focus on the nature of pretence and how pretence is implicated in adult communication. The third section addresses the problem of 'imaginative resistance', the striking fact that when we encounter morally repugnant assertions in fiction, we seem to resist imagining them and accepting them as fictionally true. In the final section, contributors explore the relation between imagining, conceiving, and judgements of possibility and impossibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages296
ISBN (Electronic)9780191706103
ISBN (Print)9780199275731
StatePublished - Sep 7 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood
  • Emotion production
  • Fiction
  • Imaginative resistance
  • Impossibility
  • Philosophy
  • Possibility
  • Pretence
  • Propositional imagination
  • Theorizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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