Desire-Like Imagination

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Book Chapter


Claremont McKenna College, Philosophy (CMC)

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Imagine that there is a baby kangaroo hiding under your desk. Though presumably this isn’t something that you believe, your imagining might be thought of as importantly analogous to belief, and the same holds more generally for imaginings that are attitudinal in nature. In particular, such imaginings aim to capture truths about fictional worlds in the same way that belief aims to capture truths about the actual world. Recently, however, there has been considerable interest in the question of whether there might be imaginings that are counterparts to desire in addition to imaginings that are counterparts to belief. Desire-like imagination has been thought to have the potential to elucidate several puzzling phenomena that arise in imaginative contexts. But whether desire-like imagination is really needed to explain such phenomena –and whether there really is such a thing as desire-like imagination–remains hotly contested. This essay begins by fleshing out a fuller sense of what desire-like imagination is meant to be and then considers the cases both for and against.

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© 2016 Routledge