Absurd Stories, Ideologies, and Motivated Cognition

Philosophical Topics (forthcoming)
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PENULTIMATE DRAFT. At times, weird stories such as the Pizzagate spread surprisingly quickly and widely. In this paper I analyze the mental attitudes of those who seem to take those absurdities seriously: I argue that those stories are often imagined rather than genuinely believed. Then I make room for the claim that often these imaginings are used to support group ideologies. My main contribution is to explain how that support actually happens by showing that motivated cognition can employ imagination as a seemingly rational tool to reinforce and protect beliefs.

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