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Debus, Dorothea, , . Mental Time Travel: Remembering the Past, Imagining the Future, and the Particularity of Events
2014, Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (3):333-350
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Abstract: The present paper offers a philosophical discussion of phenomena which in the empirical literature have recently been subsumed under the concept of ‘mental time travel’. More precisely, the paper considers differences and similarities between two cases of ‘mental time travel’, recollective memories (‘R-memories’) of past events on the one hand, and sensory imaginations (‘S-imaginations’) of future events on the other. It develops and defends the claim that, because a subject who R-remembers a past event is experientially aware of a past particular event, while a subject who S-imagines a future event could not possibly be experientially aware of a future particular event, R-memories of past events and S-imaginations of future events are ultimately mental occurrences of two different kinds.

Comment: This paper is concerned with both metaphysics and cognitive science. It could be used to raise questions about how we imagine future events involving ourselves and other people, and how this is similar or dissimilar to how we remember events. It could be used together with papers in cognitive neuroscience investigating the brain areas active in imagination and memory, most likely in a third or fourth year module.

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Kind, Amy., , . Putting the Image Back in Imagination
2001, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1):85-110.
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Abstract: Despite their intuitive appeal and a long philosophical history, imagery-based accounts of the imagination have fallen into disfavor in contemporary discussions. The philosophical pressure to reject such accounts seems to derive from two distinct sources. First, the fact that mental images have proved difficult to accommodate within a scientific conception of mind has led to numerous attempts to explain away their existence, and this in turn has led to attempts to explain the phenomenon of imagining without reference to such ontologically dubious entities as mental images. Second, even those philosophers who accept mental images in their ontology have worried about what seem to be fairly obvious examples of imaginings that occur without imagery. In this paper, I aim to relieve both these points of philosophical pressure and, in the process, develop a new imagery-based account of the imagination: the imagery model.

Comment: The role of imagery in imagination is a much debated topic, and this paper could be used in teaching as an introduction to the contemporary issues in this debate.It is suitable in a third or fourth year module on imagination, perception, or representation.

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Lennon, Kathleen, , . Imagine and the Imaginary
2015, Imagination and the Imaginary. Routledge.
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Summary: The concept of the imaginary is pervasive within contemporary thought, yet can be a baffling and often controversial term. In Imagination and the Imaginary , Kathleen Lennon explores the links between imagination – regarded as the faculty of creating images or forms – and the imaginary, which links such imagery with affect or emotion and captures the significance which the world carries for us. Beginning with an examination of contrasting theories of imagination proposed by Hume and Kant, Lennon argues that the imaginary is not something in opposition to the real, but the very faculty through which the world is made real to us. She then turns to the vexed relationship between perception and imagination and, drawing on Kant, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre, explores some fundamental questions, such as whether there is a distinction between the perceived and the imagined; the relationship between imagination and creativity; and the role of the body in perception and imagination. Invoking also Spinoza and Coleridge, Lennon argues that, far from being a realm of illusion, the imaginary world is our most direct mode of perception. She then explores the role the imaginary plays in the formation of the self and the social world. A unique feature of the volume is that it compares and contrasts a philosophical tradition of thinking about the imagination – running from Kant and Hume to Strawson and John McDowell – with the work of phenomenological, psychoanalytic, poststructuralist and feminist thinkers such as Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Lacan, Castoriadis, Irigaray, Gatens and Lloyd. This makes Imagination and the Imaginary essential reading for students and scholars working in phenomenology, philosophy of perception, social theory, cultural studies and aesthetics.

Comment: This book introduces the reader to the history of imagination as an area of philosophy, as conceived by Hume and Kant, and as explored by Merleau-Ponty and Sartre. It concerns the relationship between imagination and perception, and the formation of the self and social world based on imagination. It is suitable in a module focusing on imagination, or more broadly on aesthetics.

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Liao, Shen-yi, , Gendler, Tamar Szabó. Pretense and Imagination
2011, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews 2 (1):79-94.
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Abstract: Issues of pretense and imagination are of central interest to philosophers, psychologists, and researchers in allied fields. In this entry, we provide a roadmap of some of the central themes around which discussion has been focused. We begin with an overview of pretense, imagination, and the relationship between them. We then shift our attention to the four specific topics where the disciplines’ research programs have intersected or where additional interactions could prove mutually beneficial: the psychological underpinnings of performing pretense and of recognizing pretense, the cognitive capacities involved in imaginative engagement with fictions, and the real-world impact of make-believe. In the final section, we discuss more briefly a number of other mental activities that arguably involve imagining, including counterfactual reasoning, delusions, and dreaming.

