Imaginative Experience

In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press (2020)
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In this essay, the focus is not on what imagination is but rather on what it is like. Rather than exploring the various accounts of imagination on offer in the philosophical literature, we will instead be exploring the various accounts of imaginative experience on offer in that literature. In particular, our focus in what follows will be on three different sorts of accounts that have played an especially prominent role in philosophical thinking about these issues: the impoverishment view (often associated with Hume), the will-dependence view (often associated with Wittgenstein), and the nonexistence view (often associated with Sartre). While there are important insights to be drawn from each of these views, each seems to me to be importantly flawed in various ways. As I will suggest, close examination reveals that none of them gives us an adequate account of the character of imaginative experience. Ultimately, in the final section of this paper, I briefly explore what their failure teaches us about the project of giving an account of imaginative experience.
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