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The Architecture of the ImaginationNew Essays on Pretence, Possibility, and Fiction$
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Shaun Nichols

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199275731

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275731.001.0001

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Imagination and Emotion

Imagination and Emotion

Chapter:
(p.19) 2 Imagination and Emotion
Source:
The Architecture of the Imagination
Author(s):

Timothy Schroeder

Carl Matheson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275731.003.0002

Theorists in the philosophy of art and philosophy of psychology are converging on the view that imagining is a distinct propositional attitude. When one imagines that P (while engaging with a fiction, daydreaming, contemplating, etc.), one tokens a representation that P, and this representation plays the functional role that is distinctive of imagining. In particular, this representation plays a role that is distinct from the role of belief, but that also triggers the kinds of strong feelings (emotions) that beliefs trigger. This chapter begins by surveying this trend to convergence and the evidence presented for it, and then turns to adding a further piece of evidence. The claim imagining that P can cause strong feelings is, at bottom, a causal claim amenable to neuroscientific investigation. But philosophers have not yet paid much attention to the available evidence from neuroscience. This chapter rectifies this omission, tracing the causal network between tokenings of representations that P, on the one hand, and strong feelings, on the other. It concludes that there is all but decisive evidence in favour of the view that imagining is a propositional attitude, distinct from belief, and capable of causing the strong feelings associated with its exercise.

Keywords:   amygdala, art, convergence, feelings, fiction, functional role, neuroscience, orbitofrontal cortex, propositional attitude

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