Imagination and the Permissive View of Fictional Truth

Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Imagination comes with varying degrees of sensory accompaniment. Sometimes imagining is phenomenologically lean (cognitive imagining); at other times, imagining involves or requires sensory presentation such as mental imagery (sensory imagining). Philosophers debate whether contradictions can obtain in fiction and whether cognitive imagining is robust enough to explain our engagement with fiction. In this paper, I defend the Principle of Poetic License by arguing for the Permissive View of fictional truth: we can have fictions in which a contradiction is true, everything is true, or nothing is true. I show that imagination-based worries about impossible, unlimited, and empty fictions can be shown to be about sensory imagination and that sensory imagination isn’t necessary for fictional truth.

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Hannah Kim
University of Arizona


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