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Imagining and KnowingThe Shape of Fiction$
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Gregory Currie

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199656615.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 July 2021

Knowledge from imagination

Knowledge from imagination

Chapter:
(p.127) 8 Knowledge from imagination
Source:
Imagining and Knowing
Author(s):

Gregory Currie

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199656615.003.0009

We start with the idea of the role of imagination in planning and in the formation of conditional beliefs. We then consider ways in which the process of belief-fixation by imagination can be unreliable, taking as my example a legal judgement. I argue that the role of the imagination in learning may be very restricted, and yet have conferred a selective advantage on those who possessed it, paving the way for an adaptive account of the imagination. The role of the imagination in the fixation of conditional belief suggests a role for it in thought experiments. It has been suggested that we should think of fictions such as novels as offering thought experiments, and hence as able to facilitate learning in the way that thought experiments in science and philosophy do. I argue that there are features of fictions-as-thought experiments which should make us pessimistic about their epistemic value.

Keywords:   imagination, planning, conditional belief, adaptation, thought experiments

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