Imaginative Beliefs

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

I argue for the existence of imaginative beliefs: mental states that are imaginative in format and doxastic in attitude. I advance two arguments for this thesis. First, there are imaginings that play the functional roles of belief. Second, there are imaginings that play the epistemic roles of belief. These arguments supply both descriptive and normative grounds for positing imaginative beliefs. I also argue that this view fares better than alternatives that posit distinct imaginative and doxastic states to account for the same phenomena. Along the way, I demonstrate the theoretical significance of imaginative beliefs by showing how they pose a challenge for standard taxonomies of the mind, clarify the sense in which imagination is occurrent and voluntary, explain the justificatory role of the imagination, and point to a deep but underappreciated symmetry between imagistic and non-imagistic thought.

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Joshua Myers
Universitat de Barcelona

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