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Chakrabarti, Arindam, , . Ownerless Emotions in Rasa-Aesthetics
2011, In Ken-ichi Sasaki (ed.). Asian Aesthetics. National Univeristy of Singapore Press.
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Added by: Meilin Chinn, Contributed by:

Summary: Chakrabarti explores the possibilities of rasa theory via the question of whose emotion is experienced when an audience relishes a work of art. Chakrabarti argues for the existence of a “centerless non-singular subjectivity” according to which the special emotions savored in aesthetic experience do not have specific owners. These personless sentiments indicate an ethical relationship between aesthetic imagination and moral unselfishness.

Comment: This text could serve as both an overview of rasa theory in Indian aesthetics, as a basis for comparative work in cross-cultural aesthetics, as well as comparative philosophy.

Related reading:

  • Abhinavabhāratī. Abhinavagupta. In Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharatamuni: Text, Commentary of Abhinava Bharati by Abhinavaguptacarya and English Translation. M.M. Ghosh (ed.). Delhi: New Bharatiya Book Corporation, 2006.
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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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Friend, Stacie, , . Imagining Fact and Fiction
2008, In Kathleen Stock & Katherine Thomsen-Jones (eds.), New Waves in Aesthetics. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 150-169.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: I argue that there is no interpretation of imagining or make-believe that designates a response distinctive to fiction as opposed to nonfiction. The class of works that invite makebelieve, however it is determined, is substantially broader than our ordinary concept of fiction would allow. The question is whether there is a way of understanding the sort of imagining involved in our engagement with fictions that would carve out a narrower category. I consider various possible interpretations and argue in each case that works of nonfiction may invite the same imaginative responses as fiction, just as works of fiction may invite the same cognitive responses as nonfiction. These considerations cast doubt on definitions of fiction that appeal to make-believe, and the attempt to save the theory by restricting it to individual statements rather than whole works is unsatisfactory. A different approach to classification is required if we wish to understand the significance of the distinction.

Comment: This text would be good as further reading for students who are interested in writing a coursework essay on the topic. It is suitable in a philosophy of fiction module.

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Gendler, Tamar, , . Imaginative Resistance Revisisted
2006, In Shaun Nichols (ed.), The Architecture of the Imagination. Oxford University Press. pp. 149-173 (2006)
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Summary: This chapter discusses the puzzle of imaginative resistance, partially defending and partially refining the account presented in the previous chapter. It explores imaginative resistance as a special case of a more general puzzle the author calls the puzzle of authoritative breakdown: that when an author follows standard conventions for fictionally asserting P, engaged readers typically imagine P—but in some cases this relation falls apart. The bulk of the chapter is devoted to systematically identifying and explaining where and why this breakdown occurs, and to drawing connections with the literature on metaphor and perspective‐taking. The author’s views are contrasted with those of David Hume, Brian Weatherson, Gregory Currie, Stephen Yablo, and Shaun Nichols.

Comment: This paper would compliment other papers on imaginative resistance well in a module where this is the focus.

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Gendler, Tamar, , . Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology
2010, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Publisher’s Note: This volume consists of fourteen chapters that focus on a trio of interrelated themes. First: what are the powers and limits of appeals to intuition in supporting or refuting various sorts of claims? Second: what are the cognitive consequences of engaging with content that is represented as imaginary or otherwise unreal? Third: what are the implications of these issues for the methodology of philosophy more generally? These themes are explored in a variety of cases, including thought experiments in science and philosophy, early childhood pretense, self?deception, cognitive and emotional engagement with fiction, mental and motor imagery, automatic and habitual behavior, and social categorization.

Comment: The book contains fourteen previously published essays. The first six essays are on thought experiments and the use of the imagination therein. Mainly, these essays take up the tasks of explaining how thought experiments produce novel beliefs and explaining whether and how thought experiments justify beliefs. Those are good papers for teachings on methodology of philosophy and intuitions. The next six essays are on imagination in general: its nature, its role in motivating action and producing emotion, and its relations to other mental states. It covers a range of topics including the paradox of fictional emotions and the nature of self-deception, the puzzle of imaginative resistance, the problem of the precipice. The topic of the last two essays is a mental state called “alief” which are highly relevant materials for teachings on mental states in action, implicit bias and etc.

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Gendler, Tamar, , . The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance
2000, Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):55-81
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: This chapter presents and discusses the puzzle of imaginative resistance: the puzzle of explaining our comparative difficulty in imagining fictional worlds that we take to be morally deviant. It suggests that the primary source of imaginative resistance lies not in our inability to imagine morally deviant situations, but in our unwillingness to do so. This diagnosis is then used to illuminate the nature of imagination itself: unlike belief, the contents of imagination are not restricted to those things we take to be true; but unlike mere supposition, imagination involves a certain sort of engaged participation on the part of the imaginer. The chapter also includes a brief discussion of the issue of truth‐in‐fiction. The author’s views on the puzzle are contrasted with those of David Hume, Richard Moran, and Kendall Walton.