Comment: Imagination and pretense are closely related concepts. This article could be used in teaching to get students thinking about the relationship, as well as introduce them to the vast psychological research that has been done on pretense play.

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Spaulding, Shannon, , . Imagination Through Knowledge
2016, In Amy Kind & Peter Kung (eds.), Knowledge Through Imagination. Oxford University Press. pp. 207-226 (2016)
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Abstract: Imagination seems to play an epistemic role in philosophical and scientific thought experiments, mindreading, and ordinary practical deliberations insofar as it generates new knowledge of contingent facts about the world. However, it also seems that imagination is limited to creative generation of ideas. Sometimes we imagine fanciful ideas that depart freely from reality. The conjunction of these claims is what I call the puzzle of knowledge through imagination. This chapter aims to resolve this puzzle. I argue that imagination has an epistemic role to play, but it is limited to the context of discovery. Imagination generates ideas, but other cognitive capacities must be employed to evaluate these ideas in order for them to count as knowledge. Consideration of the Simulation Theory’s so-called ‘threat of collapse’ provides further evidence that imagination does not, on its own, yield new knowledge of contingent facts, and it suggests a way to supplement imagination in order to get such knowledge.

Comment: This is a relatively difficult paper, but it deals with the interesting topic of whether we can get knowledge through imagination. It would be suitable to suggest as a further reading for senior year undergraduate students.

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Spaulding, Shannon, , . Imagination, Desire, and Rationality
2015, Journal of Philosophy 112 (9):457-476 (2015)
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Abstract: We often have affective responses to fictional events. We feel afraid for Desdemona when Othello approaches her in a murderous rage. We feel disgust toward Iago for orchestrating this tragic event. What mental architecture could explain these affective responses? In this paper I consider the claim that the best explanation of our affective responses to fiction involves imaginative desires. Some theorists argue that accounts that do not invoke imaginative desires imply that consumers of fiction have irrational desires. I argue that there are serious worries about imaginative desires that warrant skepticism about the adequacy of the account. Moreover, it is quite difficult to articulate general principles of rationality for desires, and even according to the most plausible of these possible principles, desires about fiction are not irrational.

Comment: This would function well as a required reading in a week on why we have emotional reactions to fiction, probably in a course for senior undergraduate students. It is suitable for a philosophy of fiction module.

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Spaulding, Shannon, , . Simulation Theory
2016, In Amy Kind (ed.), Handbook of Imagination. Routledge Press. pp. 262-273.
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Abstract: In this chapter, I discuss three aspects of the ST: the concept of simulation, high level simulation, and low level simulation. In the next section, I argue for a
more precise characterization of the concept of simulation. In sections 3 and 4, I discuss high level simulation and lowI level simulations, which are quite different in some respects.

Comment: This article introduces the reader to Simulation Theory, and would be a good substitute on for any introductory text by Goldman. It would be suitable in any module on social cognition for any year.

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Stock, Kathleen, , . Imagining and Fiction: Some Issues
2013, Philosophy Compass 8: 887-96
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Abstract: In this paper, I survey in some depth three issues arising from the connection between imagination and fiction: (i) whether fiction can be defined as such in terms of its prescribing imagining; (ii) whether imagining in response to fiction is de se, or de re, or both; (iii) the phenomenon of ‘imaginative resistance’ and various explanations for it.

Comment: Very introductory text which would be suitable for undergraduates in a philosophy of fiction module.

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Stock, Kathleen, , . Only imagine: fiction, interpretation and imagination
2017, Oxford: Oxford University Press
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Abstract: In the first half of this book, I offer a theory of fictional content or, as it is sometimes known, ‘fictional truth’.The theory of fictional content I argue for is ‘extreme intentionalism’. The basic idea – very roughly, in ways which are made precise in the book – is that the fictional content of a particular text is equivalent to exactly what the author of the text intended the reader to imagine. The second half of the book is concerned with showing how extreme intentionalism and the lessons learnt from it can illuminate cognate questions in the philosophy of fiction and imagination. For instance, I argue, my position helps us to explain how fiction can provide us with reliable testimony; it helps explain the phenomenon of imaginative resistance; and it fits with, and so supports, a persuasive theory of the nature of fiction itself. In my final chapter, I show how attending to intentionalist practices of interpreting fictional content can illuminate the nature of propositional imagining itself.

Comment: This book would be good to read chapter by chapter in a module which focussed exclusively on it, perhaps with supplemantary readings which relate to the topic of each chapter. It would be a good for a third year module.

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