Reasoning with Imagination

In Amy Kind & Christopher Badura (eds.), Epistemic Uses of Imagination. Routledge (2021)
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This chapter argues that epistemic uses of the imagination are a sui generis form of reasoning. The argument proceeds in two steps. First, there are imaginings which instantiate the epistemic structure of reasoning. Second, reasoning with imagination is not reducible to reasoning with doxastic states. Thus, the epistemic role of the imagination is that it is a distinctive way of reasoning out what follows from our prior evidence. This view has a number of important implications for the epistemology of the imagination. For one thing, it clarifies the epistemic role of widely invoked “constraints” on the imagination. For another, it highlights important and underappreciated disanalogies between how perceptual experiences and imaginings justify beliefs. Ultimately, the view that we can reason with imagination offers an illuminating and theoretically fruitful framework through which to understand the epistemic structure of the imagination.
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