Empirically Investigating Imaginative Resistance

British Journal of Aesthetics 54 (3):339-355 (2014)
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Imaginative resistance refers to a phenomenon in which people resist engaging in particular prompted imaginative activities. Philosophers have primarily theorized about this phenomenon from the armchair. In this paper, we demonstrate the utility of empirical methods for investigating imaginative resistance. We present two studies that help to establish the psychological reality of imaginative resistance, and to uncover one factor that is significant for explaining this phenomenon but low in psychological salience: genre. Furthermore, our studies have the methodological upshot of showing how empirical tools can complement the predominant armchair approach to philosophical aesthetics.

Author Profiles

Chandra Sripada
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Shen-yi Liao
University of Puget Sound


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