Comment: Gendler argues here that there is truly a problem of imaginative restistance, and that it demonstrates something about the nature of imagination. This is a good introductory paper to the problem of imaginative resistance and the nature of imagination. It would be very suitable in a module focusing on philosophy of fiction.

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Gendler, Tamar Szabó, , . Alief in Action (and Reaction)
2008, Mind and Language 23 (5): 552- 585
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Abstract: I introduce and argue for the importance of a cognitive state that I call alief. An alief is, to a reasonable approximation, an innate or habitual propensity to respond to an apparent stimulus in a particular way. Recognizing the role that alief plays in our cognitive repertoire provides a framework for understanding reactions that are governed by nonconscious or automatic mechanisms, which in turn brings into proper relief the role played by reactions that are subject to conscious regulation and deliberate control.

Comment: This is an introductory paper on alief. It provides an account of alief and argues for its role in governing non-conscious or automatic actions. The paper is useful for teachings on philosophy of action, mental attitudes, moral philosophy, social psychology, etc.

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Gendler, Tamar Szabó, , . Philosophical thought experiments, intuitions, and cognitive equilibrium
2007, French, Peter A. & Wettstein, Howard K. (eds). Philosophy and Empirical. Oxford: Blackwell. 68-89.
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Summary: Drawing on literature from the dual-processing tradition in psychology, this paper tries to explain why contemplation of an imaginary particular may have cognitive and motivational effects that differ from those evoked by an abstract description of the same content, and hence, why thought experiments may be effective devices for conceptual reconfiguration. It suggests that by presenting content in a suitably concrete way, thought experiments recruit representational schemas that were otherwise inactive, thereby evoking responses that may run counter to those evoked by alternative presentations of relevantly similar content.

Comment: In this interesting paper, Gendler elucidates the role and nature of intuition in the light of current philosophical practice. It is a good material for teaching on philosophical intuitions and experimental philosophy.

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Kind, Amy, , . Imagery and imagination
2005, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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Abstract: Both imagery and imagination play an important part in our mental lives. This article, which has three main sections, discusses both of these phenomena, and the connection between them. The first part discusses mental images and, in particular, the dispute about their representational nature that has become known as the ‘imagery debate’. The second part turns to the faculty of the imagination, discussing the long philosophical tradition linking mental imagery and the imagination – a tradition that came under attack in the early part of the twentieth century with the rise of behaviorism. Finally, the third part of this article examines modal epistemology, where the imagination has been thought to serve an important philosophical function, namely, as a guide to possibility.

Comment: This could be used as a week 1 reading in a module introducing students to mental imagery. It’s a comprehensive guide of the history of mental imagery, and its standing today.

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Kind, Amy, , . The Puzzle of Imaginative Desire
2011, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89(3): 421-439.
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Abstract: The puzzle of imaginative desire arises from the difficulty of accounting for the surprising behaviour of desire in imaginative activities such as our engagement with fiction and our games of pretend. Several philosophers have recently attempted to solve this puzzle by introducing a class of novel mental states – what they call desire-like imaginings or i-desires. In this paper, I argue that we should reject the i-desire solution to the puzzle of imaginative desire. The introduction of i-desires is both ontologically profligate and unnecessary, and, most importantly, fails to make sense of what we are doing in the imaginative contexts in question.

Comment: Kind provides good arguments against accepting the existence of “i-desires”. This article would be useful to teach in the context of philosophy of mind, as well as in philosophy of art and fiction, as it engages with some of the issues surrounding “make-believe”.

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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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Liao, Shen-yi, , Gendler, Tamar Szabó. Pretense and Imagination
2011, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews 2 (1):79-94.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

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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Lovibond, Sabina, , . Realism and Imagination in Ethics
1983, Blackwell.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: In Realism and Imagination in Ethics, author Sabina Lovibond explores the non-cognitive theory of ethics along with its objections and the alternative of moral realism. Delving into expressivism, perception, moral sense theory, objectivity, and more, this book pulls from Wittgenstein, Hegel, Bradley, Nietzsche and others to explore the many facets of ethics and perception. The discussion analyzes the language, theories, and criteria surrounding ethical action, and describes the faults and fallacies of traditional schools of thought.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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O’Brien, Lucy, , . The Novel as a Source for Self-Knowledge
2017, in Ema Sullivan-Bissett, Helen Bradley, and Paul Noordhof (eds.), Art and Belief, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: I will argue that our capacity to directly read off truths from fiction, and the power of the novelist to testify to truths, is indeed limited. I will go on to argue that there are, however, further more indirect ways of coming to truths through fiction, but that even in those cases the author’s power to manipulate should make the epistemically virtuous person proceed carefully. However, before I do that I want to raise three obvious kinds of response to our puzzle. These responses take issue with the claims by which the problem is set up, and I want to look at them briefly, really only to set them aside. My interest is primarily a resolution that hangs on to all three claims.

Comment: This would be a good further reading for students who are interested in how we can learn from fiction, especially if they wish to write a coursework essay on the topic.

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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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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

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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